In October, 2015, Generation Democracy hosted its first event outside the U.S. in Dakar, Senegal and brought together 45 young leaders from the West African countries of Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal for a collaborative conference and advocacy skills workshop.
Generation Democracy, IRI’s youth initiative, is a global coalition of young people and more than 200 youth organizations in 67 countries around the globe that engages, empowers, and connects youth across borders to share their ideas, experiences, and best practices on youth political participation in order to cultivate the world’s next generation of democratic leaders. A primary goal of Generation Democracy is to highlight the voices of our members, who are working tirelessly to expand the political rights of young people around the globe. One of our amazing members is Mr. Elmehdi Sidi Abdalla, (Twitter, Facebook) a young man who is heavily involved in a Mauritanian civil society organizations called the “Mauritanian Organization for Rights and Freedoms” and the Almushahid Media Network.
Please read the interview below as the latest entry to our new campaign to tell the stories of our members, “Meet the Future.”
What is the name of the youth-focused organization that you are a part of?
Ans: The Almushahid Media Network
What initiatives has your organization taken part in that you are most proud of?
Ans: I am most proud of the work that our organization has done to train young people to share advocacy skills and reinforce international Human Rights norms and democratic practices in Mauritania.
What is your vision for your country’s future?
Ans: My dream is that one day Mauritania will be a democratic country where all citizens are equal
How can youth achieve that vision?
Ans: Young people can achieve this equal future through training other youth so that they can actively participate in all democratic processes.
What is your initiative doing to achieve that vision?
Ans: We are reinforcing civil society so that it can serve as a source of civic education and promote active citizenship among young people
Why is bringing youth together from around the world important?
Ans: Young people must come together so that they can engage in discourse, exchange experiences [in civic engagement] and gain new competences from each other.
How can youth change the world?
Ans: Young people can change the world by understanding that they hold the power to change [the future] and empowering themselves with the skills needed to make the changes that they want to see.