Our recent journey on Democracy

by Melina Niraki and Soraya Boumediene, project coordinators


Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan said “No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. (Rather both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime.) Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts off from its youth severs its lifeline.

 From there, a healthy democracy should include youth in the decision-making process. However, it is often said young people are not interested in democracy, that they are disconnected from it and that they don’t have faith in it anymore or that they never did.

 How to develop young people’s curiosity about democracy? How to make them want to be part of the decision making process? How to make them aware of the role they have to play? How do they become active citizens conscious of global issues?

Crossing Borders tried to meet this challenge.

On the 21st of November 2022, I assisted in the final competition of the Democracy Class in Copenhagen. It took place in Aula, the biggest room in Union which can accommodate up to 150 people. We had prepared the room for the occasion which looked like a conference room. 90 students from Adventure Efterskolen, boarding school in Southern Denmark participated in the event. 

The students participating in Democracy Class for the final event had been divided into groups and their responsibility was to create their own political parties from scratch, present their political program, as well as debate with each other with the aim of their political party to prevail and possibly win one of the available monetary prizes.


The final event was divided into two stages. The first one invited group representatives to announce their political party program whereas the second one was solely focused on debating, under the watchful eye of the jury and CB facilitators.


As you can imagine, speaking in English on a stage in front of a hundred people is not a simple exercise… It was really impressive to see the students defending their political ideas and trying to make them shine over the others. Especially because it allows us to see justice and this is the only way for society to thrive. It was nice to see the participants really involved in what they were doing; after all, what could be more effective than directly asking youth to speak for themselves and with their own words, about subjects concerning them?

The debate was led by the jury: Simon Dalsgaard, member of the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy, Mads Grønne Bärenholdt, PHD student in adolescence loneliness, former community science teacher, and member of the ø party, Garba Diallo, CB Director.

Three monetary awards were at stake for the three winning parties to spend on activities or cultural projects of their own. A way to make them responsible and aware that their decisions have societal consequences. Many topics were discussed: gender and LGBTQ policies, migration policy, social benefits, healthcare, environmental policies, integration. Students actually had things to say about most of them, which showed their commitment but also their involvement in the exercise. And by extension in the democratic process and in society’s issues.



Not all parties won a prize but all the students were able to gain creativity and to hopefully ignite their curiosity about democracy. What is sure is that democracy won that day. For a moment the youth, supposedly disinterested in democracy, made it live and believed in it.

And once again Crossing Borders contributed to the education and empowerment of young people to become active global citizens. It’s exactly for moments like this, that drive us, that we fight everyday, in order hopefully to make the world a better place.

This final event was part of a project funded by the Danish Ministry of Culture, including 4 workshops and a final event, facilitated by Crossing Borders coordinators.