Inspirational Person of the Year 2023

The Rural Youth Europe Awards are all about showcasing the very best of our member organisations, giving them a platform to gain visibility for their project at a European level. This year we had entries from all corners of Europe, showcasing the very best of rural youth.

This year we had three categories, inspirational club of the year, inspirational person of the year and project of the year. Find out more below about the winners and runners up for the Inspirational Person of the Year Award.

This award is for a young person who has set an example for others and who has been truly inspirational in their actions and/or words.

Winner: Ragnhild Marie Gjersøe Eriksen from Norwegian Rural Youth.

Although she is only 23 years old, Ragnhild has distinguished herself as an important voice for young farmers in her country. By speaking out in the national media, and by appealing to her Parliament, she has contributed to getting the issue of welfare benefits for farmers on the agenda for agricultural negotiations within her country.

She was nominated by Ingrid Andrea Thuv. Ingrid says: “Particularly important to her is the recruitment of young farmers into agriculture, and farmers rights to receive welfare benefits equally to others, such as maternity leave for female farmers.

“Ragnhild has spoken on the topic for several years and has previously received attention in local media. Through her work, she inspires and engages young farmers to stand together in the fight for better conditions and a safer future. Ragnhild is an active member of Norwegian Rural Youth and has held several different positions in the organization’s various boards.”

Runner up: Florian Neumayr from landjugend Österreich (Austria)

Festival Director and former Head of the Maishofen Rural Youth, Florian has been the driving force behind the growth and success of his organisation.

Hanna Adelsberger from Landjugend Maishofen says: “His unwavering commitment and passionate engagement have been instrumental in nurturing a thriving and closely-knit rural youth community. Florian’s leadership skills have not only guided the organization through various challenges but have also inspired countless young individuals to actively participate and contribute to their community.

“Beyond his role as a Festleiter, Florian’s involvement in various community initiatives has further solidified his reputation as a true community leader. His selflessness, warmth, and genuine concern for others have endeared him to all those who have had the privilege of working alongside him.”

Runner up: Steffan Evans from Wales YFC

Following the 2022 RYEurope Autumn Seminar, Steffan has organized his own pride event in his local town and is a brilliant advocate for the LGBTQ+ community in rural areas.

Steffan Evans deserves the award of Inspirational Person of the Year 2023 due to his tenacity following his attendance at the 2022 Autumn Seminar. He is a shining example of how to disseminate and bring back learnings from an activity to a community.

“Steffan embraced the week, learned a lot but also contributed so much. He promised to advocate for LGBTQ+ people back home in Wales and to see the work that he has done in setting up a PRIDE festival and parade in Llandeilo, the first one in the community deserves the spotlight. To see the work of the Autumn Seminar put into practice is a very special moment that deserves recognition, especially given this is targeting a minority group in rural areas.”

During the Closing Ceremony of this year’s European Rally, we also announced the winners of the Inspiring Club of the Year and the Project of the Year award. Find out more about them in our latest blog posts and upcoming podcast episodes!