The 4 moderators

Erik Toshach

Nationality: Swedish. Present residency: Istorp, Sweden. Year of birth: 1974.

“Though I look forward to this event immensely, I really have no idea of what to expect of the outcome and that makes it all the more exciting! To my mind, the most valuable knowledge, the most interesting experience is always the unexpected one. I hope that I will be able, as moderator, to handle all the energy, ideas and opinions that the participants are bringing to the table. I believe that I am a good listener but also someone who can ask critical questions and help people to better define their standpoints. I have an academic background but work mainly in the service industry, where I am also an active workers union representative. This means that I am used to interacting with people from many different walks of life. For me, every standpoint should be examined both in terms of truth and in terms of ethics. Therefore, I also believe that the problems faced by society in the 21st century are intertwined both with the development of science and with the eternal question: What does the good life mean for me personally and what does it mean for humanity as a species?”

Kristin Clay

Nationality: Canadian-American. Present residency: Gothenburg, Sweden. Year of birth: 1983.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to take the beneficial experiences I’ve had from dedicated teachers and passionate mentors and pay them forward to these inspired and driven young people from around Europe. Even more, I’m eager to engage with these bright young minds and become a student again, learning from their experiences and motivations for a more inclusive society. As an ‘extroverted introvert’ I look forward to helping participants of all personalities and with various levels of confidence find their own way of making their voice heard and contribute with their strengths. Finally, as a Canadian born, American raised, Swedish resident (now citizen) in love with a Norwegian, I will bring my own experiences of diverse communities and attitudes towards open society and democracy.”

Lucie Buttkus

Nationality: German. Present residency: Dublin, Ireland. Year of birth: 1993.

“Every single one of us is a teacher and a student – if we come into a discussion with an open mind and the intention to truly listen. What can I bring to the table? Over the last couple of years, I have lived in five countries on three continents, in societies with very different understandings of democracy. I strive to understand complex systems. I am curiosity driven, impact-oriented, I challenge the status quo. I innovate. The IYTT’s first Youth Conference is more than an opportunity to share my personal skills, experience and knowledge with our outstandingly dedicated, knowledgeable and driven participants. I am beyond excited to hear about the ideas and perspectives of this diverse group of young Europeans and to support young voices in being heard and taken seriously. I am eager to help structure and share our ideas on the future of liberal democratic values. Having participated in several youth and academic conferences, I have experienced different ways of how such events can be composed and facilitated. My personal goal is to make the Youth Conference the most rewarding experience that it possibly can be for every single participant, and to help bring about actionable ideas and outcomes that will have a real impact on our society. By bringing all of my experience to the table – and more importantly – an intention to truly listen.”

Urban Strandberg

Nationality: Swedish. Present residency: Gothenburg, Sweden. Year of birth: 1966.

“Born in 1966 and quite young when starting to take an interest in societal issues and politics, some of my formative milestones include the fall of dictatorships in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Chile, and Argentina, to mention a few notable examples. The fall of the autocratic regimes of Eastern Europe in 1989 was the most powerful change-maker in my mind. That sister and brother Europeans in Eastern Europe were eventually offered a chance to live and dwell in an open society was of tremendous importance for me. Now cultural life, media, academia, business enterprising, bureaucracies and legal systems, as well as representative government, could be organized on the grounds of legality and rule of law. Now social institutions could be developed to fairly support humans individually and in groups in their life projects. The political battles could now be about ideological valuations and interest-based standpoints, not a fight between an open society and an autocratic one. People would still have disagreements but would agree on the richness and potential of an open society. Now, more than 30 years later, I am scared and worried that regimes, political parties, and individual citizens in Europe and overseas are attracted to old autocratic values. My hope for the conference is that all the lovely 32 participants will contribute fresh arguments and ideas on how to sustain the resilience of open society values and its social institutions. I will bring my enthusiastic personality, my curiosity of other people and their ideas, and my ability to bring the very best out of other people.”

Want to know more about the conference participants?

Read here