As part of the Drive for Democracy, the Embassy in Vilnius has initiated a major project to host a series of Democracy Talks around the country in 2020. Ahead of the project, the Embassy has teamed up with Lithuania’s two largest youth organisations: LiJot, which is an umbrella organisation for 70 youth organisations in the country, and the Lithuanian School Students’ Union, which represents 540 schools.
To initiate the project, a Democracy Talks Kick-off was held on 21 January at the Embassy with representatives from the two youth organisations at national and regional level, and a few younger representatives from relevant civil society organisations. The aim of the discussions were to raise the most urgent democratic challenges facing young people in Lithuania, which the upcoming Democracy Talks will focus on.
One conclusion from the talks was that the word ‘democracy’ is seen as abstract and that many young people are not aware of the opportunities available for involvement and influence. It was also noted that civil society organisations often have difficulty reaching young people regionally. Based on the discussions, it is believed that the project can function as a bridge and offer opportunities for increased engagement of young people in Lithuania.
At the moment, the Embassy and the youth organisations are busy developing the programmes for the remaining Democracy Talks that are to be held during the year. Swedish guest speakers and a number of Lithuanian civil society organisations are also involved. The proposed themes for the upcoming Democracy Talks are: what democracy means for young people in their everyday lives; the role of schools; differences between urban and rural areas; inclusion of minorities and anti-discrimination; young people’s relationship with political parties and parliament; the changing role of the media; and sustainability and the climate.