Last November, two members of the Child and Youth Movement (MIRIM-BRASIL), member organisation of IFM-SEI, attended the World Forum for Democracy (WFD) in Strasbourg, France. The forum, which is held annually by the Council of Europe (CoE), brought together more than two thousand participants, including representatives of social organizations, parliamentarians, ministers, cyber-activists and social entrepreneurs.
Luísa Ferreira and Vinícius Sobreira from Mirim-Brasil were selected together with 213 other young people from 71 countries to represent the voice of youth at the event. During the Forum itself and in its preparation through an online platform, the group of youngsters worked together in order to respond to the provocation chosen as the theme of the third edition of the WFD: “Can youth revitalize democracy?”.
As the title indicates, this edition of the Forum has sought to foster dialogue about transformations in democratic systems and structures to regain their credibility among young people, who are increasingly sceptical about the current format of political representation and dialogue between society and governments.
The young participants built democracy prototypes and suggested changes to make the power structures more attractive to young people and more open to their ideas and contributions. “If there is a topic that was consensual among the youths present at the Forum since its inception, it is the need to promote youth empowerment, without which it is not possible to maintain sustainable democratic systems”, says Vinícius.
During the event, the participants could speak their minds about democracy, learn from positive youth-related initiatives that are being developed around the world and connect with other young people that are working towards the protection of human rights. “It was important to see how people from very different backgrounds are equally unsatisfied with the state of things, but at the same time haven’t lost their faith in our power to change this scenery. We need to keep working so that those in power let us and other marginalised groups take part in the decision-making processes”, Luísa adds.