4 November 2014 (14.00-16.00) - Room 9 – Palais de l’Europe, Interpretation: FR/EN


When young people have the feeling to be excluded from decision-making, they take their demands to the streets. Social movements are said to be the drivers for system change but how can we sustain their impact? What are the challenges and prospects for social movements to influence democratic structures?

#YoSoy132, Mexico

Citizens in Mexico have lived under telecommunication monopolies for many years. These entities control information, set the prices of the services and determine cultural alternatives. This is not a local problem: in most nations, citizens are not able to exercise their communication rights on account of radio and television spaces being distributed among very few. From Mexico, many youth have told the world that this model is a hindrance to real democracy. They demand a new context for telecommunications and desire public policies to develop an extended sense of citizenship, including media and digital literacy.


Mr César Alan Ruiz GALICIA, Mexico, Activist, Journalist, Initiative for Democratization of Media and Transmedia Education

César Alan Ruiz Galicia is a young activist and journalist. He was a spokesperson for the #YoSoy132 movement, the most important youth mobilization in the last four decades. He has participated in the debate for the Telecommunication Reform Act, advocating for communication rights and proposing strategies for the democratization of the media system. He fostered the incorporation of community radio stations, which were finally included in the Mexican Constitution. He is currently involved in the Organizing Committee of the Popular Congress, a movement promoting democracy beyond political parties. This group already has nearly 10,000 affiliates.


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

Ms Ntshadi MOFOKENG, South Africa, Co-ordinator of the Community Leadership Programme at Equal Education 

Ntshadi Mofokeng is the Head of the Youth Department at Equal Education. Originally from Johannesburg, she completed her studies in the United States and returned to South Africa with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College. She has a keen interest in social movements and the possibilities they present for youth to be active participants in society.

Mr Andrij SHEVCHENKO, Ukraine, Member of Parliament

Andriy Shevchenko is a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He won the seats with Yulia Tymoshenko’s party ‘Batkivshchyna’ in 2006, 2007 and 2012. A seasoned TV journalist, he was a founder of the 5th Channel, the first news channel in Ukraine, and became a “face” of the 2004 Orange Revolution. He currently serves as the 1st Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Committee and is the author of Ukraine’s Law on Access to Information. He was an active participant of pro-European protests of 2013-14.


Ms Mary WANGARE MAINA, Kenya, Social Auditor at ActionAid

Mary Wangare Maina is 24 years old and born in Mombasa county, Kenya. She pursued a bachelor degree in Development Studies at Mount Kenya University. As young female, she assumes responsibility to protect people living in exclusion and poverty.  Mary is fighting for social accountability for six years, making sure basic rights are respected in her county.



Mr Michael REMMERT, Deputy to the Director of Policy Planning, Council of Europe

Michael joined the CoE in 1994, initially working in the field of social cohesion, then on democratic institutions and e-governance, which included responsibility for intergovernmental committees of experts and the co-ordination of the CoE’s contributions to the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and other international fora. He was also in charge of the annual sessions of the Council of Europe’s Forum for the Future of Democracy which took place from 2005 to 2010. His present responsibilities include overseeing the Network of Schools of Political Studies which offer high quality training for young political leaders in Europe and beyond. Michael studied political science and economics in Germany and Canada, was a university lecturer and civic education trainer from 1988 to 1993, and holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Freiburg/Germany.