On October 9, 1989, 70,000 brave citizens demonstrated for a peaceful and democratic realignment. The motto of the protesters – “We are the people” – expressed their needs and their will against the totalitarian regime of the German Democratic Republic. Since the Reunification in the fall of 1990, East and West German citizens live side by side in a peaceful and democratic state. The protests in various cities of Eastern Germany marked the milestone for the success of the democratic movement and process in the former GDR until the collapse of the regime.
“Democracy” as a form of government, however, does not pass unchallenged. Hence, the civil society is always called upon to continuously question and discuss parliamentary decisions in order to intervene against irreproducible decisions and to take part in maintaining a lively democracy. In particular,the new generation of youths and adolescents has a chance to voice their opinions and thoughts, to participate actively if they thoroughly consider their actual opinion, interest and what they stand for. But what exactly are my interests and opinions? Where can I get information from? Which forms of peaceful intervention exist, which cause do I want to support and which will be the possible consequences?
On the occasion of the Peaceful Revolution’s 20th anniversaryin 2009, the city of Leipzig arranged the 1st International Conference on Democracy under the patronage of the then President of the German Bundestag, Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert. At the Conference, youths and experts took stock of the goals achieved so far. The focus was primarily on transformational processes and the perspective of the future in Middle and Eastern Europe. In 2011 and 2013, the 2nd and 3rd International Conferences on Democracy took place, themed “We are Democracy! Youth and Politicians enter the Discussion”. 450 participants from the region and across Europe including 35 politicians discussed how to animate and support the political and social participation of young people with regards to their age.
The 4th International Conference on Democracy on September, 25 and 26, 2015 is again dedicated to the main topic of “We are Democracy! Youth and Politicians enter the Discussion”. We are therefore asking all interested youths to come to Leipzig once more. The projects that have regionally and internationally been put into life shall be an inspiration to develop further joint discussions and their own ideas. In the frame of the Conference we want to consider various perspectives: youthful, pedagogical, parental, political, and scientifical input shall be included. Politicians will be asked to join into direct discussion with the youths regarding their – that is: your! – ideas, opinions and claims.
Again in 2015, 450 young people from the Leipzig area and from all over Europe will be invited to “Haus Leipzig”. The city of Leipzig, the Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung e.V. (Hannah-Arendt-Insitute on Totalitarism Research) at the Technical University of Dresden, the Regional Agency for Civic Education in Saxony (LBPB) as well as the Federal Agency for Civic Education (BPB) will act as cooperating partners for the planning, preparation and realization of the Conference. Further cooperating partners will support the Conference.
The topical focus of the Conference is based on the everyday life of young people, which encompasses the following: equality of opportunities and justice, cultural exchange, acceptance, tolerance and responsibility, the reasons of extreme attitudes, democratization of education, the relationship between own actions, ecological consequences and environmental policy, consequences resulting from the crisis in the EU and their impact on the coexistence and the development of democracy in Europe, hence the possibilities of online participation and social networks.
The precise topics of the workshops are as follows: