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Europe’s youngsters to debate about the contribution of Petrochemistry and Plastics in the Digital Age


06 Apr 2017


Social Europe & Jobs
Sustainable Dev.

Press Release
Brussels, 06-04-2017

EPCA and PlasticsEurope launch the next edition of their debating competition

Europe’s youngsters to debate about the contribution of Petrochemistry and Plastics in the Digital Age 

The journey continues: The European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) and PlasticsEurope once again join forces to promote education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) by organizing a series of debating competitions for youngsters in Europe. “The European Youth Debating Competition” (EYDC) will take place between April and October 2017. Students aged 16 to 19 years old will participate in each of the seven National Finals taking place in: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. The European Finals 2017 will take place in Berlin on Sunday 1st of October 2017, during the 51st EPCA Annual Meeting.
From 2007 to 2012, a series of debating competitions for young students were successfully organized by the plastics manufacturers. In 2016, this programme was rejuvenated by EPCA and PlasticsEurope with a series of youth debates having taken place in several EU countries, culminating in Budapest with the European Finals in October 2016.
The debating competition is a multifaceted initiative to engage young people with the key issues facing modern society with a stimulating yet enjoyable discussion. This year’s debate touches on the theme: “People, Planet, Profit in the Digital Age: With or without petrochemistry and plastics?” Each of the participants will receive professional coaching before the debates, as well as an explanation of the format and rules. Following each debate, a jury composed of representatives of industry, media, NGO’s - as well as from EPCA and PlasticsEurope - will select three winners during each country’s National Final. To win, students will need to display public speaking skills with well-informed, logical and persuasive arguments.
Caroline Ciuciu, CEO of EPCA, highlights the association’s endorsement of the project: “This competition is a unique opportunity for students of a generation of digital natives, to further explore the links between our society’s development, sciences and the petrochemical industry. In addition, in a fast changing and sometimes divisive environment, this debating competition offers youngsters the chance to interact with each other regardless of gender, nationality and culture. Finally, for us as an industry, the EYDC is an excellent initiative to connect with a new generation, listen and learn about their views as well as their visions of our future. In a nutshell, it is a way to “Connect – Listen – Learn – Collaborate”, for both the youngsters and our industry.”
Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope adds: “Beyond the importance of STEM education, EYDC aims to provide a platform for students to build their self-confidence and express their thoughts in a convincing way. It is an open and respectful debate on topical issues related to petrochemistry and plastics. By bringing awareness and education together, we make science and technology more tangible, accessible, and directly connected to their reality.”
How will we live tomorrow? Will the smart cities of the future be completely interconnected? Will drones be delivering our goods? Will the current workplace and educational environment still exist, as we know them now? How will we ensure and sustain access to drinking water and healthcare for a growing population? Will the development of new technologies be possible without science and industry? What will the contribution of petrochemistry and plastics be to a sustainable society in a digital age? These are some of the questions the youngsters will be debating.
For the participants of the EYDC, in-depth research and preparation as well as a high standard of debating skills and techniques are necessary for the front-lines of the debate. In the end, we expect some exciting outcomes from this year’s EYDC!

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Editor’s Note:
EPCA and PlasticsEurope have launched a new series of the European Youth Debating Competition ( targeting young students aged 16 to 19, throughout Europe. The main objectives of the European Youth Debating Competition (EYDC) and its organisers from the petrochemical and plastics industry are to promote STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), to empower students with soft skills and to encourage them to further discover and exchange on the contribution of petrochemistry and plastics in the digital age. Whilst for industry, it is an opportunity to listen to the views and expectations of the next generation of leaders. Technological dimensions of this new era with sustainable mobility, energy efficiency, smart living, societal wellbeing, are key ingredients for the future of both industry sectors and the overall competitiveness of the EU. 

The European Petrochemical Association (EPCA)
Based in Brussels, EPCA is the quality network in Europe for the global chemical business community consisting of chemical producers, their suppliers, customers and service providers. It operates for and through more than 700 member companies from 53 different countries. EPCA provides a platform to meet, exchange information and transfer learning, and serves as a think tank for its members and stakeholders. EPCA promotes STEM education, with a clear focus on gender and diversity inclusion. EPCA also highlight the multidisciplinary approach and the variety of challenging career paths that the chemical industry offers.

PlasticsEurope is one of the leading European trade associations with centres in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan and Paris. We are networking with European and national plastics associations and have more than 100 member companies, producing over 90% of all polymers across the EU28 member states plus Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. 


Press Contacts

PlasticsEurope AISBL
Nuria Buezas
Communications and Media Manager
Phone: +32 (0)2 676 17 57

Nathalie Debuyst
Communication and Education Manager
Phone: +32 (0)2 741 86 66