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German Baltic Conference 2023

Tartu, Estland
26 - 29 October

Youth Perspectives on Freedom: Policy Papers from the German-Baltic Conference

How can we achieve change through political and civic engagement and ensure that its effects are both significant and lasting? How can we make sure that Europe’s young generation has its say in shaping the future? Building on the success of the #EuropeShallHearYou campaign, since 2019 the brings together young people from all over Europe to meet in one of the major Baltic cities, giving them a platform to make their voices heard. After Riga (2019), Vilnius (2020), Tallinn (2021) and Riga (2022), we will meet in 2023 in Tartu, home to Estonia’s oldest university and European Capital of Culture 2024. The Tartu University Library will serve as our conference venue.


From 26 to 29 October participants of the conference will have the opportunity to join working groups that focus on policy development and civic engagement. Four clusters will allow young Europeans to involve themselves as Youth Ambassadors in developing sustainable policy approaches in the realms of the environment, economy, society and values – drafting their own policy and position papers that subsequently will be disseminated to political actors and decision-makers.


Concurrently, the German-Baltic Youth Exchange Network (GBYEN) will bring together stakeholders from civil society, administration, politics and beyond to explore future challenges and opportunities of youth exchange in the Baltic region and Europe. Working sessions will be embedded in an inspiring programme that comprises networking opportunities, expert keynotes and insight into local best practice and culture.


While the clusters’ and GBYEN’s work evolve separately during the conference, the keynote speeches are open to all participants and intend to give impulses both for the clusters and the network. Also, the opening and closing ceremonies will be attended together.


The work of the clusters is led under the motto “Europe shall hear you”, which is carried by the objective to make the voices and opinions of young people in Europe visible and heard. The heads of cluster will work with selected youth ambassadors online between June and September and will complete the policy papers at the conference in Tartu. The theme of this year's cluster work is "Freedom as a shared European value" and each cluster will focus on a specific subtopic within this theme.


The clusters are divided as follows:

· Cluster A: “Environmental Freedom”

· Cluster B: “Freedom of Speech”

· Cluster C: “Freedom of Movement”

· Cluster D: “Freedom of Creative Expression”


The German-Baltic Youth Exchange Network (GBYEN) will focus this year on “sustainable communication and media usage in international youth work” as core topic. Questions like how youth organizations can contribute to a valuable communication about values and beliefs and what the potential of sustainable youth work is in tackling disinformation on media platforms will be discussed, with the overall aims of:


· getting first-hand insight and learning from best practices

· formulating answers for the future work and missions of institutions and organizations

dedicated to youth exchange in the Baltic region

· inspiring the future work of the German-Baltic Youth Exchange Network (GBYEN)

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