JEF Belgium Training Days 2018: The devil wears populism

After a couple days of rest, it is time to look back at the amazing weekend we had in Liège at the JEF Belgium Training Days. The 2018 edition – The Devil Wears Populism – was franed around the theme of debunking fake news and false narratives and building political narratives.

After an informal Friday night to get to know each other over a nice hot plate filled with a-ma-zing Moroccan couscous, we were ready for an intense day of training sessions on Saturday.

Trainers Philipp, Flavio & Max 






Y Vote’s project manager Philipp Blum was brave enough to face a “hey my morning coffee hasn’t quite kicked in yet” audience for a session about civic education and the Y Vote campaign ahead of the 2019 European Parliamentarian elections.

Flavio Grazian, Digital Democracy Coordinator at ECAS, continued in the morning with a training about Fake News. In this interactive session, we learned more about the history of Fake News (spoiler alert: it’s not such a new phenomenon after all) and what it in fact is.

After a well deserved lunch break, Max Frey, MEP assistant and professional Jedi trainer, set out the different kind of actors on social media – who knew there’s actually a big difference between a troll and a bot?? But he went well beyond that and also explained how to interact with (or in some cases ignore) these different actors through a set of very practical tips and tricks!

Panel discussion: Marc Tarabella, Max Frey, Benjamin Bodson
Handing in the Enjoy Your Future recommendations








After the three trainings, it was time for a panel discussion about the Future of the European Union, how to deal with Fake News, and how to build a political narrative from a local and European perspective. The panel was moderated by JEF Belgium’s president Martin Maréchal and existed of Marc Tarabella, a Belgian Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Max Frey, MEP assistant and candidate in the local elections, and Benjamin Bodson, representative in the Liège city council. At the end of the panel, we also handed in the Enjoy Your Future recommendations as part of the project.

Sarah’s driven session about building a narrative

Sarah Dejaegher, communications expert, was in charge of the very last training session of the day. She went above and beyond and kept the audience awake, listening, and even active! She gave us an incredibly good interactive session about the art of political storytelling, which is a crucial skill when we are conveying our beliefs and vision for the future.

Sunday was our last day of the training days, which we used to look to the future and the activities ahead. Below you can find some final snapshots from a very successful weekend!