Plenary session: Youth empowerment for democratic transformation?

Council of Europe Hemicycle

  • Ms Hélène LANDEMORE, France, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University
  • Ms Chantal MOUFFE, Belgium, Director of the Centre of Democracy, University of Westminster
  • Mr Philippe C. SCHMITTER, USA, Emeritus Professor at the European University Institute   Florence


  • Ms Clara Almeida SANTOS, Portugal, Journalist and Vice-rector for Culture, Communication and Heritage at the University of Coimbra
  • Mr Philippe CAYLA, France, Special Advisor to the CEO of Euronews
Lab Series 1 (Labs 1-10 + 21)

Influencing Minds

Influencing Decision-Making


European Parliament

Lab Series 2 (Labs 11-20)

Influencing Policies

Influencing Institutions

“Screening of the Movie “Toto and his Sisters”

Palais de l’Europe, Room 9

Following his Emmy award-winning observational documentary, director Alexander Nanau brings us the astonishing family story of Toto (10), and his sisters, Ana (17) and Andreea (15). During their mother’s imprisonment, Toto passionately learns dancing, reading and writing, while his sisters try to keep the family together in a world that has long forgotten what the innocence of childhood should be. What happens when we discover that we can get more from life than our parents have to offer?

“Speed Dating Democracy” with the Lab Presenters 

Palais de l’Europe, Lobby of the Committee of Ministers

“Speed Dating Democracy” is an innovative method designed to promote dialogue and interaction. The Forum participants are given the opportunity to speak with a lab presenter for 15 minutes and then switch to the next presenter. It will give Forum participants the chance to discuss the initiatives of the labs informally with the presenters.


Palais de l’Europe, Rooms 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

The World Forum for Democracy 2014 will for the first time involve a number of “unconferences”. These are participant-driven workshops whose agenda is created by the attendees on an online platform before the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. The unconferences will enable spontaneous discussions, as well as fresh ideas and new alliances to emerge. Unconferences feature open debates rather than having a single speaker at the front of the room giving a talk, although any format is permitted.

Unconference 1: Illiberal Democracy: Is There Any Place for It? – Room 1, Interpretation: EN/FR

The vast majority of states in the world call themselves a democracy. However, not all of them are equally democratic. Of the countries that lie between confirmed dictatorship and consolidated democracy, some do better on political liberties than on civil ones. These are illiberal democracies. The goal of the unconference is to answer the question whether there can be illiberal democracies with their particular religious and social habits or whether all states should reach a consolidated, "complete" democracy one day.

  • Organsier: Ms Varvara S. MALEVSKAYA, Russia, Master student at St. Petersburg State University School of International Relations
Unconference 2: Intercultural Dialogue, a basic pillar in democratic societies – Room 2, Interpretation: EN/FR

The goal of this unconference is to find innovative ways on how young people can promote Intercultural Dialogue in their communities in order to contribute to the resolution of conflicts in the society and consolidate democracies by fostering active citizenship and a culture of peace. States often accommodate several cultures, peoples, nations, religions, ethnicities or communities that should be included in democratic decision-making processes. This diversity is enriching and positive. If it is well managed, based on values as tolerance, culture of peace, dialogue, civic engagement and cross-cultural understanding, then democracy becomes more representative, and thus stable and consolidated.

  • Organsier: Mr Antonio PALAZUELOS PRIETO, Spain, International Consultant and Project Coordinator “Youths as Promoters of Intercultural Understanding”
Unconference 3: Can non-formal education empower democracy? – Room 3, Interpretation: EN/FR

Can non-formal education (NFE) empower democracy? Did you experience NFE? How did you benefit from it? Do you think it is important for personal development and how can this method lead to more open minded and more democratic citizens? Let’s find out more about the steps from NFE to democracy. Using special learning tools, this unconference will try to prove that NFE can help young people to learn about democracy and to use it in everyday life.

  • Organsier: Ms Kalliopi MANOUDI, Greece, Founder of “Hellenic Youth Participation”
Unconference 4: Freedom of expression in democracy: Is it threatened? – Room 5, Interpretation: EN/FR

Freedom of expression is essential in the functioning of democracy and public participation of citizens in decision-making. Citizens cannot exercise their right to vote effectively or take part in the process of public decision-making if they do not have access to information and ideas, and if they cannot express their opinions without fear. Recent years have seen some progress in the area of respect for freedom of expression in the world. However, citizens in many countries around the world remain victims of the restriction of this right by their governments, as well as by global media monopolies.

  • Organsier: Mr Ibrahima DIALLO, Guinea, President of the Guinean Organisation for the Protection of Human Rights
Unconference 5: Young citizens: Unlocking the freedom versus security debate – Room 6, Interpretation: EN/FR

The age-old question of how much freedom we should give up in order to be kept safe has been rekindled by the rise of the internet and other new technologies. Freedom of expression, right to information, etc. are evolving in liberal democracies together with security risks such as abuse of the private sphere, mass surveillance, and discrimination. Particularly young citizens, socialized in the era of social media, will reflect in this unconference about costs and benefits of online communication, and about how to take responsible action in order to shape open and secure democratic societies of the future.

  • Organsier: Mr Georgios KOLLIARAKIS, Greece, Researcher at University of Frankfurt
Unconference 6: A unique example of access for young people to decisions – Room 7, Interpretation: EN/FR

Decision-makers should understand that young people need to be involved, not only consulted, in all their processes. The co-management system, applied by the youth sector of the Council of Europe, is the only concrete example which can be adapted and disseminated at local and regional level, to give the opportunity to young people to decide for themselves.

  • Organsier: Mr Mihai FLORAN, supported by a team composed by members of the Advisory Council on Youth
Democracy Prototyping Sessions

Palais de l’Europe, Rooms 10-11

Youth participants will be asked to develop “prototypes” of an “ideal” democracy which will be discussed and developed in dedicated unconference sessions with the Forum participants. The democracy prototypes should consist of different models composed by proposals for citizens and societal structures “from birth to death” from a citizen’s perspective. Such an ambitious exercise may cover all kinds of issues from education to migration, consultation processes to eligibility of candidates, freedom of expression etc. The democracy prototypes will be presented in plenary at 5 November from 9.00-9.30am in the hemicycle.


Pavillon Joséphine, Parc de l’Orangerie