The Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy is an annual gathering of leaders, opinionmakers, civil society activists, representatives of business, academia, media and professional groups to debate key challenges for democracies worldwide and encourage democratic innovation. The insights gathered during the World Forum meetings inform the work of the Council of Europe and its partners in the field of democracy and democratic governance.
The third edition of the World Forum for Democracy, to take place on 3‐5 November 2014, will address the challenge of re‐buidling young people's trust in democracy and re‐shaping institutions to give youth real influence on decision‐making in all social arenas.
The obstacles to meaningful youth participation are complex and dependent on national context ‐ from a growing demographic unbalance and inter‐generational values gap, to paternalistic and oligarchic systems where formal political structures are unwilling to share power and respond to the aspirations of youth for democratic renewal. The alienation of young people deprives society of their energy and optimism. It leads to political choices which lack a long‐term perspective, an equitable intergenerational distribution to resources, and impetus for change.
However, there are also political parties, businesses, media organisations, schools, local authorities, NGOs etc. which make a genuine effort to involve young people in a meaningful way in decision‐making. The World Forum for Democracy will highlight such examples and stimulate a dialogue between them in order to create a momentum for a wider take up and structural change towards a democracy where young people have a real say. The initiatives will be critically discussed at the Forum LABS.
Initiatives which clearly go beyond the tokenistic forms of "youth participation", and offer a genuine opportunity for young people to drive change, will be particularly appreciated. The Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy 2014 will engage with young people and with decision‐makers and opinion‐formers in a reflection on the patterns of youth exclusion and involvement and will explore new ways of engaging young people in re‐visioning the democratic arenas of today.
Interested organisations worldwide are invited to express their interest in presenting an example/initiative enabling youth participation by answering the questionnaire in Appendix and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 April 2014.
The World Forum Task Force will select the most interesting and relevant proposals in May 2014.
Up to two presenters (preferably a high‐level institutional representative and a young person of different genders) for the selected initiatives will be invited to Strasbourg to take part at the World Forum. A number of funded places is available.
In the context of this call a "young person" is a person who is 35 or younger.
Any public or private organisation is eligible to apply.