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Council of Europe Youth Summit - 15-16 May 2005, Warsaw (Poland)

The Youth Summit

The Youth Summit of the Council of Europe will be held parallel to the Summit of Council of Europe Heads of State and Government on Sunday 15 and Monday 16 May in the Polish Parliament. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, and senior Polish political figures will participate in the opening on 15 May.

A Declaration aimed, among other things, at holding a European campaign for and by young people against racism and intolerance, and with the aim of promoting diversity and participation is to be adopted. This will be and presented to the Summit of Heads of State and Government to obtain support.

What is the Summit about?

The Summit will enable young people to express their opinions and give their own perspectives on the key issues to be tackled by the Summit of Heads of State and Government: democracy, human rights and rule of law – the three pillars of the Council of Europe - as well as on the Organisation’s priorities and the expectations of young people as regards the future work programme of the Council of Europe in the youth sector.

The Summit also gives youth organisations a unique opportunity to participate in the decision-making process and in the construction of tomorrow’s Europe around common values, as well as to promote youth policy through government and to channel their ideas to decision-makers.

Who are the participants?

Some 100 young representatives ofrom civil society, including non-governmental, political and religious youth organisations as well as minority and student associations coming from the 48 contracting member states of the Council of Europe Cultural Convention will take part in the Summit.

Who are the organisers?

The preparatory group on the organisation of the Youth Summit includes representatives of:

- the Polish Education and Foreign Affairs Ministries;

- the European Youth Forum, representing 93 youth organisations (national youth councils and international non-governmental youth federations) in the Council of Europe and the European Union;

- the Advisory Council of the Youth and Sport Directorate of the Council of Europe, consisting of 30 representatives of organisations and non-governmental youth networks;

- the Secretariat of the Youth and Sport Directorate of the Council of Europe;

- the Council of Europe Information Office in Warsaw;

- the Polish Agency for the EU Youth Programme;

- Polish student organisations.

Overview of events organised in the framework of the Youth Summit

In the framework of the Summit, a programme of activities defined under the feature “Youth-Europe-Future” is planned to be carried out by Polish organisations dedicated to Europe. These activities aim at bridging the gap between citizens and political leaders and opening a debate on the future of Europe and of Europeans. The programme includes:

Saturday 14 May 2005

- a seminar on “Europe and transatlantic relations in 20 years” organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation;

- a seminar entitled “B.U.T. – why not the EU?” (B. stands for Belarus, U. for Ukraine and T. for Turkey) organised by the Forum of Young Diplomats;

- a seminar on “What future for democracy with young people abstaining from elections and political participation?” organised by the Institute for Public Affairs;

- a seminar on “Who gives a toss about the constitution for Europe?” organised by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation;

- activities organised by the Heinrich Böll Foundation;

- a training course on European Citizenship, organised from 11 to 15 May by the Polish Agency for the European Union youth programme in co-operation with the partnership agreement of the Council of Europe and the European Commission on youth leader training, and open to other Polish participants on 14 May. A travelling exhibition on the European Voluntary Service will also arrive in Warsaw on the 14th;

- activities on history and corruption organised by the Centre for Citizenship Education;

These activities will be held during the day in separate meeting rooms of the Sejm and will be summarised by delegates from each activity during a concluding discussion in the chamber of the senate. The results will be presented to the Youth Summit.

- a seminar on “European Identity” - in connection with the German-Polish Year - organised by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (venue tbc);

- a meeting in thematic working groups of the NGO Liaison Committee to the Council of Europe (University of Warsaw) and a visit to the monument of the Warsaw ghetto;

- an event for the launching by the Association of Children and Young People “Szansa” ofto launch the Polish edition of Compass in Warsaw and simultaneously in 32 Polish locations (National Teachers’ In-Service Training Centre);

- two high-level panels, one with the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Germany, Poland and Ukraine, one with European intellectuals, organised by the Council of Europe Information Office in co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Belvedere);

- activities organised by the Polish American Ukrainian Foundation for young Ukrainians.

Sunday 15 May 2005

The traditional Schuman parade, organised by the Polish Robert Schuman Foundation and devoted this year to the Council of Europe, will stream through the main streets of Warsaw to the European village in the city centre. Many civil society organisations, such as the Scouts, the European Youth Forum, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Polish Agency for the EU youth programme, the Centre for Citizenship Education as well as the Council of Europe will have stands in the Village. This well-known pro-European street festival brought between 10.000 and 12.000 people onto the streets in 2004.

An open air concert with Polish, German and Ukrainian bands to celebrate the Polish/German Year and the Polish/Ukrainian Year - beginning on 1 April - will be held in the evening.

The Centre for Citizenship Education, composed of 15 NGOs active in this field, will exhibit about 100 projects which have been selected nationally on the participation of young people in the democratic process (location tbc).

The Academy of Fine Arts will host exhibitions on Council of Europe Art Exhibitions, the 25th anniversary of Solidarnosc and from artists coming from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Poland.

The programme prepared in co-operation with the Council of Europe’s Information Office, the City of Warsaw and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs includes:

- lectures by well-known personalities, to be organised by Warsaw-based cultural institutes as well as the University;

- activities in coordination with the 22 Council of Europe Information Offices to promote the Summit outside Poland;

- the launching of publications on Poland and the Council of Europe for example a Case Law book on the European Convention of Human Rights (in the European Village);

- cinema, jazz and museum nights, a Klezmer music concert, classical music performances.