Youth Speak Out: Engaging in Democracy and Grasping Opportunity

June 15, 2009


Democracy has been practiced in different ways and in different contexts. We believe there are core universal democratic values and aspirations that we all share, which transcend our differences, even though we live in different cultures, speak different languages, and eat different food. The purpose of this essay contest is to highlight personal engagement in democracy by promoting critical thinking about the role of young people in democracy and to connect youth with broader democracy movements. The questions posed below for this essay contest aim to challenge youth to write about their perspectives on democracy and their understanding of democracy activism, particularly their own.

Essays are required to address one or more of the following questions:

  1. What democratic spaces exist for young people in your society? What do you see as democratic values in your society? How do you engage with them?
  2. How can democracy help address your personal and social concerns (poverty, access to education, pandemics, inequality etc.)? How do you and others in your community address these concerns?
  3. Describe and explain how a specific event or instance changed your perception of democracy.

Submit essay by Sept. 15, 2009. For more information, visit