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Youth policy remains priority of Russian govt – minister

September 24, 2012, 22:50 UTC+3

Dmitry Livanov believes it necessary to ensure “personal development and acquisition by young people of different competences: professional and personal”

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ST. PETERSBURG, September 24 (Itar-Tass) —— Youth policy remains one of the priorities of the Russian leadership, Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov said.

Conferences of European Ministers responsible for Youth in St. Petersburg on Monday, September 24, Livanov said, “Youth policy today is one of the priorities of the Russian leadership.”

Young people aged 14 to 30 make up nearly one-fourth of the country’s population – about 36 million.

“Creating conditions for engaging young people in social practices to give them self-confidence and make them wanted in society” is one of the pressing tasks, the minister said.

He also believes it necessary to ensure “personal development and acquisition by young people of different competences: professional and personal”.

However, Livanov also stressed the need for young people to “develop values” such as “the family, tolerance and mutual respect”.

“We see three sets of problems that are facing young people today. The first one is growing globalisation and competition. Every person should succeed [in these conditions] and get necessary resources for development. The second one is growing cultural diversity: it is necessary to look for ways to increase tolerance and positive socialisation of young people. Thirds, lack of participation [by young people] in political institutions,” Livanov said.

“We understand that European countries are also experiencing these problems. This is why we want not only to synchronise our agendas but also to work out programmes of cooperation for the future,” he said.

“Russia advocates a stronger role for the Council of Europe as a leading pan-European format for cooperation in the fields of youth policy and education,” the minister said.

In his opinion, the Council of Europe should help “strengthen a common legal and humanitarian space in Europe”, but this will be possible only if these goals are shared not only by governmental agencies but also by civil society.

The 9th Conference has brought together officials from 45 member states of the European Cultural Convention, the United States and other countries as well as international organisations such as UNICEF, the World Bank, OECD – all in all, about 300 participants.

In his message to the participants in the forum, Jean-Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE),said young people should be encouraged to take part in politics.

“Young people have unprecedented access to information but this information does not necessarily give them any real say and will not always enable them to join existing associations or political bodies. Young people should therefore be encouraged to take part in politics,” Mignon said at the opening of the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth.

“Young people seem to want more participatory democracy. It is no longer enough for them to be spectators; they demand their own forums for discussion, where their opinions will be truly taken into account," added Mr Mignon, pointing out that the PACE had opened lines of enquiry on related subjects such as education for citizenship, establishing Youth Councils, holding Youth ‘States-Generals’, the use of social networks by leading politicians to communicate with young people and access for the young to political office.

“The Youth Assembly, which is to be held by the PACE in Strasbourg on 5-7 October 2012, is a step in precisely the right direction. We want to give young people a chance not only to express themselves but to be on an equal footing with politicians when discussing issues which affect all of our societies and young people in particular,” Mignon said.

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