Council of Europe: World Forum for Democracy 2015

Freedom vs control: For a democratic response


Strasbourg, 18-20 November 2015


The Joint Council on Youth, decision-making structure co-managed by representatives of governments and youth NGOs, has agreed to involve the youth sector of the Council of Europe in the 2015 edition of the World Forum for Democracy.

The 4th edition of the World Forum for Democracy will engage with decision-makers and opinion-formers in a reflection on how to maintain a balance between freedom and control for security in European societies and  will explore new ways of engaging young people in re-visioning the democratic arenas of  today.


The core content of the Forum will consist of discussions about  successful initiatives and actions  which have as a starting point real-life initiatives and untested, novel ideas, by public authorities or grassroots actors, which will be critically examined by an interdisciplinary international panel.


The initiatives and ideas to be presented at the forum will be discussed in labs and roughly cover the four following key categories:

  • How much control kills democracy?
  • Freedom from fear in a diverse society?
  • Is learning of democratic culture adequate today?
  • Is freedom of expression and information a reality?


75 young participants will be selected by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe in order to ensure a strong youth participation during the Forum.

For this purpose, applicants should send a 1-minute video explaining their motivation, and how they relate to the dilemma between freedom and control. The video should be inspiring and based on real-life testimonies or examples of how participants themselves are concerned by the topic. Based on these videos, a 10-minutes introductory movie will be compiled and presented in the opening session of the World Forum for Democracy 2015.


In order to be selected and participate in the World Forum 2015, applicants should:


- be aged 16-30 (exceptions can be made in special cases),

- be resident in one of the 50 signatory States of the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe, 30  places will be made available for participants from other regions outside the European continent,
- be able to communicate and work in English,
- be actively involved in civil society Democracy initiatives,
- be motivated to contribute to developing new ideas on youth and democracy,
- be supported by a youth organisation or network or informal group working on democracy; some non-organised individuals will also be accepted,
- be ready to share own challenges faced in accessing freedom of expression and dealing with control and violence,
- be ready to adopt a solution-oriented approach by bringing in new ideas and visions of democracy,
- be ready to dream democracy,
- be available to participate fully in the World Forum for Democracy and the preparation process beforehand,
- experience or involvement in the "No Hate" speech movement at local, national or international level will be an asset.


All candidates must apply in 2 parts:

  1. An online application form should be completed here.
  2. A short 1 minute video should be posted on YouTube.

For more details, please click here.


Deadline: 30 August, 2015.