We are currently awaiting the announcement of the theme for Structured Dialogue for the next cycle of presidencies. We plan to continue to consult with young peopel across Ireland on the theme and to bring our voices to the relevant decision makers. As part of this process, we want to set up a database of young people aged 15 -30yrs who would like to informed of relevant meetings, consultations and opportunities. This can be people who have already participated in the Structured Dialogue process or people who want to get involved now and find out more. If you are interested in being on this database, please send your name, address, age and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
EU Youth Conference in Luxembourg September 2015
Three young delegates who were selected following our July meeting in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, are currently atttending the EU Youth Conference in Luxembourg. The three young people, Vanessa, Colm and Joe will be participating in workshops and plenary discussions along with representatives of the relevant Government Departments from EU countries and members of the European Youth Forum. On their return to Ireland we will write up the final recommendations relating to young people and political empowerment and we will begin the process of lobbying to make some real changes for young people in this area.
Young Voices – Ideas to Action Event: Part 2
The National Youth Council of Ireland and the DCYA ran an event for young people, aged 15-30 years, who want to be more involved in shaping society! On July 23rd 35 young people along with decision makers met in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin.
The day was an opportunity for youth leaders/youth workers to share their views on Empowerment for Political Participation. This is part of the current European Structured Dialogue process that is taking place across Europe, giving young people and youth organisations an opportunity to influence decisions affecting their lives.
The group prioritised four key areas for discussion and these were:
Increasing synergies and co-operation between different actors
strengthening the role of youth work for political empowerment of young people
developing youth friendly tools for political participation
involving young people in decision making.
The feedback from this consultation will form the basis for the Irish input to the EU Youth Conference in September in Luxembourg. 3 Young people from this event were selected to represent Ireland at the EU Youth Conference in Luxembourg in September. The three young people are: Vanessa Mulhall, Joseph Munnelly and Colm O’Rourke.
Young Voices – Ideas to Action Event – Report from April 25th
This is part of the current European Structured Dialogue process that is taking place across Europe, giving young people 15-30yrs and youth organisations an opportunity to influence decisions affecting their lives.
Youth Empowerment for Political Participation – ‘Ideas to Action’ event. On Saturday April 25th, 30 people attended a meeting in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin to discuss and debate the recommendations from the EU Youth Conference as to how we can empower young people and improve political participation in Ireland.
Recommendations were made around how to involve more young people in decision making processes and how to engage more young people in dialogue with policy makers. The findings from the day were then reported on to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in advance of his Policy Meeting in Brussels with other Youth Ministers from around Europe.
We are now planning a follow up event to progress these recommendations further and to try to effect real change in this area for young people in Ireland.
How can young people be more involved in shaping society?
Young people across Europe are having important conversations about Youth Empowerment and Politicial Participation in 2015.
“Youth Empowerment for Political Participation”, European Structured Dialogue Cycle 4
At first look it might seem like the title of an important lecture in a Political Science course at University? For us it was more like a challenge you might see in the tv show ‘The Apprentice’, “here is your topic, now go and see if you can young people involved!”.
In fact this was the theme that would be discussed by young people across the EU Member States during the Trio Presidencies of Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg.
In Ireland this work falls under the ‘Young Voices’ heading and for us this was about “how can young people be more involved in shaping society”. So, in July 2014 it was game on!
One should never underestimate the importance of the start point for a project like this and for us it was about our “belief”. We believed that young people should be more involved in political participation and we believed that young people wanted to be more involved in political participation! After this our focus was about designing a process or creating a journey that would give young people an authentic experience of participation whereby they could join the journey at any point and be able to look back on the road travelled and look forward to the next destination.
The vehicle that would take us on this journey was Key Action 3 (KA3) Support for Policy Reform. Essentially the funding from KA3 gives us an opportunity to support the conversations that need to happen between young people and policy makers in order to build momentum for positive change.
So, as we head into the last six month leg of this eighteen month journey of the Trio, what has happened? Is it worth sharing? Is it relevant to International Youth Day?!! Let’s see….
In September 2014 we needed three young Irish people to represent us at the EU Youth Conference in Rome. We put out the call and selected three fantastic young people who travelled to Rome in October, met with their counterparts from across the EU along with Policy Makers. They did an important piece of work, they decided “what questions do we actually need to be asking young people if we want to support “empowerment for political participation”.
Between November and December we did a Red C Poll which asked 400 young people throughout Ireland what their views were on empowerment and political participation. This was good stuff because it gave us a fantastic insight into the variety of views and perceptions in this moment in time.
We took the mind blowing feedback from the Opinion Poll, combined that with the key questions from the EU Youth Conference in Rome and we hit the road in Ireland, visiting young people, students and youth groups to hold Focus Groups. We asked the questions, and they gave the answers! We asked about Education, increasing trust with decision makers, joint policy making, youth work, inclusion & diversity, creativity….
What did we do with the answers? We shared them with Irish Policy makers and then created a report which we handed over to the next three Youth Delegates that would represent Ireland at the EU Youth Conference in Riga in March 2015.
The guys came back from Riga after some hard work with a set of Recommendations! A total of seven recommendations, with two parts for each!! This was indeed the combined thinking of all of the young people who had been involved in all of the conversations across all of the EU! Not bad going when you think about it!
So, a set of European Recommendations to help us promote Youth Empowerment for Political Participation! What would the youth of Ireland think of these? There was only one way to find out! Ask them!
We held two meetings in Dublin and invited young people to travel from anywhere in Ireland (remember the KA3 funding, it supports this!) and rejoin the journey or join the journey. The first meeting in April was quite important because we wanted to “unpack Riga” but we were also invited to support the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs who was heading to a High Level Ministerial Debate in May and wanted us to share our feedback from the Riga Recommendations. An intense day in Dublin gave us a brilliant insight into young peoples thinking on the proposed recommendations and how they might work in the Irish context. At that meeting we agreed to meet again so that we could prioritise a number of recommendations for Ireland.
We met again in July with no evidence of summer cobwebs in the critical thinking minds of young people in Ireland! We used the Edward De Bono Thinking Hats to support our work throughout the day and ultimately the young people took the informed decision of choosing the following four priority areas which they believe will support Youth Empowerment for Political Participation in Ireland. We will send our three new delegates to the EU Youth Conference in Luxembourg this September with these priorities and we hope that they will come home with a roadmap for implementing the actions that are needed to deliver on the proposals!
Increasing Synergies and cooperation between different actors
Involving young people in decision making
Strengthening the role of youth work for the political empowerment of all young people
Developing youth friendly tools for political participation
What we have achieved here is a fascinating process that may seem complex in its architecture but what we can say without question is that young people are woven into every stage of the journey in a conscious and consistent way, because we believe…
Dermot O’Brien – Structured Dialogue Project Officer, National Youth Council of Ireland