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Democracy and Political Management: Training of Young Leaders*
Efforts to strengthen democracy in the hemisphere have shown that it is
crucial to promote a democratic culture in order to strengthen democratic
institutions, values and practices. In spite of the consolidation of
democracy during the last two decades, these democratic values and practices
have not yet fully taken root. Exercising democracy as a way of life
involves a complex and long-term learning process. Therefore, strengthening
a democratic culture requires the ongoing education – both formal and
non-formal – of values and practices such as tolerance, liberty, justice,
respect, negotiation, and solidarity.
The Inter-American Democratic Charter, the mandates of the Summits of the Americas, and other Inter-American instruments emphasize the importance of training programs geared toward the promotion of democratic values and practices to foster a democratic culture in the hemisphere. In this regard, it is important to stimulate and promote these values and practices in order to awaken and nurture the interest, commitment, and participatory spirit of the new generation of leaders from various sectors of society in the democratic process. This promotion of democratic values and practices should go hand in hand with the development of political management skills to facilitate the effective exercise of democratic leadership.
Considering that approximately 54 percent of the region’s population is younger than 25 years of age (according to Inter-American Development Bank statistics), it is clear that training young leaders is a fundamental building block for democratic development. The quality and sustainability of democracy depends to a great extent on the democratic values and practices exercised by its citizens, particularly the younger generation. Many institutions from different sectors of society, including political parties, media, civil society and academic institutions, are undertaking a gamut of initiatives to train young leaders in democratic values and practices, as well as in modern techniques of political management. Training opportunities in this field include regional and national programs directed to young leaders from sectors such as political parties, media, civil society, and academic institutions. The primary objective of these activities is to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge, values and practices that allow young people to become multipliers of a democratic culture through their leadership and action.
We know that education is a vehicle for progress and development. Today, more than ever, the strengthening of democracy is only guaranteed by the promotion of a democratic culture through education. Education for democracy should go beyond conventional terms. It must include ongoing training that allows people to become better citizens and leaders capable of meeting dynamic political and social challenges. This training generates new ideas and views towards strengthening democracy.?
Unit for the Promotion of Democracy
*The ideas, thoughts, and opinions expressed are not necessarily of the OAS nor of its member states. The opinions expressed are the responsibility of the authors.