Second Mobility: Cluj! An inspiring story

Second Mobility: Cluj! An inspiring story

On the 9th to 12th of April 2024, more than 80 youth from Italy (Agorà), Portugal (CAI), France (Theatre of the Oppressed) and the hosting country, Romania (Polylogos), gathered in the sunny city of Cluj-Napoca. The main purpose of the event was to provide a space for young people across Europe to get to know each other, learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives, and discuss important topics that are relevant for them in light of the upcoming European elections.

After Tuesday, the day of arrivals, check-in and first visit to the city of Cluj-Napoca, a full program started on Wednesday morning, 10th of April, with games and activities in small groups, led by the youth workers from each country.

Following the morning activities, Polylogos mentor, Jack Fallow, shared a presentation on relative deprivation, facilitating a discussion about how our perceived deprivation shapes our worldview, and our political opinions. Questions based on the presentation were later discussed in small groups throughout the afternoon:
1. What are the main problems/challenges that influence my political thinking?
2. What does my peer group think about politics? Why do they think that way?
3. How well can I discuss the arguments of the opposition?
4. Which experiences give me/us the sense of injustice?
5. Is my sense of injustice personal or collective?

To wrap up, each of the small groups shared the main conclusions from their discussions with the rest of the group; presenting stories and experiences from their communities, similarities and differences amongst them, and elaborating on their arguments and reflections.

The second day began with a field trip to a local business owner and enthusiastic dentist, Catalin Dimir, at the forefront of pioneering digital dentistry in Romania ( He shared from his experiences of aiming high and pursuing his dreams, and why he chooses to foster a workplace that is positive and inspiring for himself and his team. The topic of his talk was “loving what you do and doing what you love: working with passion”, and was related to SDG#8 Decent work and economic growth.

Following this, the youth spent the morning in small groups, working on some challenges presented by our third speaker, a local councillor in UK. Every scenario was based on real-life examples of situations faced by local politicians, and every scenario involved dilemmas that could only be resolved through compromise. Through this exercise, the youth got to practice their creative problem-solving and collective decision-making skills, gaining a deeper understanding of the intricate challenges facing decision-makers at all levels.

In the afternoon of the second day, Heather Nicola Staff, Polylogos mentor and local councillor and advisor to UK MPs, shared about what it is like to make decisions and find compromise solutions while maintaining integrity as an elected official. She engaged them in a vibrant discussion about the real-life scenarios they had worked on earlier in the day, and thanked them for all their ideas and proposals in solving the challenges.

Finally, at the end of the second day, we enjoyed a virtual visit from a gender expert, Dr. Kate Dy (PhD.), who provided many examples of situations in which gender inequality still poses an issue in our societies today. The presentation was based on questions previously submitted by the youth participants, and included an overview of the EU’s efforts and improvements in legislations and regulations in promoting gender equality. The talk was followed by a discussion among participants, many of whom stepped forward to grab the microphone and share their point of view.

The Cluj mobility turned out to be a transformative experience, both for the visitors and for the locals. By the end of event, the participants expressed that they had gained many new perspectives and insights, and, most importantly, many new friendships across Europe.