Hopefully, in 2025 peace and freedom will also brighten the days in Lviv, Source: Unsplash

Lviv will be the European Youth Capital in 2025

Lviv will be the European Youth Capital in 2025

This is the first time that a city has won the title while being at war

Lviv, the largest city in Western Ukraine, has won the European Youth Capital 2025 title. The announcement by the European Youth Forum is especially notable for a couple of reasons.

Just hours before it won, the city was plunged into darkness after its electrical grid was struck by Russian missiles. In fact, it is the first time in the history of the contest that a city wins while in the midst of a full-blown military conflict.

Lviv had joined the competition on 21 February, only three days before the Russian army invaded Ukraine and everyday life was thrown into turmoil.  A city of 750,000 residents, it became a humanitarian hub for Ukrainians fleeing other parts of the country, and it provides shelter to some 250,000 displaced people.

The invasion, and the new reality it forced on Lviv, brought the municipality and TVORY! (local network of youth spaces) to revise their application and create a new programme that fits the needs of young people experiencing war, as well as a plan for a hopeful future.

Unbreakable spirit of a Ukrainian city

Lviv dedicates the year not only to the young people living within its boundaries but also to its residents who fled to other countries, as well as the many young Ukrainians who have been displaced from their hometowns and now live in the city for an unknown period of time.

In the updated application, Lviv expressed its motivation to win the title like this:

"Since February 24 [when Russia began its attack], we have had a colossal outflow of youth from the country, which has already exceeded two million people. These are those who created and continue to create Ukraine.

With this in mind, we set ourselves a vision: To form and strengthen a youth capital and capital in youth to survive, live and develop. Here and now. In European Ukraine. To be those who spread the values of freedom in the world. We want everyone to understand: our self-realization is the affirmation of our country.”

The Ukrainian city’s European Youth Capital program for 2025 will include youth forums for high-level engagement in debates on issues ranging from security to science and creative industries. It will also include a large-scale 24-hour youth event which combines training, discussions, networking and entertainment for young people and youth organizations from all over Europe.

Lviv also plans to use the title to boost volunteering, skills development and employability among its young citizens. The program will extend from shelters housing internally displaced people to community centres and youth hubs.



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