How the youth participation movement is gaining momentum in Liechtenstein
David Kranz is an 18 year old Ambassador from Liechtenstein who works at the National Youth Council of Liechtenstein.
My participation at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin was quite exciting as I was one of the youngest delegates there. The Summit influenced my network greatly because I was connected to so many other young leaders from across the globe.
As a member of the National Youth Council of Liechtenstein, which was founded in 2012, we have had a great impact in many political arenas. Our youth council was the result of a “Youth Participation Liechtenstein” project.
We started the project with some foundational ideas in mind: to have a vehicle for promoting youth voices, to materialize projects on behalf of Liechtenstein’s youth, to create youth-centred campaigns and, of course, to fight for more youth participation as a political right.
We were able to approach these goals with an informed strategy as we collaborated with youth parliaments in Switzerland and Germany from early on. We compared our goals, discussed our problems concerning membership and influence and we got to know how we can start our projects properly and with fewer complications.
From this collaboration, we developed a strategy for how to deal with authorities, especially when we launched our very first major project: 'easyvote'. Together with the Swiss Federation of Youth Parliaments, where the Youth Council of Liechtenstein is also member, we brought a neutral brochure on the 2013 national elections to all Liechtenstein citizens aged 17 to 25 years old. In addition, 'easyvote' was equally sponsored by Liechensten’s government and communities so we look back at this project as one of our greatest successes.
Generally, youth participation has not been a ‘hot topic’ in our little country. Many youngsters think that his or her single voice won’t be heard anyway. It is this perception of youth capacity that we are working to change. In a democratic system, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Think of the population of Liechtenstein: just 37,000 habitants (and only about 19,000 people are entitled to vote for a whole country!). Therefore, if you have 4 or 5 people who all have the same objective, your voices will be heard.
Young people are not powerless. They have more power, more ability and even more passion than other demographics might. But having a will to change must be accompanied by patience. Even if some people want to prevent your ideas from gaining public momentum, my advice is to be patient and try not to give up. Youth participation is more than debating ideas- it is essential for our system to find compromises.
You are a human being, entitled with basic and political rights. Exercise your rights and push for a greater country, a greater society and an even greater mind. If you’re looking for more information or need help getting involved with public affairs, the youth council of Liechtenstein will help you in every way possible.