Global Youth Network to Build the Next Generation of Democratic Leaders
Washington, DC – As part of IRI’s annual Freedom Award ceremony, the Institute announced the creation of Generation Democracy, a new global youth network that equips young men and women with the leadership skills necessary to become the next generation of democratic actors in their communities and countries.
“Building on the success of IRI’s work around the world, Generation Democracy engages, empowers and connects youth to share their experiences and ideas on political and civic participation,” said Ambassador Mark Green, president of IRI. “If democracy is going to succeed, we have to foster a culture that values youth representation and inclusion in governance practices.”
With funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, Generation Democracy has already grown into a global coalition of committed, politically active young people and more than 200 youth organizations with the drive to make a difference in their communities.
Generation Democracy’s work is inspired by Dr. Mo Ibrahim, who was awarded IRI’s Freedom Award on September 9 for his service and commitment to transparency, accountability and good governance. In talking about the benefits of engaging youth in identifying and delivering fresh solutions to problems, Dr. Ibrahim has said, “We will only fully reap these benefits if we listen to young people, engage with them and provide the education, skills and support they need to prosper.”
With this in mind, Generation Democracy will link youth to their peers in other countries to share ideas and best practices on increasing political and civic participation and giving youth a greater voice in the governance of their communities. Programming will be carried out through conferences, workshops, direct consultation and access to resources from IRI’s most successful youth programs around the globe.
Recognizing that Africa is experiencing the greatest growth in its youth demographic of any region in the world, the first conference will be hosted in Dakar, Senegal, October 2015. Generation Democracy will host future leaders from Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria to establish relationships across regional borders and supply participants with the skills to lead and the opportunity to take action in their home country.
This conference will feature presentations and activities led by experts from the Youth of the European People’s Party, one of Generation Democracy’s first and most prestigious partners.