International Congress “Young People Constructing Worlds - Capacities and Limits of Action for Change” in Madrid

Logo CongressOn 14th and 15th October 2010, the Youth and Society Postgraduate Studies of the Spanish Distance University (UNED) have carried out an International Congress in Madrid, in the famous Círculo de Bellas Artes. The congress targeted experts from Europe and Latin America: professionals who work in the youth area, experts on youth studies, members of youth groups and associations, young people engaged in collective projects, and students interested in questions related with young people’s lives. It offered a discussion platform on the capacities and limits of young people to transform the world in which they live.

In contrast to a perspective which treats young people as clients of public authorities, as source of problems or as victims of the society in which they live, this congress intended to increase knowledge on young people as social and political actors, with capacities to transform the reality in which they live, but also subject to the limits that they have to confront to engage in effective action.

The discussions of the congress have been organized around three dimensions: first, reflection and research on different aspects of young people’s lives in current societies, on their needs, interests, and actions; second, concrete experiences that reflect young people’s capacity to act and, third, contributions of protagonists of the youth world, that is, young people themselves and professionals who work in this field. Its contents have been divided in four panels:

Panel 1: Personal, intimate and gender relations: The limits of change?

Panel 2: Social Innovations and political creativity

Panel 3: The transformation of community: from users to protagonists

Panel 4: Are the models of youth programs and policies outdated?

Three members from the EGRIS network have been presenting their considerations - Barbara Stauber, University of Tuebingen, who has been on of the opening key note speakers ("Capabilities and limits of the transformative action of youth - some insights from (European) research on youth transitions", Vitor Sergio Ferreira, ICS, University of Lisbon, who has been part of the table of experts with regard to Social innovation and political creativity (“Youth Scenes and Citizenship: Politics of Resistance or Arts of Existence?"), and Andreu López Blasco, who has been contributing to the final session on “Possibilities of transformative action of young people”.

Congress website: