I met Karim Hallal Peche, during European Youth Media Days in the European Parliament of Brussels, where he participated sharing his experience with #ThisTimeImVoting campaign that the European Parliament has created to encourage young people to vote in the upcoming European elections that will be in 2019 May.
During European Youth Media Days, Karim also shared his opinion on the importance of making videos in which he talks about Europe, to offer another type of entertainment content on social networks such as YouTube or Instagram.
Karim is half Spanish and half Lebanese. He was born in Murcia in March 1995. Of a Murcian mother and a Lebanese father. He has studied International Relations at the Rey Juan Carlos University.
Now he lives in Brussels where he arrived in March 2018 with the Schuman Scholarship to the General Directorate of the Presidency, and more specifically, to the Interinstitutional Relations Unit, which is responsible for carrying out the relations between the Council, the Commission and Parliament itself.
After five months of this scholarship, he got an internship in the UNICEF office for relations with the institutions of the European Union, in a position of political advocacy and communication.
Karim is a restless young man with ideas that he carries out. He has written the book Millennials in International Relations as End-of-Degree Work and has published it in both English and Spanish. You can get it on Amazon.
Publishing the End-of-Degree Work as a book is something that encourages all students to do, as long as they have content of real value to share and know how to do it, "It's the best thing I've done in my life," he confesses.
Thanks to the book he has been able to meet public figures, be invited to an event at the Congress of Deputies of Madrid to present it, among other political events and related to the European Union.
I had many doubts to choose my Final Degree Project, it was the first time in the entire career that I could devote almost body and soul to a research project that I wanted, so I decided to take a topic that was not yet Treaty: youth in the international politics scene.
There are many national and European reports on how youth vote and / or act in political events, but I wanted to go a little further and discover if, at the international level, there is any indication of a voting gap because of the generation to which you belong
I tried to capture a projection of whether we can expect, with well-founded reasons, a more positive outlook on an international level in the future. And I transformed my End-of-Degree Work into a book because of the interesting result that I ended up finding in the end.
In addition, I wrote the book in such a way that anyone could understand it, even if they have no knowledge of politics or similar areas. I have always had the ambition to make political information "more digestible," and this book was a first step.
With its Youtube channel it makes political disclosure, it tries to make that political information more attractive that can often be boring and heavy. "I attended the European Youth Meeting in Strasbourg because of my internship in Parliament, and there I met for the first time the #ThisTimeImVoting campaign.
I thought the idea was interesting, so I made a video on YouTube. My family and friends began to spread it so that people would vote for me and thus become one of the faces of the campaign, and that ended up being finally. It is an incredible opportunity that I have to thank the more than 500 people who have already voted for me, making me the most voted in Spain and the second most voted in Europe, an authentic madness.
Thanks to this, the European Parliament is counting on me to give presentations in different events related to the campaign, in order to explain how to make more people, especially young people, vote in the upcoming elections in May 2019. "
About his experience during the five months with the Schuman Scholarship, he said that it was very interesting. "In five months I learned a lot about how Parliament works, how it relates to other institutions and how many negative myths are still associated with its image. If I had not done these practices, I may never have known the European Parliament and the atmosphere of the "Euro-sphere" of Brussels.
In addition, I was very lucky with the site that touched me: I was in the General Directory of the Presidency and working on the Brexit theme in one of its hottest moments (from March of this year to July). It was a unique coincidence, and from which I learned a lot. It was the first time I had worked on such a topic in such a professional manner and, at times, with some pressure. "
- The campaign #ThisTimeImVoting is to motivate young people to vote, because in the results of the last elections, it seems that the% of young people who voted was low, what percentage of the population do you think will vote?
In Spain it will surely increase. I read a very good article by Pablo Simón dealing precisely with this issue, and we can foresee a similar participation to the one we have in the municipal and local elections, since we will have to vote them on the same day as the European elections. And, by having these votes on the same day, this will facilitate that the participation in the European elections in Spain increases with respect to the previous ones.
Regarding whether the #ThisTimeImVoting campaign will motivate what more people vote in May in the Union is still to be seen. In my opinion, the campaign has not yet finished exploding, and that is positive, because of course, we have a lot of people registered, more than 60,000 people if I remember correctly. We will see in 2019, when the elections are approaching, how well we have been doing the work and if there is a change in youth participation.
- We are seeing results in elections worldwide, in which the extreme right gets to govern, democratically, Trump in USA, Bolsonaro in Brazil, .. What do you think can happen in the result of the May elections?
Well, Europe is a completely different world. As Javier Nart told me in an interview I could make him: "in Europe we are privileged absolutes". We live in a continent with a situation of rights and democracy difficult to see in others, although sometimes we have these privileges at the expense of other countries, and we must not forget this either.
In the elections of May, in Spain, anything can happen, it is still too early to even make a prediction that can approach what finally happens. In my opinion, the situation in certain topics, both European and Spanish, is so delicate that any event can turn votes from one party to another at a given time.
What we do see at the moment is that there is a boom of the extreme right like never before seen in the European Union, or in Spain since its democratic stage. For the first time in Spain we have polls that indicate that we will have three parties fighting on the ideological side of the right.
It will be very interesting to see what happens between now and May, with unprecedented events in history such as Brexit, or with the current situation in Spain, where the general elections may be ahead of schedule before May. Of course, we must bear in mind that the CIS tells us that Spaniards, when we vote in European countries, do so with an eye on national issues and not on European issues.