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Think Tank project investigates the challenges faced by democracy

The International Youth Think Tank was founded in 2018 by Cecilia Malmström, former EU Commissioner, and Urban Strandberg, Senior Lecturer in Political Science, with the aim of promoting the development of a democracy movement among young people in Europe aged between 18 and 24. The initiative is being funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation from 2021 to 2023 and, at the same time, this important project is moving to Lindholmen Science Park where it will be part of the growing Medier & demokrati programme.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Youth Conference (IYC) 2020 was held online and broadcast from the Visual Arena Lindholmen. A total of 24 young people took part who had been selected from among 218 applicants from 38 countries.

Over the last two years, young people have been invited by means of open calls for proposals to apply to attend the week-long International Youth Conferences (IYC). These are moderated events which helps to ensure that they are well-informed, provide equal opportunities and work effectively towards their goals. Decision-makers and academics who act as inspirational speakers and commentators also attend. The next conference is planned for 13-16 September 2021 and will take place at Lindholmen Science Park.

– Bringing together young people, decision-makers and high-profile professionals from industry, the academic world, the cultural sector, politics and civil society is a cornerstone of our working method. Lindholmen Science Park will be a very attractive environment for the Think Tank's young members. Our preliminary study has shown that our method is successful and has emphasised how much all the parties appreciate being able to meet and discuss future challenges, says the founder and project leader Urban Strandberg.

The task of the conference was to identify the challenges faced by an open democratic society and to produce proposals for overcoming these challenges. The proposals are developed and finalised during the course of a fine-tuning process known as the IYTT Bottom-Up Policy Advice Loop. Local study groups introduce the proposals to a wider audience and the final result is a series of policy briefs which are published on IYTT's website and presented at open seminars.

During the next three-year period, the intention is for the project to develop other activities and initiatives for spreading ideas and training the young participants to take on the role of democracy entrepreneurs.

– Lindholmen Science Park will also be a very fertile platform where the Think Tank can develop collaborations and partnerships. We are really looking forward to contributing to Lindholmen's activities and networks and, most importantly, to working closely with the Medier & demokrati programme, says Urban Strandberg.

Find out more at: www.iythinktank.com

Facts:

During 2019 and 2020, the project took the form of a preliminary study funded by Global Business Gate and was located at the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences (KVVS) in Gothenburg. IYC2019 was held at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre in Gothenburg and was attended by 31 young people from the same number of countries who were chosen from among 199 applicants. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Youth Conference (IYC) 2020 was held online and broadcast from the Visual Arena Lindholmen. A total of 24 young people took part who had been selected from among 218 applicants from 38 countries. The conference was supported by the Swedish representation at the EU Commission, the City of Gothenburg and Region Västra Götaland.