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Empowering Local Youth Councils: Reflections on a Seminar in Strasbourg

Between the 26th and the 30th of June, Shaun Busuttil, a dedicated youth worker at Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, participated in a thought-provoking seminar entitled “The Role of Local Youth Councils in Strengthening Democracy” held at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg.

The seminar aimed to foster a supportive environment for learning and exchanging experiences among diverse local youth councils across Europe. It sought to develop proposals that would further enhance local youth participation, benefiting both local authorities and the youth sector of the Council of Europe.

The program commenced with ice-breaking activities on Monday evening, followed by a focused session on understanding the seminar’s aims, objectives, and methodology. Participants engaged in group work, sharing their expectations and gaining a deeper understanding of the Council of Europe Youth Department’s role in revitalizing democracy. Afternoon activities centered on exploring local youth participation, where participants presented their respective realities, highlighting both successful practices and challenges they face. The day concluded with a group evaluation, encouraging active reflection.

Wednesday morning provided insights into independent youth-led youth councils through an engaging role-playing game, allowing participants to assume various stakeholder roles within their municipalities. In the afternoon, participants actively participated in workshops, including one titled “Enter,” which emphasized engaging young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The day culminated with “Open Spaces,” where participants shared good practices through small group discussions.

On Thursday, participants delved into understanding how the Council of Europe supports local youth participation through its various structures, exploring past campaigns and activities focused on human rights. During the afternoon, participants collaborated in groups, drafting three proposals each around specific themes aimed at strengthening local youth councils. These proposals were later presented in the plenary session, fostering a collaborative atmosphere. The seminar concluded with a final evaluation, recognizing the achievements made.

Through peer learning and mutual sharing, “The Role of Local Youth Councils in Strengthening Democracy” successfully established a dynamic working group comprising professionals and local youth organizations. Together, they embody the true values of democracy, paving the way for further empowerment and participation among young people at the local level.


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