Young European of the Year 2021: Alexandru Manda fights for free access to education for every child

Every year, the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe, together with the European Youth Forum, awards the prize “Young European of the Year” to a young person who has shown a particularly strong commitment to a Europe of solidarity. This year’s winner, Constantin-Alexandru Manda (21) from Romania is awarded for his dedication to educational justice.

Constantin-Alexandru Manda ©Adrian Jankowski

“Alexandru is an inspiring young person, he showed his hard work and dedication to work for better education for every child in Romania. His motivation to work with different institutions and fight for justice is impressive.” Says Mariya Atanasova, member of the jury and Young European of the Year 2020.

Since 1997, the Schwarzkopf Foundation in cooperation with the European Youth Forum is looking for a Young European of the Year across all Countries of the Council of Europe: Young people who have learned to take initiative and responsibility, showing that they are prepared to seize the opportunities of our time for peaceful coexistence in a Europe of diversity. The award grants 5000€ for an internship or an individual project.

This year’s Young European of the Year is Constantin-Alexandru Manda from Romania, who is fighting for just and equal education for all children. In 2013 he has founded Constanta’s School Students Association which represents students’ rights in Romania. He campaigned for the respect of the fundamental right to scholarships first in Constanta, later all over Romania: the impact of his actions are not only local but nationwide and past urban spaces. He achieved that the Romanian government guarantees every child in need a minimum scholarship and invested ca. 110 million EUR of the national budget for it. “I accept this award with deep gratitude and humility as a recognition of the efforts of every team I worked within the last 7 years, to make a real change in the Romanian educational system. We cannot have a just Europe without free access to quality education for every child. The investment in education is an investment in the future of Europe, the only way to end the social gaps between countries and communities.”, says the new Young European of the Year .

The Jury was impressed by his outstanding commitment: “Inequality in education is one of the most pressing issues in Europe. With his energy and his sensitivity for justice Alexandru showed us how a young and dedicated person can make a huge difference” says Luisa Seiler, Executive Director of Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe. Other members of the jury were a representative of the European Commission Representation in Germany, two former award winners, and a representative of the European Youth Forum. “Alexandru shows a great passion for his work that is benefiting many young people across Romania. I am happy that he is the Young European of the Year 2021 and I am positive that with his energy and dedication he will motivate young people all across Europe to do the same. “, says Anja Fortuna from the European Youth Forum.

Click here to find out more about the Award.