24 participants • 18–24-year-olds • 12 countries represented

Nationality: Polish

Present residency: Osielsko

Poland. Year of birth: 2001

“I believe that meeting such a diverse group of young people, especially in times of Covid isolation, will provide me with space to exchange our stories and find collective strength to tackle the challenges back home. As an unusually optimistic young Polish girl I will definitely ask countless questions about each participant’s unique story and past adventures in activism or their social work. Living in a country where democracy has been gradually undermined by the politicians, I am aware of how crucial building a strong civil society is. Fueled by the spirit of young Polish citizens, whom I organize multiple campaigns with, I will be trying to share the Polish ideals of solidarity and resilience in conversations about democracy in the modern world.”

Nationality: Slovene

Present residency: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Year of birth: 2000

“There is a saying in Slovene that roughly translates to ‘’The world depends on the young’’ and since we are the ones still optimistic and ‘’naïve’’ enough to fight for the change we want to see I find it quite applicable. I myself have always been very vocal about my opinion and beliefs and this conference gives me hope of converting those words into action and concretizing the shaping of our future. I especially look forward to meeting fellow participants and hope to get inspired and at the same time challenged by the people joining the conference and the valuable discussions that will develop. I hope to return to my home country full of enthusiasm and empowered, knowing we are part of a greater movement. Since a big part of my studies have been based on science, I hope to present the importance of unbiased science and its role in an open society. Moreover, I can contribute a personal view on the experiences of female, non-heteronormative youth and the challenges we face growing up in today’s so-called progressive society. Hopefully, this conference gives all of us the chance to present our ideas and improve today’s society, making it non-discriminatory and welcoming towards everyone.”

Nationality: German

Present residency: Konstanz, Germany

Year of birth: 2000

“I hope to gain a lot of new and different perspectives and inspirations by interacting with the other participants. I am very keen to get to know new people and hear their stories. With a team-sports background, I have learnt to value the synergy effects of teams and promote them. Having lived in Asia for more than ten years and experiencing different values and cultures, I hope to enrich the conference with challenging ideas and impulses.”

Nationalities: Italian and Colombian

Present residency: Salamanca, Spain

Year of birth: 1997

“Participating in this youth conference will allow me to develop my leadership, negotiation, and networking skills, which is quite relevant for my development as a young professional that tries to link academia with advocacy. With my multidisciplinary and international background, I will help developing innovative ideas that take into account the relevant position Europe has in an ever more complex geopolitical and economic world.”

Nationality: British

Present residency: London, England

Year of Birth: 2001

“This conference is a unique opportunity to interact with people from across Europe, developing new ideas and methods for promoting positive social change from the collective knowledge and experiences I will explore during this event. It will also be an incredible opportunity to speak on important issues in a more formal and less academically-oriented environment. I am keen to share insights from my experiences as a British Indian and a Londoner which I believe could be very different to many other participants at the conference. I enjoy engaging in discussions with people from all walks of life and look forward to meeting the other participants, as well as learning more about their backgrounds, experiences and views on issues. I have had the opportunity to work with people from various different backgrounds through many charitable, personal and professional initiatives. I believe that these experiences have equipped me with a broader and more detailed knowledge base of the multitude of issues people may be facing, which could in turn help to shape decisions regarding change. I also think that this will allow me to give certain social groups or issues which may otherwise be ignored or overlooked more of a platform in discussions at the conference.”

Nationality: German

Present Residence: Innsbruck, Austria

Year of birth: 1997

“The conference is the perfect place to learn about Europe: I am eager to get to know young people from other European countries since they have different perspectives on political and social challenges and on Europe. Learning from others always helps me to reflect on my situation and opinions. At the conference, I am looking forward to discussing with the other participant which will be great since we all want to strength our democratic future. Outside the official framework, I want to get to know the peers personally, it would be great to stay connected as friends afterwards and maybe start a project that will contribute to an open and sustainable future! As a geographer I know everything is related, current challenges like the climate change, diminishing democracies and social problems can only be solved hand in hand and we must do it united as European citizens. Therefore, I am happy to share my geographical knowledge and to push forward ideas for a better future.”

