Each October 18th the WYMD network and partnering organizations mark the World Youth Democracy Day. The day was established in order to emphasise youth contribution in building and preserving democracies. Each year, it is celebrated globally and participants and supporters of the WYMD cause are given the opportunity to create live or online events, and have their events featured with the international community.
The aim of the World Youth Democracy Day is to raise awareness and inspire active youth participation in democratization and promoting youth involvement and participation in politics and policy-making processes.
World Youth Day for Democracy themes
The New Face of Democracy
World Youth Day for Democracy On October 18th we mark the World Youth Day for Democracy (WYDD), a day dedicated to supporting youth participation in democratic processes around the globe. The World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) has set this year’s topic of WYDD to be democracy renewal, under the slogan The New Face of Democracy. The new face of democracy is not the face of an individual, or that of a single activist. It is the face of democracy itself – the new perspectives, narratives and ideas that will help renew it. We are opening the discussion on new approaches, platforms, perspectives of democracy and what democratic practices should look like around the world. It is with these efforts that we wish to promote democracy renewal, and help protect against democracy misuse. With this theme we express our enduring support for activists and human rights defenders around the globe, who are fighting for a democratic renewal, giving it a new, stronger identity. Will you support democracy renewal? Join us on October 18th as we stand united in working towards better and stronger democratic governance.
Happy World Youth Day for Democracy!
Since 2004, every October 18th we mark the World Youth Day for Democracy (WYDD), global opportunity to commemorate and celebrate youth contribution to build and protect democracies around the globe.
Over half of the global population is under 30 years old. Still, only two percent of world parliament members are under that threshold. One of the reasons for this devastating level of participation is that 73% restrict youth from running for parliament elections. Other factors lie in cultural perception of youth, lack of political education and youth policies.
Having that in mind, World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) has set this year’s topic of WYDD to be youth participation, under the theme Youth Now. That way we express our need and desire to be part of our societies in present, and reject idea of youth as a future.
On this day we support young human right defenders around the globe, urge them to act, and express our solidarity with those in danger by repressive regimes.
We are calling governments and international organizations to also act, open themselves to intergenerational dialogue, hear youth voices and act accordingly with them.
Democracy can only be achieved and preserved with respect and participation of all social groups. So join us, and express your support to youth.
Happy World Youth Day for Democracy!
Statement on the Commemoration of World Youth Day for Democracy, October 18
The World Youth Movement for Democracy joins millions of young democracy activists across the world in celebrating and commemorating the World Youth Day for Democracy. Under the theme: Ignite Change, this year’s celebrations are of a special significance. They occur in a year when the world has seen tremendous acts of courage, creativity, and commitment by young people in pushing a democratization agenda in several countries, including in some of the world’s most difficult political systems. Young people have continued to thrust themselves into the strategic lead for democratic initiatives across sectors, communities, and countries.
October 18 is a day especially dedicated for young people, their organizations, and the efforts they, as youth, do to promote and support democracy, human rights, and justice. In commemorating this day, young democracy activists are calling on the international community to recognize the role young people play in pushing for democracy where it does not exist, and consolidating it, where it exists. It is a day to bring to the spotlight the importance of non-violent and peaceful initiatives that young people continue to employ in ‘igniting change’.
The 2011 theme: ‘Ignite Change’, puts to the fore the immense possibilities for change when individual acts are organized to make a collective impact on society at large. Even seemingly minor actions when systematically and deliberately taken can grow into movements that change the course of history. Young people are taking to Mahatma Ghandhi’s seminal truth to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’.
This is what we see in young people today. Many youth around the world – students, community organizers, thought leaders, bloggers, entrepreneurs – become activists when they contribute to changing our societies. The desire to see change, and their acting upon it, turns them into active citizens. This can translate into young people engaging in conversations about justice with fellow peers, encouraging community members to take part in neighbourhood cleanups, posting and sharing thoughts on blogs and Facebook pages or, writing songs expressing frustrations and desires for freedom. These acts, and many others – no matter how insignificant they may seem – represent a strong sense of responsibility. It is this ability to link and frame individual responses into collective actions that ‘ignites change.’
