The future belongs to the young, and in Geneva, this maxim takes on its full meaning with the 4th Conférence romande des enfants. Organized by Terre des Hommes Suisse and the Swiss Council on Youth Activities (CSAJ), this conference is a powerful symbol of Switzerland’s commitment to giving young people a voice in society.
On November 18, 2023, Geneva will be the setting for a constructive dialogue between 46 young people, aged 10 to 12, and leading politicians. These children, representing the cantons of Valais, Fribourg, Vaud and Geneva, have been chosen by their peers to take on the role of ambassadors for children’s rights.
Three-day retreat to develop policy recommendations
Their mission begins on November 15 in Martigny, where a three-day retreat awaits them. Here, in a setting conducive to reflection, they will take part in workshops focusing on equality, a healthy and sustainable environment, and special protection. These themes, chosen by the children themselves, reflect their concerns and their vision of the world.
On the final day of the event, they will present their recommendations to influential political figures. This will be the culmination of a participatory and democratic process, in which children will have the opportunity to express their views on issues that affect them closely.
The conference will not be short of personalities: State Councillor Lisa Mazzone, Christina Kitsos, Vassilis Vénizelos and Philip Jaffé, to name but a few, who have already demonstrated their commitment to listening to young voices in the past. They will be joined by new political figures, underlining the importance attached to these exchanges.
Continuing the commitment after November 18
The Conférence romande des enfants is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of children’s rights, an ambassadorial mission and a commitment to ensuring that the recommendations made are not just empty words. Political follow-up is already planned with figures such as National Councillors Samira Marti and Katharina Prelicz-Huber and Marie-France Roth Pasquier, to ensure that these voices are heard at the highest level.
The young people won’t stop there. In February 2024, they will have the honor of taking part in a day of immersion in national politics in Berne, offering them a unique window into the workings of Swiss democracy.
To follow this initiative, a livestream of the conference will be available on November 18 from our dedicated Children’s Conference page. Further information can be obtained from Emmanuelle Birraux for Terre des Hommes Switzerland and Nadine Aebischer for the SNYC.