Mars 24

Receiving a three-year award from the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg foundation!

In late 2018 the former EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and I founded the IYTT to promote a democracy movement among 18- to 24-year-olds in Europe, to stand up for the values ​​of an open democratic society. By open calls, young people are invited to apply for annual week-long IYCs-International Youth Conferences. The conferences are structured and moderated to ensure informed, equal, emancipatory, and goal-oriented discussions among the youth. Decision makers, high-profile professionals, and scholars are invited as lecturers and commentators for mutual inspiration and learning.

Within the inaugural IYC2019 at the Swedish Exhibition Center in Gothenburg, 31 young people selected from 199 applicants from 31 countries participated. IYC2020 was supposed to have been held at Visual Arena Lindholmen in Gothenburg but was turned to Zoom due to Corona and included 24 participants who were selected from 218 applicants from 38 countries. After the conferences are participants welcomed to stay engaged in the think tank as Youth Fellows.

Conference applicants who are not among the selected few for the conferences, are welcomed to engage by being part of the IYTT European Youth Network, and the IYTT European Youth Panel, which today include 139 respectively 124 individuals from 28 countries.

The task of the conferences is to single out challenges for the open democratic society and to develop policy proposals for dealing with the challenges. After the conferences, the proposals are  developed in the “IYTT Bottom-Up Policy Advise Loop”. Through the loop the Youth Fellows learn and develop their policy proposals by open deliberations with decision makers, scholars, peers in the IYTT European Youth Panel, and laymen.

Commissioned research overviews reveal the state of knowledge with relevance to the policy proposals. In dialogue with the commissioned scholars, the Youth Fellows contribute to the focus, delimitation, and reporting of the research overviews in the form of working papers.

Based on the working papers, the Youth Fellows develop their original policy proposals into draft policy briefs. Embedding the core ideas of the policy drafts in another layer, we then bring in additional ideas from the IYTT European Youth Panel. To finally give the proposals a broader popular embeddedness, the Youth Fellows organize local study circles around Europe to which laymen and peers are invited to discuss the proposals of the policy briefs drafts. The ending result is policy briefs which are published on the IYTT’s website and presented in open seminars and the (upcoming) IYTT podcast.

The first policy advise loop is currently running. American postdoc Jon Geib addresses one of the policy proposals from IYC2019: “Reviving the Democratic Tree. Enhancing Participation and Accountability of our Leaders”, focusing the proposal’s ideas on promoting participation through local assemblies and on promoting accountability through national civic committees.

A second policy advise loop has recently started. British research fellow Joshua Habgood-Coote will address one of the policy proposals from IYC2020: “A Global Charter for Truth”, focusing the proposal’s ideas on internationally granted journalistic immunity, trademarking to hold companies accountable for the information they distribute, and clarification and transparency on the data ownership as well as de-commodification of users by tech companies.

In the light of the above, the recently awarded grant from the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation covering the three-year period 2021–2023, comes as a very welcome and timely acknowledgement of our efforts and early achievements, and provides stability and requirements to realize the full potential of the IYTT.

That the dynamic Lindholmen Science Park has invited us lends further strength to the coming years’ developments of activities and events. Since bringing together business, public interests, and academia to create an inspiring and future arena with an international outlook, in its core structure and activities, Lindholmen Science Park will be an ideal place for IYTT to thrive.

We will soon open the call for IYC2021 which will run from November 22 thru 25, and in early fall we plan to inaugurate tri-weekly public lunch events at Lindholmen.