Why a Think Tank?

With contemporary populism and nationalism sowing seeds of mistrust and threatening the values of an open society, it is more important than ever to exercise optimism and critical thinking to bolster democracy. Stability, creativity, and diversity are promoted when public institutions and decision-making are built on active citizen participation, knowledge based on science and well-tried practice, rule of law, free and strong media, a dynamic cultural life, and when open borders make it possible for individuals and organizations to seek out where their goals can best be realized.

Despite their current contentiousness, the values of openness are self-evident for many young people, who acknowledge a multifaceted and dynamic world in which they can realize their projects. We think that young people’s visions and experiences should be mobilized to counterbalance contemporary narrow-minded and pessimistic political agendas. We strongly believe in the power of young people in Europe and want to convey their personal experiences, ideas and perspectives to decision makers in public institutions, civil society organizations, and the business community.

We have therefore designed what we believe to be a unique approach, namely to start a new independent organization that combines the typical features of think tanks and international youth conferences. This creates both a supportive forum for young people where they can develop their projects and a trans-generational bridge between young people and powerful decision-makers in business and societal institutions. The overall objective of the think tank will be to strengthen and support democracy and the open society as well as to create an international platform for discussions about the conditions for future sustainable development and prosperity. The more precise tasks and daily activities of the think tank will be defined by the input from the youth conferences, the international reference group, and from the coming fellows of the think tank.


Urban Strandberg, Dr. and Associate Professor in Political Science, Director of Studies, Center for European Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg

Cecilia Malmström, Dr. in Political Science, and Commissioner for Foreign Trade and Trade Agreements, European Commission