The World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) is a network that aims to support the development of sustainable democracy movements by empowering the next generation of democracy activists. The World Youth Movement provides a space for young activists to build relationships with each other, to collaborate across borders, to deepen their knowledge on key issues, and to develop practical skills. It also serves as a platform for young activists to promote democratic values and a forum for sharing information and ideas. It is guided by a Leadership Board with representation from Africa, Asia, Europe/Eurasia, the Americas, and the Middle East and North Africa regions.
At the Third Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in South Africa in 2004, a group of young democracy and human rights activists from around the world came together to found the World Youth Movement for Democracy to build the capacity of youth, exchange ideas and promote collaboration, and to strengthen international solidarity to support young people working in difficult circumstances. The network has since grown to over 1,200 members and is a functional network of the World Movement for Democracy, a global network of democracy activists, practitioners, and scholars.
Today the World Youth Movement serves as a platform for young activists to address the importance of promoting democratic values, a forum for sharing information and ideas, and an action-oriented, solidarity movement. It provides a space for young activists to build relationships with each other, to collaborate across borders, to deepen their knowledge on key issues, and to develop practical skills. Like the World Movement, the Youth Movement aims to support youth participation in efforts to strengthen democracy where it is weak, to reform and invigorate democracy even where it is longstanding, and to bolster pro-democracy groups in countries that have not yet entered into a process of democratic transition.
The mission of the World Youth Movement for Democracy is to serve as a platform for young activists to empower each other, share experiences, build solidarity among members, and to develop sustainable democracy and human rights movements by empowering a younger generation in democracy promotion activities.
Founded as a youth wing of the World Movement for Democracy, the Youth Movement shares the values and principles of the World Movement’s Founding Statement. These include belief in:
- the universality of democratic values,
- the importance of learning from others’ experiences in advancing democracy,
- human rights, particularly minority rights,
- broad public participation in politics, and
- the importance of acknowledging the diverse forms of democracy around the world.
The WYMD is a decentralized network for information sharing, collaboration, and solidarity. Therefore, individuals and organizations define their own roles in the network, participating in many different ways on many different levels.
All activities that develop as part of the WYMD will occur under four main areas:
- Capacity-building for conflict resolution and the non-violent promotion of democracy
- Advocacy and promotion of democratic values and human rights
- Networking to exchange ideas and promote collaboration
- Developing international solidarity networks, to support young people working in adverse circumstances
The WYMD Secretariat is currently working in collaboration with partners and participants to develop programs in these areas. Since international solidarity is a critical component of our networking efforts, the Youth Movement uses electronic alerts and statements to raise awareness of issues related to our members, and to call others to join in solidarity or to take action.
The simplest thing all participants can do is regularly share information with the network. We rely on contributions from participants to make the WYMD website a great resources for knowing what’s going on with youth democracy activism!
To strengthen the pro-democracy movement at a truly grassroots level, some participants organize locally to strengthen networks, promote discussion and facilitate collaboration between pro-democracy groups in their area. They encourage the coordination of activities around the Global Youth Democracy Campaign on Launch Day, October 18, and throughout the year to motivate and support youth engagement with democratic practices and principles.