It was a great opportunity participating and representing YPARD at the symposium of “the future of youth’s political participation” in Strasbourg France, organized by the European Union and the Council of Europe.
Introductions and conversations were held including all participants along with the questions and answers sessions describing the actual state of youth in politics and the improvements that should be further tackled to promote youth’s involvement and efficiency.
Participants took part in parallel conversations focussing on the different ways young people participate into politics; interventions by people coming from different backgrounds were given, allowing a broader understanding of the methods used to get youth involved in politics depending on each country’s context, social development and openness.
During the parallel conversations, some participants presented their point of view concerning the political participation of youth. We witnessed different opinions as some stated that the youth coming from poor economic backgrounds were the first cluster to be tackled ( as it applies very much in their country and found very relevant to the change needed) and this could be done through the gathering of young people and educating them on how to effectively imply change.
On another hand, developed countries showed to have already attained certain levels of political participation having youth councils and being part of bigger communities, in addition to taking part in relevant meetings with the current political staff. The main point that all participants agreed on was that “youth should be an integral part of politics”.
Furthermore, group projects were used to plan procedures and designs; permitting youth to get involved, citing the different tools and deficit in the domain, depending on each one’s background. Keeping in mind that the participation of young people could be promoted through a various field of work.
Many workshops were held tackling different topics, of which I attended the co-management, conflict management in youth-lead political organizations workshops, in addition to the youth cooperation in northern Russia, Finland and Sweden aiming to make good use of abandoned land in those countries.
I held a workshop concerning “the political participation of youth and its impact especially within the agricultural sector” beginning with an overview explaining “Why” and “How” young people should participate in politics getting to the point of tackling the agricultural sector and the importance of rural areas. In the Q&A session following the talk, participants voiced some challenges that they are facing back in their countries that were mainly caused by marginalizing the agricultural sector and the market control of big corporations; the tailored response was provided for each case ending the session with remarkable outcomes and satisfaction from both sides.
Different opportunities were identified for YPARD to improve the network among certain countries. Either, through organizations and companies offering platforms and technology for youth to get involved and encouraged, or also through other channels which presented potentials for YPARD to get involved in agro-social fields.
Photo credit: Gabriel Bader