Every democracy needs citizens who ask critical questions, who are not afraid to express their views, but also know how to listen to the opinions of others and how to respond to them in a matter-of-fact and fair way.
Despite many differences between European countries, young people in Europe share substantial similarities concerning their worldview, experiences, fears and problems. A highly common issue is the fact that young Europeans' trust in mainstream media and public institutions at all levels is low. Youth in Europe distinguishes itself by a limited interest in politics, media literacy (exposure to fake news, hate speech) and political education. The voting turnout of young people is the lowest among all age categories. Young Europeans cope with a significantly higher level of unemployment than the countries’ average, and due to the negative impact of pandemic it will most probably increase.
The aim of the project Debate Your Issue (DYI) is to strengthen the awareness of young Europeans (18-25 years old) on the topics of politics, democracy, tolerance and their threats: disinformation, intolerance, polarization and hate speech. Debate can teach young people how to stand up for their opinions and views in a well-founded and convincing manner. Furthermore, by dealing with relevant socio-political questions in a critical manner, it contributes to political education in the targeted region.
The project activities include debate training programs and competitions, adaptations of a methodological approach, joint publications, providing open and effective tools for counterbalancing the rising polarization and disengagement of young people in six European countries (Belgium, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia).
During the project the young people will access knowledge of relevant socio-political issues, and acquire skills of the art of debate. In the second part of the project they will take part in a debate competition, in order to compete with their peers from other countries.
Young people in all six project countries are invited to apply for debate training and active participation in the project activities. The training will take place both in person and online, the project is developing recommendations for debate trainers, webinars for online observation, as well as infographics that will help many other young people to learn aspects of media literacy.
Project partners: Mediawijs (Belgium), Goethe-Institut Czech Republic (Czech Republic), National Library of Latvia (Latvia), International Youth Debate Alumni Association Lithuania (Lithuania), Kolegium Europy Wschodniej (Poland), Novo kulturno naselje (Serbia).
Project implementation period: 03.02.2020.–02.08.2021.
Project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
Head of Public Relations
National Library of Latvia