A Think Tank that promotes the values of an open society

Dedicated young people and powerful decision-makers have several things in common – they do not accept things as they are, they are impatiently curious about what is waiting around the corner, and they are convinced they can change the world. The IYTT: International Youth Think Tank brings together young people in Europe with decision-makers from industry, academia, culture, politics, and civil society. These encounters allow the youth to convey their ideas and perspectives to those in power, promoting opportunities to shape a future in which they themselves can become leaders. IYTT also provides a supportive platform where young people can develop their projects and facilitate their collaborations, visions, and skills.

We are looking for enthusiastic 18–24 year-olds who are passionate about what they are doing. We strive for diversity, and hope to mobilize people with different employment and educational backgrounds, and from various European cities, suburbs, and rural settings.

The core of the project lies in being a fertile seedbed inspiring, training, and supporting young people in Europe to become democracy entrepreneurs. In 2019 and 2020, we carry out the pilot project. We are very grateful for requisite support during the pilot project process: KVVS-The Royal Society of Arts and Sciences in Gothenburg hosts the project, Global Business Gate provides planning means and office space, and our International Reference Group give advice.

A fundamental milestone during the pilot project was to organize our first youth conference on November 11-14, 2019, sponsored by the European Commission Representation in Sweden, the City of Gothenburg, and Region Västra Götaland. From 199 applicants from 31 countries, we selected 32 individuals (18 women, 14 men) from 17 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, France (2), Germany (4), Greece (4), Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Palestine, Poland (2), Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain (2), Sweden (3), and the United Kingdom (5). The conference concluded with a preliminary report and public presentation of ten proposals for strengthening an open and democratic society. Read more about this here.

Demonstrating strong cohesion, work ability, and loyalty to the project, the conference participants, three months after the conference, collaborated online to develop the preliminary report into a completed and final report entitled Towards an Open Society.

We launched the final report on 21 February at a public seminar, On the Threshold of a New Decade of European Democracy. Reference group members Cecilia Malmström, Susan E. Owens, and Anna Terrón Cusí contributed as panelists chaired by Swedish PEN chair Jesper Bengtsson.

Entrusted with real-world challenges, treated as equals, expected to deliver tangible proposals, and taking comments from executives, the first group of democracy entrepreneurs have proved the establishing of a unique method. The goal is now to go from pilot to full project, by propelling a second, third, and fourth group of democracy entrepreneurs. The approach is to organize annual youth conferences, and thereafter activate the participants as Youth Fellows.

Through various skills-enhancing activities, the Youth Fellows will be trained and inspired, competence-promoted for their coming careers, and will represent IYTT in established partnerships, rallying new partners and sharing IYTT’s ideas as well as contributing new ideas to IYTT. We will invite those who turn 25 years old to stay involved as Associate Fellows entrusted with mentoring younger Youth Fellows, disseminating think tank news, and other activities to help support our community.