Democracy Workshops in Montenegro

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education”( Franklin D. Roosevelt).

The concept of the ‘Democracy Workshops’ has been established by the Parliament of Austria in October 2007. Young Austrians, who are entitled to vote in elections once they turn 16, learn about the parliamentarian democracy, parliamentary work, adoption and enforcement of laws, as well as the role of media in a pluralistic society. More than 50,000 pupils successfully completed the workshops from 2007 to the end of 2012.

Given the project’s great success in Austria, ERSTE Foundation has decided to bring the Democracy Workshops to Central and South Eastern Europe, and Montenegro was chosen as the first country in this region to host the workshops.

Together with the educational agency “Müllers Freunde”, which was responsible for the implementation in Austria, the Parliament of Montenegro and ERSTE Foundation selected the renowned Montenegrin NGO Forum Youth and Non-formal Education (Forum MNE) following a call for proposals. The NGO, which has been working in youth education for several years, is in charge of holding the workshops.

Since October 2012 workshops on democracy and the parliament have been held once a day in Podgorica in the immediate vicinity of the parliamentary building. A second workshop on the European Union was launched in February 2013 to satisfy the high demand. Among other activities, children aged from 9 to 15 years old produced a newspaper and a radioshow. During the academic year of 2012/2013, a total of about 6,000 pupils from 63 schools and 19 different municipalities attended the Democracy Workshops.