United 4 Change | Program for Young Political Activists 2020 is a 4-day course on public leadership held in a Webinar format (18-21 May 2020) – supplemented with a 3-day visit to the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, France (16-18 November 2020) and addressed to young civic activists and community leaders interested in entering or growing their role in the public sector and politics.
The goal of the United 4 Change | Program for Young Political Activists 2020 is to equip 15 participants – civic activists from Europe and beyond (with some preference given to leaders from the Visegrad states) with a political toolkit – a set of fundamental skills required to successfully transition into the world of politics. Participants will take part in online expert lectures and work groups focusing on the common challenges facing democracies around the world. They will also attend the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, France (November 2020) .
The program will utilize the hands-on methodology of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights that engages participants through a case study and hands-on method of instruction. This methodology encourages learning by doing and engaging other participants and lecturers in an open dialogue.
The program supports the Council of Europe and OSCEs mission of reinforcing democracy, human rights and rule of law on the European continent. It is organized in co-partnership with the European Academy of Diplomacy
The Program comprises of a 4-day Webinar course on public leadership (18-21 May 2020), supplemented with a 3-day visit to the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, France (16 – 18 November 2020).
The program will be divided into three modules that will offer participants practical knowledge & insights, master level skills trainings and know-how sharing with experienced politicians, representatives from civic society and fellow participants:
Participation in the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg
A. Thematic Lectures (Online Session, 18 – 21 May)
1. Identifying main challenges to the democratic processes in Europe and beyond
Transparency, Corruption and Accountability
The Importance of Rule of Law and Separation of Power
2. Strengthening the democratic processes in Europe
Diversity and Inclusion in Societies
Fostering Women’s Activism and Involvement
B. The Political Toolkit (Online Session, 18 – 21 May)
The thematic lectures and debates will be supplemented by the Political Toolkit module, which will help participants master skills that are necessary to make a transition from the world of civic activism into politics and public leadership:
Policy Advising & Speech Writing
Campaigning and Fundraising
Devising Communication Strategies and Working with the Media
C. World Forum for Democracy (Strasbourg Session, 16 – 18 November)
The program participants will meet together for a second time in Strasbourg for the World Forum for Democracy – the biggest conference organized annually by the Council of Europe, gathering over 2000 politicians, diplomats, experts, journalists, civil society activists and others. The World Forum for Democracy is a platform for political decision-makers and activists to debate solutions to key challenges for democracies worldwide. By identifying and analyzing experimental initiatives and practices, the Forum highlights and encourages democracy innovations at the grassroots and their transfer on a systemic level in order to strengthen the foundations of democratic societies.
The project participants will have a chance to participate in a number of high-level sessions and discussions with peers coming from over 60 countries, and meet their peers from the other Schools for Political Studies in Europe and beyond.
The application process is highly competitive and is addressed to applicants meeting the following requirements:
Profile: civic activists or community leaders interested in entering or growing your role in the public sector and politics.
Countries: leaders from Europe and beyond – some preference will be given to applicants from the Visegrad countries (Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia)
Age: between 21-35 years old.
Language: English proficiency, at least B2 level (certificate not required).
Application Process: Fill in the application form with two attachments: a CV and an essay answering the question: Will a Pandemic like COVID-19 strengthen or weaken democracy in the world? (500-1000 words)
Be fully committed to participating in all four days of the webinar (18-21 May 2020) and be able to attend the World Forum for Democracy (15-17 November 2020).
The program is a full scholarship initiative, with all fees covered such as:
The program will offer 20 leaders, critical skills and knowledge to take a leap into public leadership and politics, at the same time developing participants’ abilities to shape and strengthen the democratic processes and institutions in their respective countries.