The European Pool of Representatives member, Arleen Pimentel (AFS France), represented EFIL at the World Forum for Democracy 2016 on 7-9 November in Strasbourg, France. The theme of this year’s edition was Democracy and education: Does education matters? .

Since 2012, the Forum has gathered from all over the world to discuss how to promote democracy and share good and innovative practices. Arleen had the chance to not only attend the Forum, but also a previous event organised by the Youth directorate of the Council of Europe, aimed at gathering 75 youth representatives to prepare them to be ‘Youth ambassadors’ and engage actively in the event. This is how Arleen became part of the ‘journalist group’ and during the event she drafted the three articles below:

– Article about Democratic Schools and the new initiative being held in Israel by G. Heecht.

– Interview with Ramin Farhangi: a pioneer of democratic schools in France.

– Open debate the day of American Elections


Here are some impressions from Arleen: After six days of sharing ideas, living cultures, even dancing Arab, Georgian, Latin, Ukrainian and other world dances I discovered that even though everyone wanted to put forward their songs, their  idea – everyone respected and shared the happiness of each other when hearing different opinions. The truth is that we created a such a peaceful environment that everyone though it was a bit unreal. I couldn’t believe that I was in a parallel universe in the city I live in (Strasbourg). Eighty-five inspiring young people from the around the world; from Singapore to Mexico, gathered at the European Youth Centre as representatives of the Youth Delegation on behalf of this so-called World Forum. This year’s focus was on education and as students,we felt especially concerned because we were somehow related to an NGO or part of an activist movement related to the topic. I learned that I need to put my ideas into practice and that actions must speak louder than words. Then I am going to start by putting my grain of sand and I am going to pursue what I wanted a long time ago: a journal made by global students and approaching their own perspective on one subject. I thank the lab deciphering media for helping me encouraging me and following this little project. I just learned that I need to keep on learning, reading and continue advocating on youth rights without giving up. Thanks to the European Federation for Intercultural Learning and the Council of Europe for this opportunity.

For more information: [email protected]

Photo: ©Arleen Pimentel