11:46. We want for people to know, that they can be heroes within their own communities. I see it back home, especially amongst the youth – their thinking is ’why bother talking to politicians if they wont listen to us anyway !? ’ Yet these young leaders should know that they can have an impact too, should they only want to.
In my case, I was lucky enough to find like minded people who believed in the importance of community engagement at an early age of my own engagement – but there are still many people across Europe, who do not believe so. I am not talking about disengagement from Europe – but about young, potential leaders being disengaged from their communities. Some of them do not feel represented by the officials in their communities, or they fear that their voice doesn’t matter. Well, they are right in a sense when it comes to representation, but they are also wrong because their voice does matter! We want them to understand that. It is soon going to be their time, so they should start getting involved and not necessarily wait for opportunities to come. They can become heroes. The European heroes we choose, we help promote and this is where I personally use my marketing and digital skills, to create a virtuous circle where people feel empowered and then empower others. One of our keywords is: ‘relatable’ – the heroes we pick are relatable because if young people see somebody on a TED talk or a high-level conference, they may think that ‘someone’ is too far ahead -but if they look at someone who made it at a local level, or that is starting to be engaged, they may be encouraged to do the same.
We need to promote people who have amazing initiatives but do not have recognition yet.
All of us are privileged compared to someone else. Of course I feel privileged compared to many people in Romania, but at the end of the day I chose to study abroad, to fund my projects and to dedicate my life to Europe. Oh, I’m not sure if I’m a hero. My teammates and co-founders are definitely heroes.
David is a digital education consultant at Google and is the co-founder of the initiative European heroes.