Empowering Youth Participation in Democratic Life: Insights from the New Power in Youth Cross-Sectoral Forum, November 2023, Jūrmala, Latvia

27 February 2024

Group photo

Credits: New Power in Youth Strategic Partnership

In November 2023, Jūrmala – Latvia, hosted a significant Forum as part of the New Power in Youth Strategic Partnership. As the title suggests, the Forum focused on supporting youth participation in democratic life through cross-sectoral cooperation. It brought together perspectives and expertise from both formal and non-formal sectors, from Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia and the Western Balkans.

The Cross-Sectoral Forum on Youth Participation in Democratic Life is part of the New Power in Youth Strategic Partnership between several National Agencies for Ersamus+ and European Solidarity Corps. It featured interactive sessions and inspirational presentations on the role of youth across different sectors. A central focus was on developing strategies for cross-sectoral collaboration between youth participation and civic education stakeholders, underlined by a commitment to sharing best practices for youth engagement in all walks of life.

The Forum served as a dynamic learning and exchange space contributing to:

  • a shared understanding of youth participation in both formal and non-formal sectors
  • a platform for mutual learning, encompassing practices connected to school and civic education, citizenship, and the youth work sector
  • identifying key competences necessary for cross-sectoral cooperation
  • inspiring professionals to explore partnership opportunities, particularly within the Erasmus+ Programme framework.
  • Ivo Visak, a participant from Estonia, shared his positive experience at the forum. With a background in youth democracy and education, Ivo found the Forum’s cross-sectoral approach highly relevant. He appreciated the networking opportunities and insightful discussions, which helped him reframe his mindset and stay updated in the field. As a school principal, Ivo values youth civic engagement and sees it as crucial for personal development and democracy. He highlighted Erasmus+ as a valuable tool for testing grassroots ideas and promoting international cooperation.

    Testimonial of Ivo Visak (School principal, Estonia): https://youtu.be/U0hqeslkClY

The Latvian National Agency – Jaunatnes Starptautisko Programmu Aģentūra played a crucial role in facilitating this event, ensuring inclusive participation and addressing the diverse needs of attendees. The Forum also examined varied European approaches to youth participation and civic education, starting with experiences from Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, and the Western Balkan countries. Topics addressed included the interaction between youth participation and civic education, new forms of youth engagement, cross-sectoral cooperation between youth work and school education, and competencies for effective cross-sector collaboration.

  • Ilze Jece, a facilitator at the Jūrmala Forum, expressed her enthusiasm about the event. She highlighted the forum’s role in fostering cross-sectoral cooperation and bringing together teachers, youth workers, and other professionals for meaningful networking and knowledge exchange. Ilze emphasised the importance of such gatherings in addressing global challenges like climate change and youth mental health, and in promoting critical thinking and action among young people. She also shared her personal journey, influenced by European programs, stressing the significance of personal connections and handling conflicting values in today’s polarized society. Her experience at the Forum left her inspired, valuing the temporary yet essential community formed during such events.

    Testimonial of Ilze Jece (Forum Facilitator, Latvia): https://youtu.be/4qW-lqHK1M4

The Forum concluded with a strong call to action, highlighting the critical role of youth in shaping democratic processes and the necessity for shared understanding and strategic collaboration across sectors. The full report on the Forum offers detailed insights and strategies for enhancing youth participation in democratic life and is recommended for a comprehensive understanding of these discussions and outcomes. For those interested in delving deeper into the Forum’s discussions and insights, all sessions and interviews are available on YouTube – an excellent opportunity to explore the event’s rich content and gain further insights into the topic.

This event was hosted by the Latvian National Agency – Jaunatnes Starptautisko Programmu Aģentūra, a member of the New Power in Youth Strategic Partnership.


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New Power in Youth Strategic Partnership (NPiY)

New Power in Youth is a Strategic Partnership between National Agencies for Erasmus+ & European Solidarity Corps and SALTO Resource Centres. Its main aim is to foster youth participation in democratic life and it contributes to three specific objectives: 1)Introducing Erasmus+ & ESC Youth Participation Strategy and supporting youth participation projects through E+ & ESC programmes; 2) Supporting the strategic development of youth participation in democratic life on local, national and European levels; 3) Enhancing the partnership between the non-formal and formal education sectors in order to better support youth participation in democratic life.