Youth parliaments cand help change young people’s basic attitudes about politics. By participating, they learn that they do not have to be passive recipients of older people’s advice or stand by when their leaders adopt youth policies at odds with what they need or want. Instead, the parliament gives them a collective voice with which to address authority. They are not helpless individuals but members of a group that can have an impact on their society.

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Youth parliaments have successfully provided venues through which governmental bodies can learn about and include young people’s perspectives when considering policies affecting them. The Essex Youth Council in England exemplifies this sort of interaction. However, even in instances where governmental agencies resist the inclusion of youth perspectives, youth assemblies encourage political consciousness and activism on the individual level by both providing a forum for discussion and a way to develop coalitions with other young people.

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Bibliography: Participation For All – A Youth Parliament Handbook. Michael K. Middleton

International Debate Education Association

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