INVITATION: Presentation & Discussion #GEOYOUTH2020 – Manifesto Engaging Youth in Politics in Georgia
21 October 2020, 18:30
@ Berliner Landeszentrale für politische Bildung & via ZOOM
Polis180 and the Georgian Institute of Politics seek to empower Georgia’s youth to voice their positions in the 2020 parliamentary elections campaign – across party lines. In a participatory process, we produced a Youth Manifesto which was handed over to competing political parties in Tbilisi in September, asking them to include youth perspectives in their programs and campaigning. In this way, the project brings together “traditional” youth work with the grassroots think tank approach of Polis180. The process and results will be presented and discussed with civil society representatives and politicians in an interactive hybrid format, followed by a reception.
In democratic societies, youth plays a crucial role in the social and economic development of a country. While new innovative forms of civil activism have emerged in Georgia, youth political engagement remains a challenge. Multiple international studies conducted in Georgia suggest that the youth are not actively engaged in civic life. Often, they are politically indifferent and passive in political and civil realms. In most cases, the low political engagement of young people is the result of a lack of awareness about their civil rights and duties. More importantly the existing stereotypes and polarized environment in the country negatively impact youth political engagement. There is a lack of trust among young people towards politicians and political institutions as it is common knowledge is that the state does not adequately perceive the interests of young people.
The manifesto was prepared within the framework of the project #GEOYOUTH2020 – “Engaging Youth in Politics in Georgia”. The initiative brought together more than 150 participants across Georgia who came together in regional summit to discuss the challenges hindering youth participation in politics, and seek for solutions to the identified issues. To ensure inclusivity, involving youth from ethnic minority backgrounds and from the regions which are mostly settled by ethnic minority groups was important.
During the regional summits, nine main challenges were identified which hinder young people’s political participation in Georgia. The Manifesto is structured according to the challenges, followed by the solutions suggested by project participants. The Manifesto reflects the discussions held by the youth and their vision for increasing political participation of young people in Georgia.
The information included in the “Youth Manifesto” aims to inform decision-makers about challenges related to engaging young people in politics. It was presented to party leaders in Tbilisi ahead of the 2020 parliamentary elections and offers an opportunity for political parties to learn about the challenges faced by young people in Georgia.
18:30-18:45 Welcoming Remarks
18:45-19:00 Presentation MANIFESTO & Process
19:00-19:15 Video Testimonies of participants and supporters: Ambassador Levan Izoria (Embassy of Georgia to the Federal Republic of Germany), Ambassador Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth (Special Representative for the Eastern Partnership at the German Federal Foreign Office) Paulina Fröhlich (Das Progressive Zentrum), Esther Kern (Polis180), Givi Silagadze (GIP), Cristina Bacalso (Research Consultant & Trainer), Dr. Khatia Kikalishvili (LibMod)
19:15-19:30 Live Feedback from invited experts:
- Immanuel Benz, Referat 501 – Youth Strategy, Independent Youth Politcy, German Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
- Claire Saillour, Coordinator of the 2019 European election campaign “jung&wählerisch” seeking to foster youth participation in German European politics, Polis180
19:30-20:15 Open Discussion
20:15-21:00 Reception with Georgian Food and Mineral Water
The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office in the framework of the programme “Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia”.