European Youth Event – Interview with Lauren Mason

In the run-up to the European Youth Event in Strasbourg on 9-10 June 2023, a bi-annual gathering hosted by the European Parliament, we interviewed four young activists participating in the event, about their work, ambitions and message to world leaders.

The UN in Brussels will be present at the European Youth Event and engage with these young leaders to address what they need for a more meaningful participation in politics and democracy.


Portrait of Mason LaurenStudies:
BA, MA Modern and Medieval Languages (University of Cambridge, UK)
Double MA European Studies (University of Göttingen, Germany & University of Strasbourg, France)

7 years of working experience at: European Youth Forum; European Liberal Forum; European Policy Centre; Council of Europe. Plus internships at: European Commission; UK Parliament; Sprachenatelier Institute for Languages and Culture.

Where do you live: Brussels, Belgium

Where are you from: Malmesbury, United Kingdom


  1. What made you decide to become a youth activist?

I was interested in politics from a young age, reading the newspaper over breakfast every morning. As I studied modern languages, I was drawn to European affairs and undertook a traineeship at the European Commission. Shortly after this, the United Kingdom announced a referendum on leaving the EU, and I felt angry that so many opportunities would be taken away from my peers and future generations. I decided to turn this anger into something positive and joined the Jeunes Européens in France, later becoming a board member of JEF Belgium.


  1. Would you like to share an example of the impact of your work?/what are you particularly proud of?

I am really proud of having been part of the #DemocracyUnderPressure campaign of JEF. Launched in 2006, the campaign has run every year to speak up for those who are silenced. In JEF Belgium, we organised a treasure hunt around Brussels to raise awareness to current challenges to the rule of law in Europe. We also hand wrote letters of support to political prisoners in Belarus to show that young people are thinking of them.


  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would love to keep working in the democracy field. We know that democratic countries go to war less often, have higher standards of living and bring more freedom for citizens. The case for maintaining high standards around the rule of law, freedom of expression, civic space and good governance is not a foregone conclusion. We need to work on maintaining it, and maintaining strong institutions that improve people’s quality of life.


  1. What message do you have for current leaders?

I’d love to see more leaders speaking up about the importance of maintaining strong multilateralism, respect for international law and not taking democracy for granted. I’d also like the tone of our political debate to be more optimistic and less polarising.


  1. What message do you want to share with other young people?

If you want to make a change in your society, I’d encourage you to join a youth organisation, movement, or political party. Don’t be put off if their activities/positions don’t align 100% with what you believe in, you will be able to shape your own path from within. Such organisations will open so many doors, giving you access to events and opportunities and helping you to bring your ideas to politicians, governments or institutions wherever you live. All that and a lot of new friends 🙂

EYE Interviews