Back The Council of Europe gives young people a say in how to revitalise democracy

From 3 to 5 November 2014, at a time when young people all over the world are rallying to make their voice heard and demand new means of direct democratic expression, the Council of Europe will be holding its World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, with the backing of the French Government, the Alsace Region and the City of Strasbourg.

Some 1,200 participants – civil society activists, elected representatives, political leaders, and representatives of the media – from 80 countries are expected to attend this third Forum to discuss new ways of encouraging young citizens to become involved and imagine new forms of democratic participation.

The Forum will be opened by Harlem Désir, the French Minister for European Affairs, and Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends. Many other leading figures will take part in the debates, for example: Yuk Hui, an activist from Hong Kong, Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something (youth volunteering opportunities) and founder of Crisis Text Line (youth support), Kirill Koroteev, lawyer at the Memorial human rights centre and winner of the 2009 Sakharov Prize, Simone Bernstein, President of (voluntary work), and Ons Ben Abdelkarim, Secretary General of the Tunisian NGO Al Bawsala.


There will be a Lightshow to mark the opening of the Forum. It will be open to all and will be projected on the façade of the Palais de l’Europe (from 7pm to 10 pm on 3 November and from 6.30pm to 10pm on 4 November).

“Prototypes of democracy”, prepared online over the past few months by over 250 young people, will be presented on Wednesday 5 November.

The Forum participants will designate the most promising initiative from among the thirty or so to be discussed in the Forum Labs. The Award for Democratic Innovation will be handed over by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, in the presence of the Women of Uganda Network, the 2013 award-winner.

On the fringes of the Forum

The City of Strasbourg and its partners will, once again, propose to the general public a fringe programme allowing them to take part in the event. The City will be organising concerts, debates and exhibitions, and screening films from 1 to 9 November.

In a world context that poses a threat to democracy, the 2014 Falcone Prize will be awarded to leading figures and organisations who think outside the box or take courageous action on the ground at the risk of their personal safety. This prize will be awarded on Tuesday 4 November at 6.30pm (Pavillon Joséphine).

The Reporters without Borders for Freedom of the Press Prize will be awarded on Wednesday 5 November at 7pm (Aubette).

More information:

Press Contacts:

Estelle Steiner, Spokesperson/Press Officer, tel. +33 3 88 41 33 35, mobile +33 6 08 46 01 57

Can Fisek, Spokesperson/Press Officer, tel. +33 3 88 41 30 41, mobile +33 6 75 65 03 41

Accreditation: please fill out the online form

Follow the Forum on the social networks:, @WFDemocracy (#CoE_WFD).

3-5 November 2014
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