8 November 2022, 11.30-13.00 - Room 1 – Palais de l’Europe

Interpretation: EN/FR

Youth have been a potent driving force behind social and political change since 1968. The energy and open-mindedness of younger people have often been an essential part of successful transitions away from authoritarian governance towards more democratic and inclusive societies. Democracies whose youth are engaged in civic life through voting, volunteering, protesting, or organising may also be more resilient over time. When youth lose interest and do not engage in political processes it cannot bode well for the future of a democracy. Young people are also on the forefront of technological change, which has an increasingly large impact on the way contemporary democracies work.

What are the values of today’s youth globally? What are the main concerns, hopes or fears of young people about democracy? How much are they willing to risk for a revitalised democratic society, lifestyle, or government? How much influence do youth really have in contemporary democracies? Which forms of youth participation can best support meaningful change?

Youth to the Rescue: What Kind of Democracy Do Young People in Africa, Asia and Europe Want?

Report prepared by Debating Europe and Debating Africa with the support of the World Forum for Democracy

Forum Talk 1: Youth to the rescue?
Palais de l'Europe, room 1 8 November 2022 - 11.30-13.00
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Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

moderator moderator
CARDACI Alessandra

Alessandra CARDACI

Project Manager at Debating Europe


Alessandra is Project Manager at Debating Europe, the citizens’ engagement and democracy unit of Friends of Europe, a Brussels-based think tank. She has an international multidisciplinary background, holding a joint Master’s degree in European studies. She has solid and successful experience in people-centred projects and communications in the public and private sectors, having previously worked at the European Commission, as well as European and American not-for-profit organisations in Brussels and Berlin. She believes in the power of network, community and cooperation – and most of all, in finding common ground for the common good. Alessandra speaks Italian, English and French fluently.

panel panel


Debating Europe / Africa


Manal Benani, is a 27 years old Algerian doctor in medicine, a graduate of masters in diplomacy from the Mediterranean Academy of diplomatic studies, a regional trainer of debate and public speaking skills. She is a cofounder of Sustainable Cooperation for peace and security and an active member CISV, All for civic education and Erasmus youth programs. Professionally, she is currently the youth strategy advisor for Africa Europe foundation. Her journey with civil society started in 2012. She was panelist in the side meeting of the UN general assembly 2017 around security and development, and the current Algerian representative at the AU youth charter hustlers 2020-2022.

CARL Helfried

Helfried CARL

Founder and Chief Political Strategist at the Innovation in Politics Institute


Helfried Carl is a Founder and Chief Political Strategist at the Innovation in Politics Institute in Vienna and the Founder of the European Capital of Democracy Initiative. In his diplomatic carreer, he served as Austria’s Ambassador to Slovakia, Chief of Cabinet of the President of the Austrian parliament, Political Councillor at the Austrian Mission to the UN in New York and as Deputy Head of Cabinet to the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He received an M.A. in International Relations and International Politics at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He is currently on leave from the Austrian foreign service.

NYMAN Adam 2022


Co-founder of Debating Europe and Debating Africa


Adam is the Director of Citizen Outreach and Engagement at the Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe. He is responsible for the online citizen platforms Debating Europe and Debating Africa, which he co-founded in 2011 and 2020, respectively. He has extensive experience in digital media start-ups, including the launch of the Brussels-based newswire service EUPOLITIX.com, which he merged into The Parliament Magazine, where he was the Managing Director. Adam speaks fluent English and Italian.

discussant discussant


Youth Delegate


I’ve been working as an activist for the climate strike in Switzerland, advocating for collective action and collaboration between grassroots activism and constitutional politics. I am passionate about how the climate crisis connects to human rights and especially advocate for the rights of women, the LGBTQIA+ community, and people with disabilities. I’ve worked as an SDG junior ambassador at the United Nations and recently accompanied and supported a group of human rights defenders at the Human Rights Council. I’m currently a student at Pearson United World College (UWC), focusing on international collaboration and sustainability and I hope to bring the voices of a diverse community of youth to the WFD. 


Adrian ZALLA

Youth Delegate


I am a young professional from Albania with background in journalism, art and civil society, this last remark makes me fight more and harder for democracy and wanting to protect it or at least try to make it better, seeing what lacks in daily life, and seeing what it hurts it becomes a need to become an activist an raise the voice. I have been working in different projects, think tanks related with democracy, activism, policy-making, decision-making etc. I think I can leave a great example and legacy behind, and being part of WFD brings me one step closer to being a stronger voice not only for myself but even my peers and why not my country. For me Democracy is like a plant that can always be saved if there is water, sun and hope. For all three we humans have a choice to do something about it.

rapporteur rapporteur


Political Science student