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

GBC 2023 Policy Paper
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The following policy papers were created during the German-Baltic Conference on the 26th to 29th of October, 2023 in Tartu, Estonia, with the contribution of 35 young Europeans (Youth Ambassadors) from 12 different countries between 18 and 30 years. The conference was preceded by an online preparatory phase since May 2023, where the Youth Ambassadors could gather in four thematic clusters under the guidance of a Head of Cluster. In monthly online meetings, they could discuss ideas, conduct research, and set up a framework for their policy paper, accompanied by an online lecture by an expert in the thematic field as well as an overarching workshop on how to write a policy paper. During the conference, the clusters could refine their papers that were then finalized by mid-November 2023.

For this year's core topic, we have chosen a profound concept that serves as a foundational value in our European coexistence: "Freedom." Throughout human history, the multifaceted dimensions of freedom have remained pivotal. Yet, even today the term is vague and disputed as evidenced by discussions surrounding COVID policies and the demands of the Iranian women's movement. These examples underscore the subjective nature of freedom, contingent upon individual perspectives and interpretations, leading to varying opinions on how the concept should be defined and understood.

The complexity of the concept offers an excellent opportunity to examine it from very different angles. The Heads of Cluster identified four sub-topics for the policy papers, which were subsequently refined in collaboration with the Youth Ambassadors. This process focused on specific questions or topics aligned with their respective fields of interest or priorities. As a result, the following four approaches were selected: Environmental Freedom, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Movement, and Freedom of Creative Expression.


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