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World Forum for Democracy, Council of Europe: "Young people, actors of global change?"

October 31, 2014

“From participation to influence: can youth revitalize democracy?” is the topic of the World Forum for Democracy to be held in Strasbourg, 3-5 November 2014. More than 1500 participants – among them civil society activists, politics leaders, and representatives of media – will gather to hold debates and discuss the topic.

In this attempt to define new models of democratic participation, the Council of Europe will give the floor to the main ones concerned, that is to say young people. More than 250 young people indeed have been working on ”democracy prototypes” for several months that will be showcased on November 5 and the most promising project will be selected.

Enhancing youth participation and their influence is indeed one of the biggest challenges democracy has to face today. We witness among young people – as they tend to be more and more marginalized because of the economic crisis - a rising abstention and sometimes violent rejection of traditional embodiments of political power.  In the case of more recent rising democracies, young people are the first engaged in the social movements against corrupted political practices and election fraud but still they are not included in the process of consolidation of democracy. 

Yet young people yearn for democratic renewal. In European democracies, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey, a large majority of young people see human rights and freedom of expression as priorities for Europe. Many young people are engaged in their communities. But if public, private and associative actors that make a real effort to involve young people in a decision-making process do exist, these actions still have a limited impact.

The World Forum for Democracy will showcase the good practices and promote the dialogue through round tables discussions and Labs initiatives between all the different participants so as to support initiatives aimed at structural change. It is crucial to enhance youth democratic involvement, not only in terms of participation but also in terms of influence.

Pascale Thumerelle, Vice President Head of CSR at Vivendi, will participate in the first round table discussion of the Forum on November 3 on the topic: “Young people – actors of global change?” Vivendi stated as early as 2003 that protecting and empowering young people are a strategic focus of its corporate and societal responsibility policy.

A partner of the Forum, Culture(s) with Vivendi  will live tweet the discussions on @CulturesWith (#coe_wfd).

Find out more :

Find the whole program here

2014 Eurobarometer survey: European youth (in French only)


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