To celebrate a successful first year of the European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN) and to plan for future progress of the network, EDYN along with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) hosted the EDYN Democracy Summit in Berlin, Germany. From November 4 to November 10, 2019, 37 EDYN members from 15 countries came together for a week of learning seminars, stimulating discussions, and educational excursions.
The conference, falling on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, also served as a reminder to the members of their shared commitment to upholding democratic values and processes in Europe and provided opportunities for historical and remembrance activities. Members visited the Truman Villa in Potsdam to hear from a documentarian specializing in the Berlin Wall, the Stasi Exhibition & Museum to discuss the future of more transparent, democratic governments, and the Berlin Wall itself, to reflect on that important moment of history.
Throughout the conference, members attended sessions regarding future goals and activities of the network, strategic planning for Country Chapters, and professional development. The diverse makeup and broad geographical background of members resulted in thoughtful and productive discussions. External guests led presentations and discussions on topics such as the United States’ and Europe’s shared commitment to defending democratic institutions and the importance of youth activism in politics. Youth activists from Hong Kong and Venezuela were also invited, providing the opportunity to share their experience in youth engagement and for members to network with other politically active young people outside of Europe.
The conference concluded with the finalizing and signing of the Berlin Declaration, now one of the founding documents of the network. The Berlin Declaration serves as a contract for EDYN members to commit to EDYN’s mission and values.