Conference: European Symposium on the Development of Critical Youth Citizenship

Location: Köln, Germany

Dates: 5-14 May 2020

Participating countries: Eastern Partnership countries,Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme countries, Western Balkan countries

Number of participants: 80

Apply here: application form (need to register on SALTO)

Organizer: JUGEND für Europa

Deadline to apply: 12 April 2020

Date of Selection: 20 April 2020

Inquiries about this project:


Participation fee
This project is financed by the participating National Agencies (NAs) of the Erasmus+ Youth in Action Programme. The participation fee varies from country to country. Please contact your National Agency or SALTO Resource Centre (SALTO) to learn more about the participation fee for participants from your country.

Accommodation and food
Unless specified otherwise, the hosting NA or SALTO of this offer will organise the accommodation and covers the costs for accommodation and food.

Travel reimbursement
Please contact your NA or SALTO in order to know whether they would support your travel costs. If yes, after being selected, get in touch with your NA or SALTO again to learn more about the overall procedure to arrange the booking of your travel tickets and the reimbursement of your travel expenses.

European Symposium on the Development of Critical Youth Citizenship

European Symposium on the Development of Critical Youth Citizenship –

Download the PDF file .

An interdisciplinary symposium to introduce and debate the concept of critical youth citizenship, strengthen and promote the civic mission of youth work, foster synergies and collaboration amongst those supporting the political dimension of youth work.

Over the past decades, there have been numerous forms and approaches in the youth work field to foster political and democratic competencies in youth. While these approaches have to a larger or smaller degree different origins, conceptual frameworks and pedagogy in use, they all aim to support the personal and political emancipation of young people and develop their competencies as democratic, critical and civically engaged citizens.

However, European youth work has progressively lost the explicit focus and emphasis on this fundamental mission of youth work, and other topics such as employability and learning mobility have gained in prominence.

In the context of increasing and persisting challenges in Europe, a realignment of youth work to a value-based approach, supporting the development of youth into resilient, critical and engaged citizens, is needed. This is the content and conclusion of many recent debates within the community of practice as such, as well as a clear statement in the EU-Youth Strategy.

Starting with a European conference in 2017, JUGEND für Europa, together with SALTO South East Europe Resource Centre (SALTO SEE) and several National Agencies of Erasmus+ Youth in Action, has engaged on the issue of the political dimension in youth work. Following a process of reflection with numerous stakeholders, in 2020 JUGEND für Europa published the discussion paper “What’s politics got to do with it? European youth work support programmes and the development of critical youth citizenship” by Yael Ohana.

In summary of the paper one could say that critical youth citizenship focuses on power, emancipation and true engagement of young people, it deconstructs power relations, puts young people into focus and gives them opportunity to be competent co-creators of the European polity. Critical youth citizenship is thus not a new concept, but a term that could unite various approaches, highlight their communalities without questioning their originality, and as such can be useful to identify synergies, open up avenues for collaboration and peer-learning amongst different youth work actors and approaches.

The upcoming symposium aims to build upon the preceding process and provide a dynamic exchange between around 80 professionals from the field of youth work who consider it valuable to explore the concept of critical youth citizenship further and collaboratively investigate it’s scope for application. The symposium aims to initiate a constructive discourse, generate momentum and provide a platform to reconfirm the willingness to support the political in youth work.


  • To introduce and critically reflect on the concept of critical youth citizenship and it’s relevance for the European youth work community of practice
  • To share and draw inspiration from each other’s work around fostering young people’s critical citizenship, with a European and international perspective
  • To identify current and possible future measures to strengthen critical youth citizenship by the various actors present, both within their own professional fields and by fostering synergies and collaboration amongst them


The program will include keynotes, presentations, workshops and panel discussions, with a strong focus on providing opportunities for dialogue within and in between the various stakeholder groups present. This will be enhanced by the perspectives of International youth work experts, as well as inspirational stories by participants of the symposium.

The detailed program will be published here in the beginning of April 2020.

Please note that arrival will be on 3 June 2020 by midday and departure will be on 5 June 2020 after lunch.

More info

  • The process so far
  • Summary of the paper “What’s politics got to do with it? European youth work support programmes and the development of critical youth citizenship”