Youth Civil Participation: A Challenge for Transitional Countries in the Eastern Europe
A direct connection can be traced between the state of democracy in a country and the extent of civic participation and involvement on all levels of public administration there. The purpose of this seminar is to explore and pursue the mechanism of youth citizenship and civic involvement. These influence the way how public affairs are being handled. If utilized by youth - the active, adaptive and critical element of the society - they can significantly contribute to stable and democratic political environment.
The seminar aims at the reflection of experience of the representatives from the new EU member countries (particularly Visegrad Countries) with youth civil participation over the past 15 years and possibilities to share this experience with countries such as Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia.
The analysis, which would be a part of the seminar, would be based on three examples:
- Western Europe with its tradition of democracy would represent the model with a broad scale of accessible ways of civil involvement.
- New member states of the EU or the Central European countries, which already have these mechanisms, but are struggling with their effective exploitation.
- Eastern European countries (mainly Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova), which are more or less developing these mechanisms, often opposed by the local political establishment.
We will to welcome representatives from all of these regions, but emphasize the seriousness of this topic in the last one – Eastern Europe. We believe that with the exchange of experience, know-how, and with a joint concern which should result into practical activities, the countries of Western and Central Europe can positively influence the transformation process of these countries and profit by gaining knowledge and impulses which could stimulate the often passive civic involvement back home.
This workshop based seminar will welcome young people, already familiar with civic activism, who are able to insight this problem, compare local activities aimed at its improvement and look for concrete action.
The proposed seminar could consist of a series of workshops with the following topics:
- Civic involvement and public affairs in Western, Central and Eastern Europe – mechanisms and effectiveness.
- Youth as the major public activist.
- Democracy building and youth involvement in Eastern and Central Europe – parallels and differences.
- How to stimulate civic involvement – possible activities.
The expected number of participants is 15-20, mostly students, young NGO representatives, and leaders of political youth organizations from Visegrad countries and Western Europe on one hand, and participants from Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and other post-Soviet republics.
The seminar should support the Long Term Training Course (LTTC) currently being prepared by the Students' Forum 2000 which aimed at helping young civil society leaders in transition countries by providing skills and knowledge about civic work.