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BlogArticlesVirtual reality project opens young people’s eyes to European democracy
Awero team

Virtual reality project opens young people’s eyes to European democracy

3 Jun, 17:35
With European Parliament elections just around the corner, one Cities of Learning network member in Greece has been using virtual reality with young people aged 17 and older to increase their engagement in the democratic process.

Based in the northern city of Komotini, System & G’s EUnite - United in Europe programme virtually transports young people to Strasbourg and Brussels, to see through the eyes of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

“It’s a human right to vote,” explains Charis Stafylidis, one of System & G’s youth workers. “And people need to know exactly what they’re voting for.”

“My first time interacting with people from the European Parliament was this year, because elections are coming - but before I had no idea about them - so it's quite tricky for people to understand what they do.”

“Through this digital work with the VR glasses, you can see what they actually do - they have tasks, they can vote in the parliament, and then can share our views there.”

The project uses Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headsets alongside a 360° tour of the parliament and an immersive experience where participants can find out what exactly MEPs do, all created by the EU.

And, System & G have plans to go further in the future, getting more VR headsets so participants can try their hand at a group roleplaying game, where they can debate and vote on new legislation in the virtual parliament.

Through the project, young people have also learnt more about how they are represented in the European Parliament, discovering how many MEPs are elected from Greece and from their region.

Following the VR experience, young people and their teachers were joined by experts from the EU to discuss and reflect. These moments led to conversations about developing a sense of belonging to Europe and why voting is important - something Charis hopes may help in a small way with low turnout at elections.

“It was a very deep discussion,” says Charis. “Last year we had our elections, and around half of the population didn’t vote in the second phase of the process.”

“But the person who is elected will have an impact on you, so you have to understand the importance of the process and be part of it.”

“Voting is a small thing that takes five minutes, but it can change your life and the lives of others.”

You can watch a short video about the project on System & G’s Instagram page.

The European Parliament elections take place from 6-9 June.

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