The Big Question debate series continued on Wednesday 10th June and was a roaring success. Political commentator and special advisor on youth policy Kenny Imafidon chaired the fully-booked event which saw a lively and enthusiastic crowd debate issues of young people, politics and power. The event was hosted and organised by the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations.
The Big Question series kicked off in February with a thought-provoking discussion about building communities of trust and peace led by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. It continued in April with a challenging debate on whether it was right to talk to terrorists, bringing together a victim, an ex-terrorist and leading experts on the issue.
‘Election 2015: How was it for you?‘ aimed to take a closer look at young people and their engagement with politics. The panelists were: Curtis Blanc, former prisoner turned entrepreneur, founder of Tisrespect Enterprise music and artist management, award-winning volunteer; Sawsan Bastawy, Birmingham CEO of Bite the Ballot, a party-neutral, youth democracy movement which has aimed to get young people engaged in the political process; Rose Neelam, a political and student activist from Birmingham who works to support Muslim youth on issues of sexuality, Islamaphobia and empowerment and Nathan Coyle, manager of Social Breakfast, a young person’s civic engagement organisation that looks to give people a voice via social innovation and civic tech.
The debate raised a number of key arguments when it came to young people and their relationship with political discourse. “Young people need to feel valued for their contributions to society, then their work ethic will increase”, said Curtis Blanc. Curtis also suggested “young people have a raw understudying of politics”.
“Young people are at the heart of grassroots change and at the forefront of politics when it involves protests, petitions and expressions through writing, art, music and using social media platforms. They are often removed from traditional sources of power, which has to change to improve how democracy works in Britain today”, said Sawsan Bastawy.
Chair Kenny Imafidon spoke out about the “danger of young people not being taught politics in schools”.
The debate further cemented The Big Question series amongst the most important of events, fuelling and energising those who attended. It felt as “if we are on the brink of a revolution”, as commented by Professor Alp Ozerdem.
What are the most important issues for you when it comes to young people and politics? How did you feel about the result of the general election? Get involved in the discussion and leave us a comment below.