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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.6 Intercontinental youth work and development cooperation

Last update: 28 March 2024

Intercontinental youth work cooperation

Intercontinental youth work cooperation in Italy is implemented mainly through the Erasmus+ Youth programme.

Erasmus+ allows third Countries not associated with the Programme to take part in it according to ad hoc agreement listed in the programme Guide for each specific action.

The third Countries not associated with the Programme are grouped according to the EU’s external action instruments, namely the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation – Global Europe Instrument (NDICI-Global Europe) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPAIII).

Development cooperation activities

The Italian Youth Agency  supports Key Action 1 (KA 1) of the Erasmus + youth program which promotes the mobility of young people as a tool for active participation, social inclusion and promotion of European citizenship. The main activities are: youth exchanges, European Voluntary Service and mobility of youth workers.

The Agency also promotes Key Action 2 (KA2) - Strategic Partnerships, dedicated to projects aimed at innovation with new practices, models, and educational approaches. Finally, it promotes the Youthpass tool for the recognition of transversal skills acquired in non-formal education.

Furthermore, art. 9 of Law 64/2001, instituting the National Civic Service, allows young volunteers to be deployed in bodies and administrations operating abroad, in the context of initiatives taken by the European Union, as well as in structures for interventions of pacification and cooperation between peoples, established either by the EU or by international organisations operating for the same purposes.

Italian graduates under the age of 26, have the opportunity to carry out an internship at the United Nations Volunteers. The UNV Internship Program, sponsored by the MAECI and managed by the HRIC/UNDESA office in Rome, allows around twenty new graduates to spend 12 months in a developing country each year, contributing to a project coordinated by the UNV program.

Young people in international cooperation

In order to encourage a wider involvement of young people in development cooperation activities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Development Cooperation (MAECI), promotes a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing human resources for international cooperation.

The Ministry awards scholarships to Italian students engaged in study activities envisaged by the so-called "Special Projects".

For the A.Y. 2023-2024 the Special Projects, defined by specific Agreements between the MAECI and the specific training institutions and/or by other regulatory sources in force, are as follows:

Youth Exchanges

Annually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides contributions for co-financing Youth Exchange projects. Contributions are offered to projects aimed at creating socio-cultural training courses for curricular enrichment and professional training for young Italians and foreigners aged between 18 and 30, in Italy and abroad. The projects aim to promote cultural exchange activities with the aim of developing respect, communication and tolerance in the new generations through mutual knowledge of cultural diversity, also through the creation of transnational partnerships between two or more subjects from different countries.

The main objectives pursued by the project activities are:

  • curricular enrichment and professional training;
  • active participation of young people in social and political life;
  • social inclusion of young people;
  • enhancement of the cultural, artistic and environmental heritage.

Non-profit associations, non-profit organizations, territorial bodies and public and private educational institutions with registered offices in Italy can apply for contributions.

Applications must be presented to the Directorate General for Public and Cultural Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which evaluates the project.