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01-02-2009

Graham Murtagh - My Euroscola Experience

"Without question, EUROSCOLA was an experience that will in my view have few parallels in my lifetime. Every year, we hear stories and breaking news bulletins from the European Parliament, most of us either ignorant or apathetic to what they really mean. ...

I have no question that my view of the Parliament has changed utterly since my visit. It has provided me with a sense of realism, made me aware of the role and value of Europe on the world stage and showed me how the Parliament as an entity really works. And through our preparation in advance, we were fully ready not just to take on the Parliament, but to assert ourselves there too. More than that, I was honoured - honoured to speak in the same hallowed chamber as past Presidents and Popes.

It is few people that can say they have spoken in the European Parliament, fewer again that can say they did so as a minor, and yet I can now say I did both. That in itself is a huge privilege. Add that to the plain, simple and irrevocable fact that I did so in the presence of 21 other winners of a competition that are among the most dependable, approachable and amiable people I have ever met, people for whom the time spent with them just simply wasn't long enough, and you end up with one of the best experience of my life so far.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! However, as that's simply not an option, I have this piece of advice. Don't hold back, if you are offered the chance to take part in this fantastic Rotary Programme. From the people, to the places, to the Parliament itself, you will become utterly immersed in a world which had few comparisons, where everyone is delighted that you're there, where difference is respected, where opinions are valued, and where ultimately, you will find friends among people that you will grow to know and love.

It was an unforgettable ride. I'll never forget it - Graham Murtagh. "