Nationality: Swedish

Present residency: Varberg, Sweden

Year of birth: 2001

“I believe that the key to growing as a person is to broaden your perspectives and open yourself up to others. I think that when we share our stories and go deeper into topics of conversation, we can create something great. Bringing my experiences of founding an impact-startup to the conference, combined with those of others, will hopefully provide an environment where new ideas can be spread and together with other young open-minded people, create engaging conversations that might turn in to revolutionary ideas for our society.”

Nationality: Polish

Present residency: Luboń, Poland

Year of birth: 2002

“By participating in the conference, I would be able to both share my valuable knowledge and insight regarding the democratic processes of the world, but also discover new perspectives of others. I would also improve my interpersonal skills, developing my ability to compromise on difficult issues. I would like to share my experience in the field of political engagement and offer advice to other participants on how to contribute to a positive social change, either on a local or international level. As I am particularly committed to fighting for the freedom of the press and freedom of speech, I am willing to advocate for these principles in the process of report making during the conference. Expressing one’s opinion freely constitutes a basis for every democratic society, and this must be protected and embraced both during and after the event by all of its participants.”

Nationality: British

Present residency: Liverpool, United Kingdom

Year of birth: 1999

 

“The IYTT conference will be a hugely rewarding experience in which I get the opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of people dedicated to creating a positive change. I am looking forward to being exposed to new perspectives that will lead me to challenge, refine and strengthen my own ideas on how to sustain and develop an open society. Socially, I am a naturally outgoing person who will seek out to build strong personal relationships with those who I work with. I think it is important to make sure views are shared respectfully, balanced with active listening, whilst working with the common interest of striving towards well represented solutions. I believe the most fundamental value of an open and democratic society is inclusivity. Inclusivity in the sense that all cleavages within society (class, race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc) have equal rights, opportunities, and agency, alongside proper representation in institutions of power. Without such, a society will continue to harbour painful inequalities that harm the wellbeing of many. My ideas for the conference therefore hold the value of inclusivity at their core.”

Nationality: Syrian

Present residency: Borås, Sweden

Year of birth: 1999

“Considering my aspiration to work on an international level I believe that the conference will permit me to develop experiences and apprehend the international society in a more informed way alongside with expanding my network.  In addition, encountering individuals from different backgrounds, stories and experiences will improve my knowledge and enhance my understanding of how complex and fascinating our world is. Resulting in an adequate citizen of a globalized planet. Having immigrated and lived in multiple places since the revolution started in my home country will allow me to share my experiences of what refugees have been through and how the immigration issue is an ongoing struggle in the western world.  Alongside that, I believe that sharing my identity as an Arab Muslim will also bring diversity to the conference. Coming from a country were dictatorship, corruption and injustices reign, and being fortunate enough to live in a peaceful, just and democratic country will bring a first-hand insight to the group regarding how valuable and crucial it is to aim to towards a democratized world.”

Nationality: Swedish

Present residency: Ljungby, Sweden

Year of birth: 1996

“I believe my participation in this conference will broaden my perspectives and deepen my knowledge about other viewpoints and opinions, which will be valuable in my professional and personal life. Moreover, I think this experience will improve my ability to express, formulate, and perfect my ideas, and at the same time expand my contact network. I hope to contribute to an engaging and constructive dialogue, where everyone has a chance to express their opinion and viewpoints. But I also hope to contribute to a sincere, friendly, and enjoyable experience, which I believe are the cornerstones for a productive and open-minded discussion.  My previous experiences, from my times abroad to my meetings with people from other cultures and backgrounds, have made me more aware how fragile democracy can be and important it is to continue to fight for democracy even in democratic societies. Therefore my contribution will be my curiosity and open-mindedness to other experiences and opinions, whilst bringing forward my ideas, thoughts, and visions for an open and democratic society, which are based on liberal values and international cooperation.”

