(PHOTO) Youth empowerment – was the central theme of the Youth Forum of the Republic of Moldova 2024

The largest Forum dedicated to young people, the Moldova Youth Forum 2024 (Moldova Youth Forum 2024), took place this weekend in Balti, in the National Theater “Vasile Alecsandri.” Participants interacted with national and international experts from various fields during the two-day event (June 29-30). Young people participated in panels and workshops on sustainable development, European integration, inclusion and diversity, regional security, mental health, entrepreneurship, and digital innovation.

This year’s Forum brought together Moldovan and European officials and more than 300 young people, including 30 from abroad. The third edition of the Forum, themed “Empowering Young People for More Active Involvement and Effective Governance,” was a platform for young people to discover innovative strategies for participating in EU programs and policy-making. The activities organized over the two days facilitated dialogue between young people and policymakers in the country and abroad in strengthening democratic processes.

President Maia Sandu sent a video message to young people: “Do not run away from work. Truly precious things are obtained only through hard work. Those who promise you easy victories will not do you good. Learn foreign languages. The world is so big, and knowing more languages helps you to communicate with different people, know more, and find your way home when you get lost in a foreign city.”

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The Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, Janis Mazeiks, who was present at the event, urged those present to get actively involved: “You, young people, are not only the leaders of tomorrow but also today’s leaders. Your voices and vision will shape Moldova’s future for a more secure, united, and integrated Europe. Young people have always been at the heart of change. Your energy and creativity are the catalysts for progress. In the European community, young people play an important and decisive role in stimulating innovation and promoting European values, democracy, and solidarity. Your involvement is important for Moldova to keep moving forward on the path of European integration.”

Laura Hruby, Charge d’Affaires ad interim of the US Embassy to the Republic of Moldova, said: “Today, Moldova’s democracy is more vibrant than ever. Moldovans are choosing the path of integrity and real commitment to reform. As the country’s next generation of leaders, you will guide Moldova on this path with the support of the United States behind you.”

According to Stephen Nix, Eurasia Regional Director of the International Republican Institute (IRI), which organized this year’s Forum: “It is already a tradition for the Republic of Moldova to organize the Youth Forum. 2024 is a decisive year for the Republic of Moldova, the upcoming presidential elections, and the referendum on Moldova’s accession to the European Union. It is also a decisive year for young people in Moldova. I want to mention how fortunate you are because the President of the country herself is speaking to you, and the Prime Minister is speaking to you. The fact that your country’s leaders find time for you, to talk to you, shows how important and valuable you are to the country.”

Within the framework of the Forum, a Simulation of the Referendum of 20 October 2024 on the Republic of Moldova’s integration into the EU took place. The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) assisted in organizing the simulation. The event organizers set up a polling station at the venue, enabling the 335 registered participants of the Forum to exercise their right to vote and express their support or opposition to amending the Constitution in preparation for the Republic of Moldova’s accession to the EU. The 227 participants participated in this exercise, thereby validating the simulation. Of the total number of voters, 92% voted for, 7% against, and 1% of the ballots were invalid. Through this exercise, the young men and women of the FTM expressed their support and their desire to move together with the Republic of Moldova towards a European future.

“The Moldovan Youth Forum” (MYF) represents an ongoing commitment to empowering young people in the Republic of Moldova. The event offers young people a platform to build connections and influence national policies, thus contributing to the prosperous future of society. More than 300 participants from the Republic of Moldova and abroad attended the 3rd edition of the MTF. This year’s Forum focused on panel discussions and workshops with practical application, which encouraged participants to contribute to the public policy proposal formulation to address societal challenges.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) organizes the Moldova Youth Forum 2024 with financial support from USAID, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the European Union, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the NATO Liaison Office, the Government of the Republic of Moldova, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, and other partners.

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