Political parties are essential to connecting citizens with government officials and ensuring their priorities impact policymaking. But despite the critical role of democratic parties, young people remain detached from traditional pathways of political participation. A symptom of their historic marginalization, the lack of youth engagement highlights the importance of inclusive political institutions in a flourishing democracy.

To encourage youth participation in their governments, the International Republican Institute (IRI) has collaborated with young change-makers across the globe to increase their political engagement and representation for more than three decades. As a part of the Advanced Leadership in Politics Institute (ALPI), IRI has released a toolkit that highlights our work empowering young leaders, why it is critical to advancing global democracy, and how organizations worldwide can equip youth to become the next generation of democratic leaders. The ALPI is a professional-development program first launched and implemented by IRI in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) that brings together young political leaders from different political parties. The goal of ALPI is to empower and create a space for young leaders, with opposing views or from different ethnic backgrounds, who are active and currently shaping policies within their own political parties.

This toolkit was made possible through the support of IRI’s flagship youth network, Generation Democracy. Launched in 2015, IRI’s Generation Democracy initiative is a global network of more than 400 youth organizations representing 70 countries around the world. Generation Democracy offers youth champions across IRI’s regional and global programs a platform to share ideas and best practices, discuss trends, as well as access skills-building webinars and professional development opportunities to help affect positive change in their communities and countries.

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