Later today, an assembly of young people in Strasbourg will act as the launch-pad for the first World Forum for Democracy.
Howard Williamson, Professor of European Youth Policy, will deliver the keynote speech on ‘Young people’s contribution to democracy,’ at the event, which will also feature addresses by Parliamentary Assembly President Jean-Claude Mignon and Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
An audience of some 170 young people is expected for the opening ceremony. Jagland will outline the challenges to democracy and the loss of faith in the political classes. He will acknowledge the record levels of youth unemployment and the increasing sense of marginalisation among young people but will call on them to engage with democratic institutions.
The Secretary General will also stress the role of young people in embracing diversity and will warn again of the dangers of parallel societies, characterized by social and economic divisions.
Jagland will outline his fears of what he describes as the “banalisation” of hate speech and intolerance.
Living together, the Secretary General will say, is necessary for Europe’s future. Diversity must be successfully managed and this task will be a “litmus test” for the strength and maturity of European democracy.
Podcast Interview: Jean-Louis Laurens on the World Forum for Democracy [fr] [en]
Information: World Forum for Democracy
Podcast: World Forum for Democracy – Women, NGO activism and the development of inclusive politics