Not Too Young to Run – Engaging Youth in the Political Process

This group of young political leaders included members of parliament, mayors, executive branch officials, political strategists, and NGO leaders who came together to learn more about leadership, advocacy, civic engagement, elections, and policy formulation. They traveled together to Washington DC, New Hampshire, and New York and also split into smaller groups to visit state capitals and a second large city in three politically-influential states - Colorado, Ohio, and Texas. Several expressed it was a life changing experience, not only for what they took away from understanding the U.S. political realities better, but for getting a chance to connect with each other – a group that was not only diverse in what countries and regions were represented, but also in their roles in their political systems (ruling parties, opposition parties, and civil society). One participant was in the middle of a campaign for his county assembly, with elections taking place only two weeks after he was to return home. He said that, when he arrived “I was on a 10% battery charge, but I was reenergized to 100% by the conversations, laughs, and songs I had with my colleagues.” Another participant was so inspired by the trip that he has decided to run as an MP in the next elections in his country. The project also helped break preconceptions about people with different political opinions. Nowhere was this more apparent than with Paola Lopez Santillan, an LGBTQ activist from Mexico who initially found the meeting with Senate candidate Don Bolduc in New Hampshire one of the most challenging since he had been called out by Human Rights Campaign and others for using homophobic language in a prior campaign. Paola found the opportunity to meet and talk with him “important for my professional and personal growth. In seeing how more conservative people think, it helped me figure out better how to manage the change together. All of the sessions reinforced my journey of fighting for change.”

Project summary

Not Too Young to Run – Engaging Youth in the Political Process | July 2022
Number of Visitors: 17
Regions: Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, South and Central Asia, Western Hemisphere
Countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Nigeria, Peru, Somalia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Türkiye, Ukraine, Zimbabwe
Impact Areas: Civic Engagement, Governance and Transparency
Program Areas: Global Leadership