Last week, the youth of Aalborg, both Danish and international, gathered in Gammeltorv Square – renamed Demo Square for the event – to take a hard look at how the future is unfolding ahead of them.
Confronted by today's harsh realities – high youth unemployment, low societal participation, prospect of being recruited in the army, a higher incidence of natural disasters and a huge influx of people into Europe – participants were challenged to take a stand and think about how they can avoid becoming the “lost generation”.
A mix of local and international youths turned Gammeltorv into Demo Square. Photo: Europaeisk Ungdom Nordjylland
By using the concept of “direct democracy”, or the original Athenian model, the youth got a taste of how to influence society without being part of the ruling elite.
Lubricated by a delicious soup that highlighted the problem of food waste by using vegetables set to be destroyed, the youth got courageous and, one by one, took the speaker's corner.
Motivated by the democracy speech delivered by Aalborg Mayor Thomas Kastrup-Larsen, participants brainstormed ideas and solutions to current crises.
Participants were served soup made from vegetables that would have otherwise gone to waste. Photo: Europaeisk Ungdom Nordjylland
Energized by inspiring tunes from Aalborg Student Radio, the youth gathered all the widely accepted ideas into the following pledge for the future, written by Monika Elend, vice president of Europaeisk Ungdom Nordjylland:
“Democracy has lost its vitality. Citizens across the continent have lost their trust in the democratic process which manifests itself through crises in democratic participation. We, through our actions, want to restore that trust and rebuild an active and participatory society as a base for a stronger Europe that is able to rise to the challenges of today's world.
We, the youth of Aalborg, pledge to actively protect the European project of peace. We want to live in a free and democratic Europe based on cooperation between nations where wars are only part of our history and do not take part in our future. Having the fate of our world close to our hearts we encourage the leaders to take concrete actions to tackle the threats and preserve the health of our planet for next generations.
We acknowledge the fact that in the hands of the youth across Europe lies the future of us all, thus the youth needs to be equipped with the tools and possibilities to ensure smooth transition from education to the job market, and secure Europe's development.
We believe in a world where well-being of people is most important therefore we will not turn our backs on human suffering and actively encourage governments to help those who are in need regardless their religion and culture.”
The demo square event was organized by Europaeisk Ungdom Nordjylland in cooperation with Aalborg Bibliotekerne, Aalborg Student Radio, Fotex and IUVENIS and this article was written by Europaeisk Ungdom Nordjylland.
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