Generation Democracy Brings Together Southern Africa’s Young Leaders

Johannesburg, South AfricaGeneration Democracy, the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) flagship global youth initiative, brought together 34 young leaders from across southern Africa to participate in a regional conference from May 25 to 28, 2017. The event convened delegates from seven African countries, and included speeches by acting USAID Mission Director for South Africa Alonzo Wind and Counselor for Political Affairs for the U.S. Mission to South Africa Brian Phipps.

“With Generation Democracy’s latest regional conference, we’re seeing southern Africa’s young leaders unite for a common purpose: building a better future through democratic means,” said IRI Director of Global Initiatives Michelle Bekkering. “The enthusiasm demonstrated by these young people reaffirms our longstanding conviction that the word’s most precious asset is its youth.”

During the conference, the delegates came together to draft a statement of principles, the “2017 Johannesburg Declaration,” which will be released in the coming weeks. This document builds upon declarations made by Generation Democracy members in Bangkok, (the Asia Declaration), Dar es Salaam (the Dar Declaration) and the founding Dakar Declaration, which outlined the global principles of Generation Democracy in the context of the challenges faced by young people.

These declarations provide a platform for youth in each region to unite around shared values, providing a blueprint for future IRI youth empowerment programming. The conference also marked the launch of a new community engagement initiative aimed at empowering African youth to promote citizen-centered solutions to community issues.  

Check out this video highlighting the personal journey of one of our conference participants.

About Generation Democracy

Generation Democracy is a global coalition of more than 400 youth organizations and members from 75 countries dedicated to empowering young people to participate in political, economic and governing processes. Notable members include Kenya’s National Youth Bunge Association, the Guyana National Youth Council, the Youth Council of Cambodia, SAWTY in Tunisia and the Youth of the European People’s Party and its 57 member parties.

Generation Democracy facilitates the exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices across the world to ensure that youths have a stronger voice in local and national institutions. Through Generation Democracy, young people are building the leadership and campaign 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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