4 November 2014 (10.30-12.30) - Room 11 – Palais de l’Europe, Interpretation: FR/EN/RU - Sponsored by the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe


Understanding is the first step towards change. Simulating democratic policy-making makes young people understand public policy. How can democracy education help democratic structures to evolve instead of simply  reproducing the status quo?

SIM Democracy, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom: Regional Office for Southeast and East Asia, Thailand

SIM Democracy is an interactive educational tool through simulation of a democratic community. Within less than an hour, it allows players to play different roles and actively perform tasks and responsibilities in a democratic society; such as the government that makes parliamentary and public decisions, plan budget, allocate resources, provide infrastructure and run the country, or ordinary citizens who generate income, pay taxes and actively participate in monitoring government administration. As a result, its fundamental elements and better understanding of public policy are fostered and democratic values are strengthened. Most importantly, it generates politically related questions in young minds, creating platforms for debates on political issues and its government administration.


Mr Rainer ADAM, Germany, Regional Director for Central, East and Southeast Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

A man who remembers his childhood fun and effective learning experiences through interactive-participation, he knew what was missing in the civic education classrooms in Thailand and why most youngsters had no interest in politics. This was how SIM Democracy came into existence.  He strongly believes that an interactive-learning tool can encourage young people to view the world through a democratic-political involvements spectrum.  Since 2008, he was a Regional Director for Southeast and East Asia of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) Bangkok, Thailand. He holds a PhD degree from Bonn University, Germany.

Ms Pimrapaat DUSADEEISARIYAKUL, Thailand, Project manager for Thailand, Regional Office for Southeast and East Asia, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Her youth public forums across Thailand never fail to inspire her subjects, she is known for the nationwide future search campaign “Dream Thailand”. Later when SIM Democracy was implemented across Thailand under her leadership, she successfully continues to inspire the youth, but for them to “Dream Democracy” instead. She is currently a Programme Manager in Thailand team for The Friedrich Naumann Foundation. She obtained her doctorate degree in International Relations in 1999 from the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom and her master degree in International Politics in 1993 from the University of Aberystwyth, United Kingdom.


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

Mr Mensah ATTOH, Togo, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist

Mensah Attoh is a Human Rights activist, lecturer at the University of Lomé and a lawyer for 20 years, specialised in Criminal Law, Civil Liberties and Sports Law. He runs a law firm in Lome. He was Executive Director of the Association 'Rights and Duties in Democracy' and Vice-President of the Network against Arbitrary Detentions and Arrests (RADAR), as well as Former Head of the Division of Legislation at the Ministry of Human Rights and the Promotion of the Rule of Law in Togo.

Ms Silvia GOLOMBEK, USA, Sr. Vice President at Youth Service America

Silvia Blitzer Golombek is the Sr. Vice President at YSA, an organization that helps young people find their voice, take action, and have an impact on vital community issues. With a doctorate in Sociology from the Johns Hopkins University, her career in nonprofit management, international collaborations, strategic planning, and academia is focused on positioning children and youth as key partners in building democratic societies. She created and currently leads various initiatives to increase youth participation in civic activities around the world including awareness raising, volunteering, advocacy campaigns, and philanthropic efforts around issues youth see as relevant and strategic. 


Ms Mishka MARTIN, Uganda, Youth Advisor at ActionAid Uganda

Mishka is the Youth Advisor for ActionAid Uganda where she works with staff and youth networks across the country to engage with local and national political processes and to support youth to play an active role in governance and accountability. Schooled in Political Science and International Relations, Mishka started as a young activist, both within the women’s movement and the youth climate change movement. She has campaigned on a number of human rights issues including Violence against Women, Refugees and Food Security and has worked on election campaigns to increase voter education and electoral participation.

Ms Cristina RUIZ HERNANDEZ, Mexico, Membership Coordinator for the Mexican Center for Philanthropy

Cristina Ruiz Hernandez got her degree in Human Resources Management at the Iberoamerican University. For 8 years, Cristina worked as Executive Director of the International Cultural Youth Exchange Mexico (ICYE Mexico), where she developed international volunteering programs in Mexico. Christina Ruiz was also part of the Board of Managers of the ICYE Federation and its Panamerican Region. Currently, she works as Membership Coordinator for the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi). Her main responsibilities include serving as the link between Cemefi and its members (around 1200 non-profit CSOs in Mexico), the organisation of the Institutionality and Transparency Standards Programe, and regional partnership coordination between Cemefi and organizations with whom programs are developed at the local level.


Mr Jean-Marie HEYDT, President of the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) of the Council of Europe

Jean-Marie Heydt is President of the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) of the Council of Europe and President of the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre. He is the permanent representative of the European Association (FESET) "Institutes of training for Socio-educational work" in Europe. It is a European federation of higher colleges and universities that prepare higher education and social work professions. He heads the General Association of Families of Bas-Rhin, in Strasbourg (France) as CEO. After studying law and humanities, he served in France for more than 10 years as social worker with juvenile courts. He holds a PhD in Comparative Educational Sciences and a degree in European Studies (Mutation of societies and cultures in Europe, Paris), and has taught since 1999 at several universities and institutes of higher education, including the University of Haute Alsace.


Mr Matthieu CHIARA