Katie Thacker (UK)

Dear participant,  Welcome to Wageningen 2023! My name is Katie and I have the delight of being the Head of Jury at this session. As you may already be aware, a jury team will be present throughout the duration of the session to observe how you engage with the session, your topic, and your fellow delegates throughout the weekend.

After the event, we will be able to provide feedback on this, and you may be invited to be a delegate at future EYP the Netherlands events. Whilst this is an exciting prospect, it is by no means the be all and end all of the weekend and we hope that throughout the weekend you throw yourself into the event, learn something new and broaden your perspectives and understanding of current topical issues.

It can be a bit unnerving to enter such an unfamiliar environment, and I remember being terrified before my first EYP event in 2018! Looking back, my advice for you is to enter the process with an open mind, the bravery to step outside of your comfort zone, and an eagerness to listen to and learn from others. It is likely you will encounter new perspectives and differences of opinions this weekend and I encourage you to see this as an opportunity to consider topics from new angles; it’s not always about speaking the most or having the loudest voice in a room. I encourage you to express your opinions and engage in discussions with a focus on respect, tolerance, and kindness. Listen to each other and approach issues from the basis of our shared values of non-discrimination, tolerance, solidarity, pluralism, justice and equality. It is these skills which we value in EYP, and which will hopefully enable you to take the experiences of the weekend into your own personal life. 

Whilst the jury team are often perceived as the ‘judgers’ at EYP events, it is perhaps more important that you place our organisation on trial and decide if EYP is something you would like to be a part of. Regardless of selection, our organisation welcomes you with open arms. I think I speak for us all when I say we hope you enjoy what you experience this weekend and choose to remain involved. Even if you decide this is perhaps not for you, we hope you take something away from the experience, and the best way to do so is to fully immerse yourself in the weekend, and the unique (and at times odd!) elements of EYP;  as the saying goes ‘a closed mouth doesn’t get fed’. 

I can’t wait to see you in Wageningen!