In March 2014 I was invited to speak at the annual national gathering of the municipal youth councils/parliaments, hosted by Gotse Delchev Municipal Youth Parliament.
This is one of the greatest audiences to speak in front of, as I will aways feel part of it, no matter the age. Since 2005 I’ve been engaged in the development of youth policy and projects on a regional, national and transborder level. Always involved with community work and causes, I have participated in the foundation of the Municipal Youth Council, the Regional Youth Information & Consultation Center, and the Consultative Body on Youth Policy in my home town of Pernik.
In 2014, long after my high-school activist years were over, it was a great pleasure to be able to share ideas and experience with the bright young minds of today.
The conference turned out to be in a middle of period, dominated by social and political unrests around the country, but also around the Globe, after a long period of economic stagnation, rise of youth unemployment, and a lack of clear perspective for the young generation. So I was therefore invited to speak on the topic of civil activism and its role in the development of one better society. Society that provides more opportunities for its young people, but also one that builds better positioned individuals, in terms of skills, knowledge, and a character, to cope with the new environment.
Quite honestly, I was not sure if the topic, presented in the form of synthesis of academic thought, state-of-the-art analysis, personal experience and practical advises, would fit into the event, but still wanted to share something with the audience that is to stay and provoke further discussions, research.. Basically, I’ve aways believed that it is of great importance for our personal and social development, to be able to connect our experiences with the ”bigger picture”, because the skills needed to make these connections are the ones that position us better in changing environments. So this was what i wanted to deliver as a key message and food for thought.
By the way,there were also other great young speakers invited to share ideas and personal success stories to be followed. The team behind “Bulgarian History” project, for example. Young journalists, entrepreneurs and NGO activists which were all successful in their talks and connected well with the event.
So, how the title of this present article relates to all this? Well, simple. The role and importance of civil activism is to be understood in the circumstances of the surrounding environment. And I, just as Alvin Toffler, belive that we are living in times of transformation from one form of social organization into another. Understanding this better, might just help the young audience to position themselves better, to equip themselves with the right kind of mindset.
Toffler believes that along the transition to the “third wave”, the mass character of the way things are done will disappear from many aspects of our lives and will be replaced by more varied forms of communication, education, entertainment, to say, consistent with the unique desires of the individuals. And i added that the systems that are unwilling to adapt to the transformation, shall become (and are obviously becoming) turbulent and shaky due to their unwillingness. Eventually they would become substituted by modern forms of organization – horizontal and freelance. The example with education in particular, is discussed in another article on the site.
My main point in front of the audience was that most creative acts are generally unexpected and originate in the minds of people who are interacting with their environment. Hence, maximizing data processing in students’ minds – encouraging them to be proactive, out of their regular educational, or professional duties, shall provide the positive conditions for creativity to flourish, and eventually for achievement of positive outcome of the crisis, that the young generation has been involved in, and severely impacted by.
It’s not about the direct, short-term, result, it’s about the attempt that matters and delivers the value in the long run.
I have written an extensive article on the subject, published by the international online journal “Human Rights & Democracy”. Inside the article I develop in details the topics of horizontal governance and collaboration through networks, the freelance politics principle, and argue that citizens are getting more and more sensitive and reactive to those issues that in the past would have only been coped superficially and without in-depth analyses, due to the fact that more and more institutional gaps have to be filled through personal responsibility and proactiveness. And this is the chance for the new generation to shine. Later on, the article was refered to when explaining the construct and the building principles behind one of Bulgaria’s most influential civil movements currently present.