Nationality: German

Present residency: Konstanz, Germany

Year of birth: 2000

“Taking part at the IYC will surely widen my horizon. It will let me come in touch with inspiring people and will broaden my picture of Europe. I will try to bring my knowledge, my experiences and my ideas into the discussions. And I want to learn more about the other participants, their experiences and points of view. My academic knowledge about politics and society, my creativity and my own values will help me to develop and enhance creative ideas and concepts for living in and as a democracy. “

Nationality: Swedish

Present residency: Gothenburg, Sweden

Year of Birth: 1999

“I believe that the conference will contribute enormously to my personal development since the dynamic environment and inspiring people surrounding me will help me gain different perspectives on important political issues and challenge my way of thinking. I aspire to make the most of this once in a lifetime-experience and I will not waste a single opportunity to get to know the rest of the participants. My great curiosity and excitement about attending this conference will show and hopefully I can contribute to breaking the ice and spreading smiles already on the first day. I will contribute to the conference with my ideas and values both from an academic perspective and from my personal experiences of living in Sweden, studying abroad, travelling and being politically active.”

Nationality: German

Present residency: Berlin, Germany

“Especially in times of a pandemic, during which most people have experienced social isolation, one realizes how important social interaction really is. I believe that the key to personal development is reflecting on what one experienced and sharing and comparing the experience with other people from different backgrounds. I cannot wait to meet new people from all over the world to exchange and discuss our ideas about the future of society. Only by actively engaging with other people you can understand their hopes, ideas, and concerns regarding the most pressing issues of society and thus create meaningful change. I firmly believe that it is essential to make the values of an open society inclusive to everyone living within it. As I have been living in multiple social contexts and learned a lot about different values and approaches to society, I hope to provide examples from my own experience and see my voice heard and confronted.”

Nationality: Portuguese

Present residency: Lisbon, Portugal

Year of birth: 1997

“During my Bachelor’s Degree I had the chance to learn about political philosophy, the decline of democracy and rise of populism. The rise of populism persuades people to believe that the “checks and balances” of democracy are a limit to their will, leading to our current time, in which liberal democracy is threatened by strong words and charismatic leaders. Europe needs to act fast and decisively with the support of its citizens and organisations! I believe we have to stand up for our values and work together with people and institutions that support them. So far I have been lucky, getting the chance, to put social impact ahead of profit and contribute toward causes I believe in, where everyone’s voice counts. As young Europeans we often feel underrepresented by the older generations who state ‘Young people are the future’, while we’re clearly the present, we have opinions and the right for these to be heard. The International Youth Think Tank 2020 will allow us to put our social innovative minds in to practice, make our voices heard, represent and create a field for others that don’t have the chance to advocate for themselves yet. — Overall contributing to an open society which exists and thrives by the existence of different opinions.”

Nationality: Italian

Present residency: Brescia, Italy

Year of Birth: 2000

“Development is all about changing your point of view. By getting to know people coming from diverse backgrounds, I’ll be able to look at the world with new eyes, find new solutions and think outside the box. Throughout the conference, I’ll keep my ears wide open. I will eagerly listen to everybody, regardless of our differences, because that’s what democracy is all about: openness. I will share my personal experience of democracy as I see it in my context, hoping it will give others a better understanding of the society of our times.”

Nationality: Swedish

Present residency: Gothenburg, Sweden

Year of birth: 1998

“Through participating in this conference, I will have the pleasure of collaborating with a diverse group of young people from different backgrounds and contexts. I am convinced the key to personal development is to be found in that kind of exchange. I will bring my skills as a team player to help foster a positive, inclusive, and productive atmosphere. Additionally, I will share my views on how to sustain the resilience of open society values. I am excited to see how we together will be able to bring about tangible ideas that will have a real impact on society.”

Nationality: German

Present residency: Passau, Germany

Year of birth: 2000

“I enjoy working together with other European youngsters and to develop fresh and innovative ideas on current problems. Thanks to my numerous international experiences I believe that this is the most efficient way to tackle European difficulties and I love to be a part of this process. I am an energetic and optimistic discussion partner who likes fair and balanced debates. So, with my leadership and moderating skills I want to make sure that every voice is heard equally and everybody feels comfortable and safe during our discussions and debates. For a democratic society it is essential that everyone has the same changes and possibilities to contribute to the society. This colourful picture of different human beings, different experiences and opinions makes a society or a group valuable and I hope that we can ensure this during the conference as well.”

