Lab 1 – Youth Participation
8 November 2022, 9.00-11.00 - Room 1 – Palais de l’Europe
sponsored by the European Collectivity of Alsace
Young people are frequently excluded from mainstream politics and decision-making processes. When given the chance, however, youth often demonstrate tremendous motivation and capacity to promote constructive, long-lasting change.
Do today’s youth have real opportunities to take part in political processes and offer innovative solutions to the issues facing democracy? How can we ensure that the youth do not lose their interest in the democratization process? How do we better prepare them for what the future might hold for democracy?
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Youth Combating Hate Speech - Liberal Alternative Institute
Liberal Alternative Institute-LAI is an NGO established as a response to society’s grassroots needs for an alternative voice based on liberal activism. Founded in 2012 in Tetovo, Macedonia, it provides an innovative approach to already much discussed topics in the lights of democracy, good governance and social activism. The alternative LAI offers stems from the international experience of the founding members whose ideas blend the western liberal thought with the traditional local values. The mission of the Liberal Alternative Institute is to encourage citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia to participate in creative activities through a variety of project programs, with the goal of educating, improving, and equipping them with knowledge on how to become engaged citizens in an increasingly diverse and changing world.
Executive Director of Liberal Alternative Institute
Orhan Ceka is a PhD candidate in the Law and Politics program at the University of Graz, working on the governance of Islam in the Balkans. He has masters degrees in Human Rights and Democratization (University of Sarajevo/Bologna) and Public Policy (Sabanci University). Orhan has worked at the Southeast European University, the Centre for Southeast European Studies (CSEES) at the University of Graz, Sabanci University, Search for Common Ground, European Endowment for Democracy and East West Management Institute. He is currently working as the Executive Director of Liberal Alternative Institute, overseeing Institute Relations and Programs, and heading the program on Human Rights and Liberties. He has more than 15 years of experience working in the fields of youth, human rights, reconciliation and democratization.
East & West (Shark & Gharb) - Lebanon 2.0
Lebanon 2.0 is a start-up national political academy that develops, trains and educates youth and young professionals to promote democracy and to drive positive change for a stable, secure, and healthy society. The program gathers 30 diverse participants from different backgrounds, political parties, cultures and religions. It triggers a constructive dialogue aimed to bridge the gab between the “East” and the “West” that is dividing the local socio-economical and political scene. As a result, soft skills development is integrated into the programme to help train participants on conflict resolution, listening skills, team building, and negotiation.
President and Co-founder of Lebanon 2.0
Tiffany is a young dynamic engineer currently working as a project manager and partner at Acoustair, a firm specialized in providing the latest vibration and noise control solutions in Lebanon and the MENA region. Tiffany is also a lecturer at her alma mater, the University of Saint-Joseph (USJ), a leading university in Lebanon. Moreover, Tiffany is an active member of Rotary Lebanon where she has held several leadership positions (including being the youngest elect president in the district to date) and successfully implemented diverse projects across the country to serve, help, and develop vulnerable communities. Once a drastic socio-economic crisis hit Lebanon in 2019, followed by the pandemic in 2020 and the massive port explosion on August 4th, 2020, Tiffany recognized the dire need to contribute to building new, resilient and connected communities through novice civic engagement amongst the country's tormented youths. To that end, she founded Lebanon 2.0, a unique educational platform designed to boost civic education, engage in democracy, and empower youths. Since then, Tiffany and her team of enthusiastic entrepreneurs and activists have committed themselves to develop, grow, and expand Lebanon 2.0, aiming at promoting integrity and solidarity amongst the future leaders of the country.
Empowering Young Changemakers - Young Agents of Change
"Empowering Young Changemakers" is a 9-month project that aims to increase the role of youth in the transformation process in Ukraine and develop leadership skills of young community leaders through support of grassroots activism. It incuded 3 local trainings; Changemakers Forum on reforms in Kyiv, and All-Ukrainian microgrant competition to support youth-led projects in communities. The project within its timeline directly influenced at least 120 participants and 700+ indirect beneficiaries, as well as supported 10 youth initiatives through a microgrant competition. The initiative was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
Member of "Young Agents of Change"
Maryna Kravets has been a member of the NGO "Young Agents of Change" since 2019 and is mainly engaged in project management. Focused on Erasmus+ YE, she took part at several, featuring the topics of youth participation, diversity and media literacy, both as a participant and as a team leader. Maryna also implemented a project on creative thinking in her hometown, aimed at improvement of youth’s skills in graphic design, being her hobby and main occupation. Through design Maryna also supports Ukrainian startups in their development within the Ukrainian Startup Fund.
