Empowering Young People is Crucial to Democratic Success

“The global community faces unprecedented challenges to democracy. In Ukraine, Putin’s illegal war continues to target civilians, with the Kremlin’s senseless aggression intensifying by the day. In Sudan, the military and the paramilitary units of the Rapid Support Forces have been in conflict since April. And in Bosnia and Herzegovina, political gridlock and rising nationalist sentiment threaten to undermine the country’s fragile post-conflict order. 

“Young people have emerged as a beacon of hope during these difficult times, advocating for change and working to build a better future. In Ukraine, young activists are leading the charge for the defense of their country, as well as the perseverance of human rights and democracy. While in Sudan, youth are mobilizing to demand the removal of the military from politics and for the establishment of a civilian-led democratic government. Additionally, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, young political leaders are pushing for reforms and greater accountability.

“Young leaders from Kiev to Sarajevo to San Jose are proving that they have the energy, passion, and innovative thinking needed to sustain and build democratic institutions in the face of adversity. The Summit for Democracy in Costa Rica, which focused on youth civic and political participation, provided a necessary platform for world leaders and civil society representatives to explore solutions to modern day challenges ranging from authoritarian aggression to political polarization, as well as the solutions to address them. 

“The Summit was not a perfect process or event, but it did create an important space for young people to share their unique insights for supporting democratic resilience and fighting against the rising tide of authoritarianism. Through youth and civil society-led events, as well as informal conversations amongst young leaders, the Summit provided a space to unpack in the process of sustaining and building democratic institutions that goes further than making democracy deliver, but actually work for all people, no matter their age. …”

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