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Young people from Oulu mentor the Chairperson of the City Board

Oulu is participating in the Future Mentors programme, which aims to make the voice of young people heard in the discussion on the sustainable future of cities.

Together with numerous other European cities, Oulu has joined the Future Mentors programme for young people aged 18–25 and city decision-makers, where young people mentor their own city leaders.

The programme involves young mentors as well as leaders and decision-makers from various large and medium-sized European cities. In each city, a group of 3–4 young people will be selected to mentor a city leader together.

In Oulu, the young mentors start mentoring Mirja Vehkaperä, the Chairperson of the Oulu City Board, today 5th May.

“I have a lot of faith in young people’s interest and willingness to participate in the development of their own city. Besides the objectives laid out in our strategy, we need new thinking. The future brings new challenges. It’s great that the Future Mentors programme allows us to engage in dialogue with the next generation,” says Mirja Vehkaperä.

During the spring, the young mentors will collect views of other young people in their city regarding the themes they have selected and meet with city leaders. The young people who have joined the mentoring programme will gain peer support from one another and will also have the opportunity to exchange thoughts with other young mentors from across Europe.

Future Mentors programme aims to raise the voice of young people in issues related to sustainable development

Through this reversed mentoring process, young people are given the opportunity to share their dreams, hopes and concerns about the future of their city. The decisions that are currently being made will have a far-reaching impact on the future, and the young people will be the ones to live in that future.

“We hope that with this programme, the decision-makers will have the courage to fully engage in the dialogue and make room for a new way of thinking,” says Noora Mäkinen from the City of Oulu’s Youth Services.

The Future Mentors programme will culminate in the Eurocities Annual Conference to be held on 8–10 June in Espoo, Finland, which one young mentor from each city gets to attend together with the delegation from their city.

“The aim is to ensure that the Future Mentors programme will promote the involvement of young people in the decision-making of cities and at European level. In honour of the European Year of Youth 2022, we wanted to challenge European cities to try out a new way of promoting dialogue with young people,” says Milla Ovaska, Head of International Affairs at the City of Espoo.

The programme is coordinated by the City of Espoo in cooperation with Eurocities.

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