Empowering for Inclusion (E4I) – Social Rights Department
Empowering for Inclusion (E4I) is one of the projects benefiting from the call for Rights, Equality and Citizenship, an initiative to work with young people to eradicate racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination, in particular Islamophobia and anti- gypsy. It lasts for two years (2021-2022). The intervention begins in 20 Secondary Schools throughout Catalonia, through participation credits, five sessions carried out by community technicians in the tutoring time of each of the 4th grade classrooms, to design actions to help to improve coexistence and promote diversity in their school and among schoolmates. Once they have had this first practical experience at the school, they can continue with the socio-community course that takes place in the civic centre outside school hours.
Rebeca ALVAREZ RIVERO
Superior Technician at Ministry of Social Rights at Government of Catalonia
Rebeca has a Bachelor of Economics with Postgraduate degrees in Communications and Tourism. She also is trained on Social and Psychology areas. Rebeca is a Superior Technician at Ministry of Social Rights at Government of Catalonia, working as a Community Equipment’s Coordinator (North Barcelona area), supporting associations, strengthening community-aimed projects and providing activities for the citizens to promote civic values and integral development of the person.
Pilar RUBIO ESPEJO
Superior Technician at Ministry of Social Rights at Government of Catalonia
Pilar holds Bachelor of English Language and Literature and work experience in social issues. She is a Superior Technician at Ministry of Social Rights at Government of Catalonia, working as a Community Equipment’s Coordinator (South Barcelona area), supporting associations, strengthening community-aimed projects and providing activities for the citizens to promote civic values and integral development of the person.
Shrinking space - the Advisory Council on Youth
Last March, the Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2022)6 on protecting youth civil society and young people, and supporting their participation in democratic processes, in other words recommendations to combat the shrinking space for youth policy. In this workshop, the Advisory Council on Youth will take a look at the recommendation and discuss youth policy and how the recommendation can be effective with regard to the shrinking space. The goal of the workshop is to give an insight into the work of the Council of Europe youth sector, especially that of the Advisory Council on Youth, as well as give feedback on the recommendation.
Representative of Euro Youth Mental Health on the Advisory Council on Youth
Anna Knobbout is a constitutional law master student from the Netherlands. They are representative of Euro Youth Mental Health on the Advisory Council on Youth, a non-profit organisation which acts in order to raise the voices of young people to promote mental health and support to those impacted by mental ill-health across Europe.
Member of the Advisory Council on Youth
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Marko Lončar was born in 1998 in Teslić, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has a degree in political science and is a master's student on the European Studies module at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, Serbia. He founded the Youth Club Teslić, and has served as its president since its inception. He represents the Youth Council of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovinal in the Council of Europe's Advisory Council on Youth and is a member of the Teslić Municipal Assembly's Committee for Youth and Population Policy.
Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.
Vice president of the Communauté Européenne d’Alsace
Nicolas Matt has been Vice-President of the University of Strasbourg since 2020, as well as University Professor, Senior Lecturer and Head of the team "Genetics of the Immune Response", at the CNRS of the University of Strasbourg. He was also elected Vice-President of the European Collectivity of Alsace in charge of educational success, youth, sports and bilingualism in 2021. At the same time, he is a municipal and Eurometropolitan councillor of the city of Strasbourg as well as a Departmental Councillor of the Bas-Rhin (then of the European Collectivity of Alsace) of the Canton of Strasbourg-5.
The European Union's mission statement "united in diversity" reflects for me the understanding of democracy very well: A state must protect and integrate the different facets of its citizens. However, many states do not follow this principle. In order to find out how we can protect democracy, shape it and bring it into the world in a new way, I wanted to join the forum. Since 2020, I have been involved in a movement that campaigns for the democratisation of the EU. This gives me new hope. It showed me that I can be part of the solution. I will carry this hope into the forum and want to speak up for human rights and democratisation with many young people.
Young European Ambassador for EU Neighbours East
UK / USA
I am a postgraduate student specialising in Russian and Eurasian Politics at University College London (UCL) School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES). As a result of my academic background and research in area studies of Eastern Europe, Russia, and the South Caucasus, I became a Young European Ambassador (YEA), representing the United Kingdom, at EU Neighbours East. The YEA’s Initiative fosters communication and collaboration between youth from the EU, UK, and the Eastern Partnership Countries. My activism and youth work is motivated by my belief that active and inclusive participation is essential for a thriving democracy. I am committed to empowering young people and removing barriers to their political participation, especially for underrepresented nations and social minority groups. I believe that youth are not just the future, but the NOW, and I am confident that even in the face of various global threats to democracy, we will build a shared, inclusive, and cooperative future together.