December 1, 2015

ACYPL Alumna Spurs Youth to Understanding in Europe


Exchange alumna Andrea Vodanovic Exchange alumna Andrea Vodanović uses her position as Secretary General of the Youth of the European People’s Party to advocate for refugees and EU border security.
Andrea Vodanović, an alumna of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) program, understands what it is like to be a refugee escaping hardship and trying to re-settle in a foreign land. As a refugee during the war in Croatia, she can relate to the current plight of refugees from Syria and the Middle East. 
As refugees continue to pour into Europe, Andrea continues to emphasize solidarity towards refugees and the importance of the security on the EU external borders as basic values of the European Union through her position as Secretary General of the Youth of the European People’s Party (YEPP), the biggest youth political organization in Europe. YEPP brings together over 54 Centre-Right youth political organizations from over 38 countries across Europe. As of her election in May 2015, Andrea became the first woman and first Croat to hold this distinguished position. 
As YEPP Secretary General, Andrea participated in the Transatlantic Youth Summit at Georgetown University in November 2015. The non-partisan project, which is supported by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, International Republican Institute, Americans for Tax Reforms, Foreign Policy Initiative, and the Hudson Institute, gathers 25 young Europeans and 25 young Americans to discuss TTIP, tax reforms in the U.S. and Europe, foreign policy challenges, and the threat of ISIL.  
Andrea credits some of her success in youth leadership to her program in the U.S., stating, “In the past years I have attended numerous exchange programs but the ACYPL’s was incomparable to the other. It gave us the wider picture of the US political framework and helped us in better understanding the decision making process in the US. But more than anything- it has inspired us to believe in people and to take the responsibility.”
Andrea will continue to use her position to speak as the voice for millions of young Europeans and to address some of the biggest issues facing Europe, from high unemployment to the current refugee crisis.