‘Youth Shaping Democracy’ – Conference Report
On the 24th of January 2020, the political foundations of CDA, PvdA, GroenLinks and D66 joined forces for the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP) to organise a conference on youth participation in politics. This conference was held in Nieuwspoort, as close as you can get to the center of the Dutch democracy. How do Dutch political foundations contribute to strenghtening the role of young people in global politics? The answers to this question was dealt with through two roundtable discussion, held respectively with our trainers and alumni from our projects.
Jan Marinus Wiersma, member of the ENoP political board, kicked off the conference with his welcoming remarks, where he introduces the participants to the network and its activities. ENoP supports the work of the political foundations on a European level, and brings the foundations together so they can combine their efforts and create more impact – nationally and on a global level.
Session I: Supporting Youth Building Democracy
Moderator: Rick van der Woud (Eduardo Frei Stichting)
Panel members: Kirsten van den Hul (Foundation Max van der Stoel), Monique Vogelaar (Eduardo Frei Stichting), Arend Hamstra (Bureau de Helling) and Alexander Scholtes (D66 Internationaal)
In the first session, we gave the floor to our trainers to discuss the their experience working for us abroad. What stood out is their shared emphasis on supporting young women – the value of getting these women together and connect with each other shows that most of the challenges they face on the road to valuable political participation go beyond borders. Throughout the discussion, the trainers highlighted their motivation to take part in these programmes: connecting with and supporting young people from different countries achieve their goals.
Session II: Youth talking
Moderator: Daphne Ploegstra (Jonge Democraten, IFLRY)
Panel members: Riwa Ghawi (Lebanon), Claudine Kishek (Jordan), Khaoula Hamid (Morocco) and Ivana Barac (Croatia).
Then, most importantly, it was time for our alumni to exchange their views on political participants. Our panelists from Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon and Croatia spoke to the audience about the issues in their respective countries that motivated them to become politically engaged. The challenges they face range from corruption to the lack of platforms – nevertheless, they persist in carving out their own space for meaningful engagement. The speakers discusses what they gain from the work of the political foundations: better grasp on negotiation, debating but most importantly how the trainings give them space to build on their activities and expand their netwerks.
Our thanks to the Eduardo Frei Stichting for the photographs.