Nationality: Bulgarian

Present residency: Maastricht, the Netherlands

Year of birth: 1996

“By participating in the conference, I will not only extend my current knowledge and understanding of democratic society but also develop on a personal level. Social learning, exchanging with other socially engaged young people and being allowed to voice my opinion will empower me and help me to broaden my horizons on a topic so relevant for the future. During the conference, I will bring my creativity, positivity and teamwork & leadership skills into action to facilitate a productive generation of innovative ideas in a pleasant atmosphere. With my international experience and background in Psychology and Learning & Development in Organisations, I can contribute with ideas on how to strengthen democracy by equipping the society with the skills of the future, increasing its sense of self and empowering it to voice up. I hope that by being a part of such a powerful movement, I will be able to make a significant change to a better future by taking as much as possible from the conference and planting it in my local community.”

Nationality: Portuguese

Present residency: Valongo, Portugal

Year of Birth: 1999

“The conference is composed of 25 participants from all over the world, the cultural environment by itself it’s of growing, being able to know and listen from people with completely different backgrounds opens up new perspectives, my views will become wider. The conference gonna benefit me deeply on a personal level because I will be surrounded by bright people with a lot of new ideas and opinions on open and democratic societies. I’m a very social and extrovert individual, I love to meet people and have discussions, especially when there are different points of view in certain aspects. I will try my best to meet everyone and be able to pass and receive knowledge. It’s important to refer that I am the type of person that tries to break the ice with jokes, and I might not succeed every time. I believe that everyone that applied to the conference already has some thoughts on open and democratic societies. I am no different, I have some concepts I would like to share with the other participants and see their opinion on the matters. I’ve been studying law for the past 3 years and studied democratic systems, plus I am a history lover and through history, you can clearly see the evolution of democracy and it’s importance in the world.”

Nationality: Italian

Present residency: Garbagnate Milanese, Italy

Year of birth: 1999

“It will be a great fortune for me to be able to confront the other 24 boys and girls in a diplomatic and respectful way, about different topics. It will also be very educational for me to be able to present my ideas live in English and to an audience that does not know me. I will contribute with my energy, creativity, and determination. I want people from different backgrounds and of different nationalities to interact. I would like to create a network between us 25 boys and girls to create a common project to continue at home. The primary aim is to involve citizens and young people from our respective countries in educational activities about the values of an open and democratic society. As far as ideas are concerned, I will bring several testimonies of the Italian reality. Values personified by people who are fighting in Italy for an open and democratic society.”

Nationality: Swedish

Present residency: Gothenburg, Sweden

Year of birth: 1996

“Through IYTT, I look forward to connecting with other European youth to together think critically and creatively about our role in promoting and protecting democracy in Europe. I hope our insights will inform my future approaches to both research and activism.
In the face of countless global tragedies, balancing optimism and critical thinking can be challenging, but I’m good at turning this balancing act into motivation and in this way I hope to inspire other participants. I have diverse experience with leading and following social and environmental movements and one of my skills that I can contribute is my ability to facilitate a translation of ideological ideas into tangible projects for bottom-up change.”

Nationality: Danish

Present residency: Gladsaxe, Denmark

Year of birth: 1998

“Taking part in the conference will impact my perspective of youth engagement from all around Europe. Graining insights into how youth engagement can be structured in the best possible way. With an eager to learn from other peoples stories I will approach with an openness to learn and understand where others are coming from. I am hoping to get new perspectives on how youth can collaborate across Europe, especially within topics and actions like climate change.”

Nationality: French

Present residency: London, England

Year of birth: 1998

“This conference will be the fortuitous sparkle of a network of 30ish young Europeans that will have to work together for days all day long. What will be learnt there is priceless and will set a strong foundation to mutual understanding. Thinking that European youth is monolithic is a fundamental error. In this sense, this conference is an opportunity to listen to young people from all walks of life, from all over Europe, and to grow out of these exchanges. I am a natural facilitator, I want make sure that our conversation is the most productive possible. Hence, a special attention I will pay to ensure that each and everyone of us can share their insight in a safe environment. I intimately believe that our social contract is reflected by the way the city is planned and designed. Thus, what an incredible tool we have at our disposal to reshape our communities to make them fairer, more inclusive and more democratic. I have dedicated almost a year of my life to reading and studying democracy and its implications on society (an conversely) through the lens of Law, Philosophy, Economics, Political Science and Sociology. Hopefully, I will be add value to our debates, not just as an active and committed citizen but also as a convinced Rawlsian.”

Want to know more about the conference moderators?

Read here