An opportunity for youth to inform policy change

If you have ideas on how to improve policies and laws concerning our digital future, now is your chance to share them.

The Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CJE NDG) alongside the Goethe-Institut and ThinkYoung has received funding from the European Union for a transatlantic dialogue exchange project called “Our Digital Future — C’est ICI.” ICI stands for inclusion, collaboration and inspiration.

“The mission of the project is to produce policy recommendations to make the digital future safer and more inclusive for everyone,” said Ekaterina Fatkulova, the project coordinator.

This Thinkathon aims to bring the policy recommendations of youth forward to governments on all three levels: municipal, provincial and federal. Participation is available for youth between 18 to 30 from all backgrounds. It is a chance for youth to share their ideas and be heard.

“The online Thinkathon has a purpose to recruit 3,000 youth from Canada and Europe to work on this online platform,” said Fatkulova. “It’s to accomplish the same thing as we do in our 24-hour events but they do it online without a 24-hour deadline. They really have more time to produce these policy recommendations.”

All participants need to do is create a profile on the website, select a topic from six themes and create a PowerPoint highlighting their ideas for policy change. Participation can be done alone or in teams of up to four people. The themes are citizenship 4.0, social relations, smart & fast-expanding cities, security, education, and culture and entertainment.

Participants have until April 12 to create a profile and submit their ideas. Once all ideas are submitted, everyone who signed up online gets to interact with a mentor. “The mentor gets to say ‘that’s a good idea but it’s missing this.’ They are going to direct [the participants] into making their idea more concrete,” said Fatkulova.

Participants vote for the winning team. Winners are sent to Brussels to present their policy recommendations. The participants from Europe will travel to Ottawa to present theirs. The ones who win second place obtain $500 per team member.

“This project is designed around the basis that young people will have a chance to get in contact with people who will take their idea seriously to inform their policy proposals,” said Lynn Worrell, a youth worker at CJE NDG and communication outreach coordinator of the project.

Last year’s 24-hour Thinkathon connected 50 participants in Montreal with 50 ones from Brussels. They had 24 hours to come up with policy recommendations. One of the policy recommendations brought forward last year was universal access to digital literacy education.

According to Fatkulova, the 50 participants believe that government officials at the provincial level should allocate the necessary resources to funding programs that would help expand universal digital literacy while making sure that vulnerable and excluded citizens are prioritized.

“This is a project that is designed for people who are going to be future leaders to have an opportunity to practice how to inform policy change—how to give their ideas to policymakers,” said Worrell. “I think that this is so important because we have to make the future a lot easier for young people to regain control over their destiny.”

To participate and share your ideas in the online Thinkathon, you can create your profile today at


Photo courtesy of Ashutosh Gupta



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