Espoo’s Future Mentors programme in the final of the European Year of Youth Awards – Finland’s Best Participation Promoters competition

14.12.2022 5.39

Espoo organised the Future Mentors programme in the spring of 2022 as part of the annual meeting of the Eurocities network held in Espoo. The programme has now been selected among ten finalists in the European Year of Youth Awards – Finland’s Best Participation Promoters competition. The winner will be announced at the European Year of Youth theme year’s closing celebration on 19 January 2023.

The competition seeks the best model for youth participation in Finland to highlight Finnish competence in the field.

The public can vote for their favourite entry, and the proposal with the most votes will be awarded the ‘Public’s Favourite’ prize. The public vote opened in Finnish on 9 December 2022(external link).

Dialogue at the core

At the core of the Future Mentors programme was dialogue, honest encounters and stopping to consider issues important for young people. The decisions currently taken in the cities will have far-reaching consequences long in the future. Young people will be the ones to live in that future. Thus, they should have a voice at the tables where decisions are made.

“There is a growing need for dialogue and common understanding in our societies to solve current and future complex challenges. They cannot be solved alone, but together, and we wanted to involve young people more closely in the discussion,” says Jukka Mäkelä, the Mayor of Espoo.

26 European cities participated in the Future Mentors programme. The programme was launched in January 2022 and culminated in the annual Eurocities meeting held in June in Espoo. It was reverse mentoring, where young people mentored city decision-makers about their respective city’s sustainable future. Mayor Mäkelä was mentored in Espoo. A young person from each city participated in the annual meeting in Espoo, where the young people made six recommendations on the participation of young people. The recommendations will be furthered through the Eurocities network and international forums.

The year 2022 was the European Year of Youth in recognition of the importance of European youth in creating a better, greener, more inclusive and more digital future. The City of Espoo organised the Future Mentors programme as part of the European theme year.

Results and programme material will be published in December

The City of Espoo organised an event on 7 December with the Helsinki EU Office and the Eurocities network to round up the youth theme year. At the event, the City of Espoo published a summary of the themes raised by young people and the results, feedback and materials from the Future Mentors programme to enable any city to organise a similar programme itself or in collaboration with other cities. The published material package also includes recommendations by the youth and comments by decision-makers on the themes raised by young people.

“We also got to present Future Mentors and its results at an event in Brussels in December to mark the European Year of Youth. The event discussed how we could build future-proof cities where also young people enjoy themselves and feel participation, something that is important also for Espoo,’ says Milla Ovaska, Head of International Affairs.

Additional information

Marianne Julkunen, Service Development, Mayor´s office, City of Espoo, tel. +358 40 55483606,

Milla Ovaska, Head of International Affairs, City of Espoo, tel. +358 43 8244911,


Eurocities2022: The Future Mentors programme(external link) Young people from across Europe mentoring decision-makers this spring