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Renewing Local Democracy Through and With Youth

Christina Kitsos; Andrea Tobia Zevi
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Auditorium A2, Maison de la paix, Geneva Graduate Institute

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Against a backdrop of disenchantment with democracy, cities have emerged as central spaces to find solutions to the demands of citizens in pluralistic societies. Renewing local politics may represent a starting point to reduce the distance between citizens and the democratic process through mechanisms such as consultations, participatory budgeting, and citizen assemblies. These mechanisms are, however, rapidly transforming to make use of the possibilities offered by digital technologies and to respond to pressing new concerns from citizens, particularly those from young people who often mobilize first locally.

Therefore, it is urgent to collectively take stock of lessons learned from youth engagement at the local level and look at opportunities for renewed democratic engagement of young people in cities in Europe.

Elected representatives at the city level play a crucial role in creating the linkages between formal politics and the citizenry. This public conference will host two representatives, Christina Kitsos from Geneva and Andrea Tobia Zevi from Rome, who will discuss their experience and the innovations in their cities.

In their keynote speeches and in the debate that will follow, they will address questions such as: Which instruments of democratic participation have been created at the local level to foster youth engagement? How have they been designed and used? Which are the key issues and policy pointers? How can local democracy be renewed through and with youth?

Simultaneous translation of the conference in French/English/Italian/Spanish will be available.
Please bring your own phone and headphones in order to access simultaneous interpretation. 

Livestreaming will be available on the YouTube channel of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy.


welcome and introduction


Graziella Moraes Silva, Co-Director Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy, Geneva Graduate Institute

Frédéric Josselin, Head of Department of Citizen Participation, Office of Urbanism at the Département du territoire, Canton of Geneva


Opening remarks


Thomas Hartley, Housing and Land Management Unit, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)




Christine LutringerExecutive Director and Senior Researcher at the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy 





Christina Kitsos, Deputy Mayor of Geneva, in charge of Social Cohesion and Solidarity



Andrea Tobia Zevi, Deputy Mayor of Rome, in charge of Heritage and Housing


This event is organised by the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy and the Département du Territoire de la République et Canton de Genève in the context of Democracy Week. It is part of the activities of the project Protest and engagement, from the global to the local: Mapping the forms of youth participation in Europe and is linked to the Mayors’ Forum organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

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