According to the United Nations, nearly one-third of the world’s youth, or 750 million young women and men, live in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet despite this growing population, young people across Asia remain unrepresented in government, and feel marginalized and disengaged from formal decision-making processes.  

IRI launched Generation Democracy in 2015 to bridge this gap. This global network of more than 400 young elected officials, civil society leaders, activists and journalists across 70 countries provides young leaders with a platform to exchange ideas and share best practices to increase political and civic participation among youth. The initiative builds upon IRI’s more than 30 years of experience helping youth across Asia develop their leadership potential and become more civically and politically engaged.

In March 2017, IRI convened the first Generation Democracy Asia Academy in Bangkok, hosting youth from 13 countries across the region. Building on the momentum generated in Bangkok, from December 8–10, IRI convened 25 young leaders from 15 countries across Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia to exchange ideas and identify barriers to youth participation in decision-making.

At the Jakarta Academy, young leaders learned how to plan and identify methods to translate goals into policy, collaborate through open data and develop strategies to build inclusive institutions. IRI partnered with Facebook to host a networking reception with Indonesian members of parliament who began their political careers as student activists. The reception was followed by an intergenerational dialogue with these MPs on how to get youth across the region interested in policy, process and politics. As part of International Anti-Corruption Day, IRI partnered with the Open Data Lab in Jakarta to host a hands-on-learning workshop during the Academy to promote youth and government collaboration through open data. 

As with previous gatherings hosted by Generation Democracy, one of the key outputs of the Jakarta Academy was a statement of principles known as the Jakarta Declaration. The Jakarta Declaration was created through a participatory process, driven by youth and designed by youth, and is designed to sustain momentum for positive change across the region through youth engagement and leadership.

The Academy received positive feedback from participants such as Luigi De Vera, a local legislator from the Philippines. According to Luigi, “Before coming to Jakarta, I had the feeling of hopelessness for democracy in the Philippines, because our people’s resolve to uphold the promise of democracy has been wavering since Duterte came to power. After Generation Democracy, I’m coming back to the Philippines with a renewed sense of hope.”

To learn more about the Jakarta Regional Academy and Generation Democracy’s global #NoVoteNoVoice campaign, watch the video below:


About Generation Democracy

Generation Democracy is a global coalition of over 400 youth organizations and members from 70 countries dedicated to empowering young people to participate in political and governing processes.

We facilitate the exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices across the world to ensure that youth have a stronger voice in decision-making. Through our network, young people are building the leadership skills needed to become the next generation of democratic actors in their communities and countries, leading to more robust and youth-friendly policies. Generation Democracy is made possible through the support of the National Endowment for Democracy.

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