Event Reports

Youth Inclusion and Participation in Politics and Society

JSSOR and KAS Syria/Iraq Office promote dialogue with Iraqi youth

After the liberation of Iraq from the Islamic State (ISIL), the long road of reconstruction has begun. Especially important for a peaceful future with a democratic political leadership is a new generation that is aware of the rights and duties of a constitutional state. It is therefore crucial to enter into dialogue on the political and economic future with this generation today. This was the aim of this conference, which was attended by 150 participants from politics, civil society and academia.

On August 30 and 31, the youth organization JSSOR and the KAS Syria/Iraq Office held a conference in Baghdad that aimed to encourage the involvement of young people in politics and society. The goal was the joint drafting of a roadmap for increased youth empowerment in the areas of the political and economic development in the country, and to brainstorm ideas for the time after the liberation from ISIL.

The event attracted 150 participants from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Labor, the Iraqi Parliament, the European Union, women's rights organizations, youth organizations and academia. This led to an exchange between the youth, government representatives and civil society on youth empowerment, their role in Iraq’s political and economic development, peacebuilding and their inclusion in for them relevant concerns. The discussions aimed for a better understanding of the positive role the new generation can play in these issues - especially in the areas of gender equality and women's rights.

The conference concluded that more space for dialogue and consultation with the youth is needed to strengthen the links between society and local authorities. In addition, the new generation must be involved in political decision-making and integrated into existing platforms for participation. To this end, the local youth calls for a better information network and access to economic and political opportunities. Partnerships with local politicians and regional governments are therefore important. Overall, it is time to see Iraq’s new generation as part of the solution rather than the problem.

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Patricia Abdulkarim