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Eindconclusies.brief summary   connecting youth with society
 

Eindconclusies.brief summary connecting youth with society

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connecting youth with society

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    Eindconclusies.brief summary   connecting youth with society Eindconclusies.brief summary connecting youth with society Document Transcript

    • Connecting  youth  with  society:  sharing  innovative   approaches  to  youth  inclusion   Antwerp  8  and  9  december  2011     Brief  summary   Kris  De  Visscher,  Demos  vzw        The  connection  of  young  people  to  society  touches  upon  the  very  heart  of  every  community  because  its  future  depends  on  the  mutual  recognition  and  solidarity  between  generations.  In  the  media  nowadays,  it’s  fashionable  to  state  that  is  the  responsibility  of  the  young  people  themselves  to  achieve  recognition  as  a  full  member  of  society.  Youngsters  who  fail  to  get  this  recognition  are  labelled  as  ‘troublemakers’  rather  than  as  victims  of  a  system  that  marginalizes  them  and  frustrates  their  sense  of  self-­‐worth.      To  break  this  cycle  of  stigmatisation,  discrimination  and  social  exclusion,  a  diverse  group  of  marginalised  youth  needs  to  be  engaged  and  supported  to  express  their  views  in  their  own  way.  Having  a  voice  is  the  first  step  to  feeling  included  and  listened  to.  But  it’s  not  only  young  people  who  need  to  be  encouraged  to  take  up  dialogue.  Local  and  national  government,  youth  workers  and  other  stakeholders  who  deal  with  youth  often  show  their  goodwill  but  need  to  adapt  and  learn  new  skills  and  take  the  necessary  measures  in  order  to  interact  constructively  with  the  diverse  community  of  young  people.  If  the  inclusion  of  young  people  is  to  be  meaningful,  it  cannot  just  be  the  young  people  who  attempt  to  build  bridges.  Those  who  are  responsible  for  representing  their  interests,  protecting  them  and  serving  them,  also  need  to  be  engaged  if  discrimination  and  social  exclusion  are  to  be  tackled.      During  this  conference  we  explored  the  concept  of  ‘meaningful  youth  inclusion’  in  relation  to  building  bridges  between  marginalised  youth  and  authorities.  We  considered  this  issue  from  a  diverse  range  of  perspectives  and  listened  to  different  stakeholders  in  this  process.  Together  we  exchanged  innovative  approaches  to  youth  inclusion.    We  started  with  several  keynotes  and  debates.  Keynote  speaker  Bruno  Vanobbergen  reminded  us  how  the  UN  declaration  for  the  Rights  of  the  Child  can  serve  as  a  valuable  framework.  Filip  Coussée  invited  us  to  remain  critical  about  the  methods  we  use  to  avoid  the  silent  reproduction  of  an  unfair  and  injust  society  towards  young  people  and  certainly  to  those  who  find  themselves  marginalised  and  criminalized.    This  became  very  clear  when  we  learned  how  police  policy  isn’t  only  a  trigger  but  also  an  underlying  cause  of  discrimination-­‐related  violence.  Especially  the  humiliating  -­‐  and  actually  very  inefficient  -­‐  start  and  stop  searches  hurt  young  people  and  make  them  angry.    
    • Yet,  the  experience  in  Gouda  points  out  that  once  you  get  police  and  youngsters  together  in  a  well  coached  conversation,  it’s  seemingly  easy  to  make  them  discuss  the  tensions  that  arise  in  the  use  of  public  space.  Is  remarkable  to  see  how  relieved  and  proud  both  groups  are  once  they  have  crossed  that  bridge.  Everybody  wants  a  good  policeforce,  so  do  young  people.      This  stresses  the  importance  of  bringing  young  people  and  adults  together  and  creating  dialogue.  We  learned  that  the  we  should  involve  young  people  in  every  action  we  take.      Most  of  all,  the  conference  offered  lots  of  workshops  with  positive,  hands-­‐on  methods  and  techniques.  From  games,  roleplays,  peer  education,  flash  mobs,  debate,  film,  photography,  theater,  music,…  to  just  a  good  old  fashioned  honest  and  open  talk.  These  methods  are  used  to  bring  out  the  voice  and  the  capacities  of  young  people  and  to  bridge  the  gap  between  vulnerable  youth  and  their  neighbourhood,  the  school  and  the  authorities.    In  her  final  conclusions,  Isabel  Deviendt  of  the  Flemish  Youth  Council  strongly  recommends  a  bottom-­‐up  approach.  Start  at  the  local  level  from  the  dreams  and  interests  of  young  people  themselves.  Recognize  that  young  people  have  the  necessary  competence  and  skills  to  form  and  express  their  opinion.  Acknowledge  that  young  people  participate  in  different  ways  and  use  different  communication  channels  such  as  music,  theatre,  dance,  etc.  Don’t  regard  adults  and  young  people  as  enemies.  Adults  are  able  to  create  good  conditions  for  young  people  to  express  their  point  of  view.  In  return,  they  can  learn  from  the  perspective  of  youngsters.  Young  people  have  their  own  point  of  view  because  they  are  young,  adults  should  respect  that.  If  we  do  so,  young  people  will  feel  needed  and  see  themselves  as  actors  for  positive  social  change.  Of  course,  not  every  youngster  has  to  be  a  forerunner  and  certainly  not  on  every  issue.  Especially  schools  and  youth  work  initiatives  can  function  as  a  micro-­‐society  where  young  people  can  gain  positive  experience  in  participation.  And  last  but  not  least,  police  and  young  people  sitting  together,  guided  by  some  good  coaching,  works  far  better  than  other  more  repressive  measures.      Even  though  the  conclusions  didn’t  come  as  a  quite  a  shock,  it’s  putting  these  principles  into  practice  that  is  the  biggest  chalenge  for  all  of  us.  It’s  up  to  us  to  consequently  involve  young  people  in  every  action  we  take,  to  adjust  our  language,  to  create  optimal  conditions  for  participation  and  to  take  young  people  serious  in  our  day  to  day  practice.  Certainly  young  people  who  had  negative  encounters  with  society  and  its  institutions  in  the  past,  won’t  believe  us  straight  away.      For  everyone  who  genuinely  wants  to  make  a  connection  with  every  young  person,  this  conference  offered  lots  of  inspiration.  Use  it.      Kris  De  Visscher    Dēmos vzw info@demos.be t. +32 (0)2 204 07 00Sainctelettesquare 19 - 1000 Brussel www.demos.be f. +32 (0)2 204 07 09