Contemporary global challenges require solutions which are innovative and inclusive. Although many European institutions recognise that young people are a major human resource for development and key agents for social change, often the official words remain on paper when it comes to translating policy into practice. For this reason, the potential of young people to take part in the civic life often remains limited: a recent Eurobarometer research ‘Participation in Democratic Life’ shows that more than half of Europe’s youth believe that their involvement in political issues or voting would not have an impact. We want to challenge this!
The conference “Young People as Agents of Change in Peacebuilding” explored what role young people in Europe can play. By sharing best case practises and experiences, the panel of youth human rights advocates demonstrated how young people can act as innovators and active agents of change. By presenting examples of inter-institutional cooperation between youth, NGOs and the government, the conference aimed to identify how the decision makers, such as the European Parliament and Council of Europe could further strengthen the cooperation with youth civil society organisations and facilitate their involvement in the decision making process, as well as highlight the potential benefits of such policies of increased dialogue.