However, instead of these efforts by young people in promoting democracy being honored and celebrated, we also note with contempt how some societies and governments have increased their repression. Arbitrary arrests, torture, expulsion from schools and colleges, rape, harassment, and other acts of intimidation continue to be employed to hinder the efforts of young activists. Activists in these circumstances deserve our full solidarity, and as the World Youth Movement for Democracy, we commit to increase efforts to defend and support those at risk.
October 18 is our day. And we celebrate and commemorate how, we, young people, continue to ‘Ignite Change’ in our communities, countries, and the world for a better tomorrow.
Express. Engage. Empower.
Statement: 2013 World Youth Day for Democracy Celebrates Freedom of Expression
October 18, 2013
The World Youth Movement for Democracy invites you to join us in celebrating the 2013 World Youth Day for Democracy. Annually on October 18, groups and individuals from all around the world come together to recognize the role of youth in building stronger democracies. Through a variety of activities, this year’s commemorations are being held under the theme of “Express. Engage. Empower.” These activities will involve thousands of young people and will take place in over a dozen countries. For example, in Serbia, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights is organizing a day of public dialogues on freedom of expression. In Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Organization for Youth in Politics will bring young people together for celebrations to include poetry and drama. As youth, we are united in the strong belief that the right to freedom of expression is essential to any democracy.
Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” This freedom should be protected by all governments, and should be exercised by citizens regularly. Unfortunately, whether through censorship or other forms of suppression, violations of this right have been witnessed in many parts of the world. In these challenging environments, young people have fallen victim to persecution for using their voices. Today, we remind those individuals that they are not forgotten, and that we commend their courage to express themselves. Furthermore, we stand behind all people actively engaged in sharing, through traditional and creative means, their ideas and opinions for a better global society.
We thus acknowledge that progress has never been achieved through silence, and change has never been won through complacency. Young people, in particular, should seek to make their voices heard through a variety of avenues. Whether as a journalist, a blogger, a student, an activist, an artist, or a voter, it is imperative to express one’s views. Expression not only allows us to appreciate the diversity of the world, but to interact with those who agree or disagree with us. On this World Youth Day for Democracy, therefore, we encourage young people everywhere to express themselves, engage their communities, and empower one another.
Claim the future
On this World Youth Day for Democracy, we wished to send out a message of inspiration to all youth activists – to incite them to take initiative and claim spaces unafraid, and to actively participate in policy making and political processes in their communities.
Recognizing Young Activists at Risk
To raise awareness on challenges confronting young democracy activists, we are marking this year’s Day under the theme: Recognizing Young Activists at Risk.
In particular, we want to draw the world’s attention to the plight of young people who have been detained, or who face possible detention because of their activism. In countries such as Cuba, Burma, Iran, Egypt and Zimbabwe, detention is used by the countries’ regimes to intimidate and punish young activists. These young people and their movements demand our support.
To celebrate this important day for young democracy activists, the World Youth Movement for Democracy wishes to recognize courageous efforts of young people across the world and to reiterate essential values that youth contribute to the public sphere. October 18 is a day when young democracy activists commemorate and celebrate their role in fighting for and strengthening democracy.
Their contributions go beyond addressing youth-related issues; they help address issues of health, education, governance, economic development, and domestic and communal violence, all of which are relevant to greater communities. The Youth Movement aspires to greater participation of youth in policy making, public discussions, development planning, peace building, and other processes of advancing democracy.
This year, 12,000 students all over Venezuela mobilized and helped register thousands more for local elections, which took place last month. Young people from Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Croatia, have developed a policy dialogue with European Union officials, addressing concerns about regional security, peace, and democracy-building process in their region. Over 4,000 Egyptian youth protested brutal violence by their government, police, and security officials after the police beat a 28-year-old young man to death in July, and this protest pushed the government to respond by conducting an investigation of the case.
These young people and others around the world face daily challenges in repressive environments. In solidarity with those courageous youth activists, the World Youth Movement for Democracy and its members re-commit ourselves to providing support that young activists need, and ensuring greater youth participation in every political and social processes.
October 18th is World Youth Day for Democracy #WYDD16! This year’s theme is AMPLIFY! Many youth around the world are forced to live and carry out their activism in challenging and restrictive environments. However, with our collective voices, we can promote accountability, stand up for political prisoners, open up spaces for political participation, form polices, defend human rights, change our communities, and so much more!