European Youth Capital winner - Ganja 2016
WELCOME to Ganja, Azerbaijan
An ancient city with youthful spirit. Being the second biggest city of Azerbaijan, Ganja is populated by 325.000 inhabitants, 30% of which consists of young people aged under 29 years old.
Ganja as European Youth Capital
As the first EYC outside of the European Union, the City aimed to give young people the space to work on five key priorities, of vital importance for youth in Ganja and throughout Azerbaijan as a whole: volunteering, youth employment, social cohesion, active participation and education.
The action plan of the Ganja EYC2016 programme was built around the objectives of increasing youth participation of the city in social and political life through establishment of youth participation mechanisms, encouraging cooperation at local and European level, creating and fostering creation of youth spaces and expression of youth culture.
For the development of the programme, Ganja chose the word CONNECT which summarises the spirit and the aim of the EYC programme as well as its guiding: Connecting Geographies, Connecting Policy, Research and Practice; Connecting Young People with their City; Connecting the Disconnected.
During the year of 2016 Ganja has hosted the large-scale events as the European Youth Festival, Gender Conference, Wonderland Youth Camp and other events where hundreds of young people from all over Europe got a chance to learn and share.
The title of European Youth Capital has contributed construction and establishment of several infrastructures in the city: the youth center, Ganja EYC 2016 co-working center, youth book center, bike roads, free central WI-FI and parks in the city.
Youth participation has been marked through over 70 youth-led initiatives and projects which have mostly been financed by Azerbaijan Youth Foundation.
During the year of 2016 Ganja city opened its doors to hundreds of young people from all over Europe and hosted international youth festivals, projects, conferences and other large-scale events.
Today Ganja is a center of contrast, where youth-driven new changes appear on the background of the ancient images of the city.
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