The Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY) is an initiative launched in 2017 by the European Commission in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps. The Initiative offers to young Europeans (18 and 30 years old) a chance to volunteer in cross-border, transnational or interregional Programmes and in organisations involved in INTERREG projects. IVY is coordinated by the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) and funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional & Urban Policy, since all the volunteers receive EU financial support as well as an insurance coverage.

The objective of the initiative is to involve young Europeans in supporting, promoting and reporting the achievements related to ETC projects and Programmes. Young students and professionals have the opportunity to assist the work of organisations involved in the management of Interreg Programmes or Projects over a period of two to six months.

As ETC project beneficiary, the Adriatic Ionian Euroregion became hosting organisation in 2020, in order to give young students and professionals the opportunity to assist the work of the association in the management of Interreg Projects.

In autumn and winter 2020 the first IVY volunteer, Alfredo Marini, was hosted at the office of the Secretariat for a period of 6 months during which he learnt more about Territorial Cooperation and the Interreg Projects implemented by the Euroregion, in particular the Project Sustainable Tourism (Interreg MED Programme). Alfredo Marini: I’m 23 years old and I study law at Luiss University in Rome (IT). Starting from September 2020 and until February, I have the outstanding opportunity to know more about Interreg projects assisting the work of Adriatic Ionian Euroregion, promoting events and helping with social media communication activities. As part of my Interreg volunteering, I was also lucky to attend the General Assembly of the AIE, that, due to the current situation, was organised online.

I have a strong pro-European sentiment. Starting from a very young age, I dealt with issues related to the European integration process. Thanks to a work experience at the Presidency of the European Parliament, I have become even more aware about the crucial role played by European institutions and regional/cross-border cooperation in increasing the cohesion of the Union. For this reason, I decided to apply for IVY Programme. In my opinion this experience is a very important opportunity for those who want to develop a career with the European Union and in general for those who want to be more aware and active European citizens by engaging in EU cooperation.

From January 2021 also Marika Spirito has joined the Secretariat as Interreg Volunteer. Marika said: “I am currently carrying out my volunteer program within the Secretariat of the Adriatic Ionian Euroregion, an association focused on the promotion of trans-national and inter-regional cooperation between regions and local authorities of the Adriatic and Ionian basin. My volunteer program will last six months, from January to July 2021. I decided to apply because my biggest passions are travels, foreign languages and international culture, that is why after graduating at the linguistic high school, I got a Bachelor’s degree in Languages Mediation Sciences for Translators at the University of Macerata. This volunteer experience goes in parallel with the course of Master’s Degree in Digital Export, Major of Marketing Management at Luiss Business School, that I am currently attending. The Master is focused on social media marketing and so it matches with my volunteer tasks at the AIE, where I work to the promotion both the organisation and it projects via social media channels. In the coming weeks, I will assist the work of my host organisation always being proactive and creative and promoting the events they will organise as much as I can. I believe this experience is a good starting point for my future career, because my goal for next years is to work on international projects. Thanks to the IVY Initiative I am having a first rewarding experience in European project management. The possibility to collaborate and daily exchange ideas and information with partners from different countries, allows me to explore new cultures. For all these reasons, I think that the Interreg Volunteer Youth Initiative is a magnificent opportunity that I would recommend to every European student.

More about the Interreg Volunteer Youth Initiative