4 November 2014 (14.00-16.00) - Room 8 – Palais de l’Europe, Interpretation: FR/EN


Among young people, there is a rising abstention from electoral politics. How can trust in elected officials be re-build? Is election training enough to revive youth’s interest to vote or is the model of representative democracy outdated and needs to be reformed?

Youth Election Training: My Choice, Democratic Youth Movement, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“My Choice” is based on the idea of national youth election training and campaigning as well as the experience of how to mobilize several thousand young voters to go out and vote during the general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through combination of an interdisciplinary approach the Democratic Youth Movement manages to reach more than 13000 young voters (youth aged from 18 to 20) directly and “in flash”, as well as 100,000 young people indirectly via social media and other media. The main goal is to promote elections at a non-formal level, and to create an atmosphere that voting is something cool and integrative.


Mr Ernad Deni ČOMAGA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Founder and President of the Democratic Youth Movement

Ernad Deni Čomaga, born in 1986, is the founder and president of the NGO Democratic Youth Movement based in Sarajevo. Since 2005, he has been active in youth politics and NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also led the main students organization of the University of Sarajevo where he is about to finish his studies. He is alumni of the University of Heidelberg where he studied Law with the focus on International and European law. Ernad Deni Čomaga plays an active role in creating youth politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ms Amila SELIMADŽOVIĆ, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vice-president of the Democratic Youth Movement

Amila Selimadžović, born in 1992, is the Vice president of the Democratic Youth Movement and active project coordinator of the ‘’My Choice’’ project. She is graduate student of the International University of Sarajevo where she studies International Relations. In 2010, she was a participant of the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship – US Department of State program and since then she became involved in youth activism. Amila is also member and activist of several youth and humanitarian organizations in Sarajevo.

Chabab 2012, The Circle of Young Democrats of Morocco

The “Chabab 2012” initiative was launched under the banner of "Le Maroc de demain aux couleurs de la jeunesse" to defend the right of young Moroccans’ access to electoral mandates in the last parliamentary elections in Morocco. The initiative’s aim was to enable young politicians’ access to parliamentary institutions through the establishment of an independent list dedicated to youth during elections. This initiative was launched in the wake of the International Year of Youth. The Preparatory Commission for the Chabab 2012 'initiative consists of the circle of young Democrats of Morocco, several political parties and young political activists.


Ms Hafsa EL BEKRI, Morocco, The Circle of Young Democrats of Morocco

Hafsa El Bekri is 22 Years old and the National Coordinator of the Circle of Young Democrats of Morocco. She graduated from the National School of Business and Management, concentrating on issues of democracy and social justice. She is member of the Preparatory Commission of the World Youth Peace Movement and Chair of the Economic Commission of the Maghreb 5 Youth Summit. She participated in the North-Africa Sub Regional Seminar on Youth Policies, organised by the North-South Centre in Tunis and in the Youth in Action: Democracy and Transformation organized in Germany by the “Evangelischen Jugend - und Fürsorge Werk”.

Mr Hamza SHAWY, Morocco/France, The Circle of Young Democrats of Morocco

Hamza Shawy, 27 years old, is the founder of the French branch of the Circle of Young Democrats of Morocco. After obtaining an Information systems engineering master’s degree in Paris, he has been active about the democratic and economic transition of Morocco. Being sensitive to the energetic matters and their weight on the Moroccan state spendings, he gives more importance today to the renewable energies solutions and tries to promote them. In 2013, he co-founded the French branch of the “Authenticity and Modernity” Moroccan political party to be its deputy secretary.


Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Mr Eyal HALAMISH, Australia, CEO of ‘OurSay’

Eyal is the CEO of OurSay, an organisation which helps leaders level with their communities with easy to use technologies. His organisation has received a Crikey Media Innovation Award and the International Association of Public Participation Core Values Award in 2013 for helping civic leaders make relevant decisions by keeping their communities close. Eyal is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Sandboxer, Unreasonable Institute Fellow, and Center for Sustainability Leadership Fellow. Prior to OurSay, Eyal was a management consultant for Fortune 500 companies in the extractive and banking sectors.


Mr Kensuke HARADA, Japan, President, Non-profit Corporation YouthCreate

Kensuke Harada founded a student organization in his university days, and started activities to improve youth voting rates. After graduation from the University of Tokyo, he wanted to continue activities to promote youth to participate in politics. He lead "OneVoiceCampaign", which advocates the use of internet in the Japanese election campaigning. He established YouthCreate in November 2012. It aims to make youth become proactively involved in society and politics and create a mechanism to have youth as actor in society. Kensuke Harada was a member of the Committee for evaluation of child and youth development in the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan from 2011 to 2014.

Mr Mathias HOUNPKE, Benin, Political Governance Program Manager at Open Society for West Africa (OSIWA)

Mathias Hounkpe is currently OSIWA Political Governance Program Manager and has more than 15 years experience working in capacity building, governance and institutional development. He has published several articles on elections, particularly comparative studies on the Role of Security Forces in Elections and on Electoral Management Bodies in West Africa. He holds an M. Phil in Political Science with a focus on accountability mechanism design in new democracies from Yale University and a doctorate in Mathematical physics with focus on scattering theory from University of Benin.



Mr Andreas KIEFER, Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

Andreas Kiefer was elected Secretary General of the Congress in 2010 for a 5-year mandate. Andreas Kiefer studied Law and Economics at the Universities of Salzburg and Linz and holds a doctorate of Law. In the Council of Europe he has worked for all Congress members from Land Salzburg since 1995 –from different political backgrounds - and as common representative of the Austrian Länder in the Congress working group 'Regions with legislative powers' since 1999. Andreas Kiefer has been a member of the CoE's Committee of Experts on local and regional government institutions and co-operation (LR-IC) and was elected vice-president. From 2000 to 2009 he represented the Austrian Länder in the EU's Intergovernmental Conferences (IGC) and served as Secretary General of the Conference of Presidents of Regions with Legislative Powers (REGLEG) in 2003.