‘Political participation of younger people is not a wish but a necessity’
At the Berlin Demography Days, international experts from science, politics and society discussed the perspectives and participation of younger people in Germany, Europe and around the globe.
‘The relationship between the generations and their perspectives will only improve if we engage ourselves. For that reason, my appeal to the young: Get involved!’ With this plea, former German Vice-Chancellor Franz Müntefering opened the Berlin Demography Days. This year’s event explored how political and social participation of younger people can be effective, what moves them and how they can be better supported when facing crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 16 to 18 May, more than 50 international experts from politics, science and society discussed the perspectives of younger people in Germany, Europe and around the globe, including Klaus Hurrelmann, Professor of Health and Education at the Hertie School, Shireen Jejeebhoi, Director of the Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing in Mumbai, and Verlee Miranda, Senior Economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Representatives of youth organisations also took part in the panels: ‘We are experiencing great challenges and we can only tackle them together,’ said Clara Föller, Federal Chair of the Young European Federalists. ‘Participation of younger people is not a wish, but a necessity, a matter of course, which we have to strengthen continuously.’
During the evening event on Monday, 16 May, students from six schools in Austria, France, Germany and Poland sat on the podium. They discussed with two demographers and the European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, whether it would make sense to lower the voting age, reported on how they had experienced the past two years, what plans they have for the future and what they expect from older generations.
Andreas Edel, Executive Secretary of Population Europe and one of the organisers of the event, is pleased with the outcome of the event: ‘The discussions have shown us how strongly the crises of recent years have etched themselves into younger people’s perspective of the future. We have to take these developments seriously and develop a “positive narrative”, as Georg Pirker from the Association of German Educational Organizations rightly demanded. Younger people must be involved in this discourse and deserve more trust, as was emphasised several times at the conference,’ he summarized.
The organisers of the event series are Diakonie Deutschland and Population Europe, the network of leading European research institutions in the field of population sciences. The Berlin Demography Days are organised in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community.
We are happy to arrange interviews for journalists with the following keynote speakers upon request:
• Jörg Tremmel, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Institute for Political Science
• Klaus Hurrelmann, Hertie School, Professor of Public Health and Education
• Ingrid Schoon, University College London, Professor of Human Development and Social Policy
• Nkechi Srodah Owoo, Senior Lecturer, University of Ghana, Department of Economics
• Akanni Ibukun Akinyemi, Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor of Demography and Social Statistics
Contact: Susanne Höb email@example.com