From November 17-18, 2019, the third annual Membership Conference for the European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN) was held in collaboration with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI). Due to the adaptations the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated, the membership conference was held virtually via Zoom and livestreamed on EDYN and IRI’s Facebook.
In order to maintain high participation and engagement levels and ensure that the conference was successful in reflecting on the previous year and setting future objectives, IRI and NDI organized the virtual conference to include engaging panels, virtual participation opportunities, and special keynote speakers.
The conference commenced on November 17th with Welcome Remarks from IRI’s President Dan Twinning former Ambassador to Myanmar and NDI President Derek Mitchell, and Ambassador Bridget Brink (U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia). Sessions throughout the conference addressed topics such as combatting the spread of disinformation, youth activism in overcoming political polarization, brain drain and youth migration, and youth leadership. External guests from various organizations participated in the summits, including representatives from the Atlantic Council, the Warsaw Security Forum, and the U.S. Department of State.
Despite the natural challenges of hosting a virtual conference, the 2020 Membership Conference successfully brought together EDYN Ambassadors and members, provided them opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussions with various professionals, and continue to plan for future goals of the network.