Is the interest of the state in the interest of its citizens? This question is increasingly difficult to answer unequivocally, especially when observing events in one of Lithuania’s neighbouring countries. The use of state resources against its own citizens raises serious questions about the future of such a state. Therefore, we believe that it is time to talk about the “foundations” – the things that form the basis for our peaceful coexistence: a democratic system and a conscious (provocation-resistant) society. The Summer Academy 2021, a three-day educational event, is dedicated to raising young people’s awareness and critical thinking, and to building resilience to disinformation and conflict provocation. The event consists of presentations by invited guests and experts, workshops and a debate competition.
Participants will develop awareness as a personal and as a crucial civic attribute through presentations by experts and public figures. We will aim to present awareness as a long-term societal project that requires continuous effort and is inseparable from the existence of a democratic state and civil society. A very important part of the event is that we will link the context of awareness to the events in Belarus, the rise of civil society and the resistance against the illegitimate authoritarian regime.
We will also organise a workshop that will explore various issues related to resilience. Unlike the lectures, the workshop will give participants the opportunity to interact directly with the experts, to ask questions, and to seek concrete solutions to the issues at hand. It is also very important for us that the event is organised in cooperation with regional communities and that local people are able to join in the activities: the Summer Academy will be open and free of charge. We are deliberately choosing not to organise the event in the biggest cities in Lithuania and focusing on areas where there is little or no discussion on the above topics and where there are few or no opportunities for the population to build resilience and awareness.
And critical thinking is developed through the debate competition. The Summer Academy debates will give the participants the opportunity to delve deeply into their chosen topic, to address it in a reasoned and structured way, and to present the content in a way that is up-to-date (from today’s perspective) and interactive for both the debaters and the audience. In the debates we will try to answer questions on how to achieve sustainable democracy.
The Summer Academy is just one of the many events organised by the Association to promote democratic values, critical thinking and citizenship. We look forward to welcoming the participants of the Summer Academy at many of our other events, trainings and public debates across Lithuania. We offer all participants the opportunity to join the Association’s community and to continue to actively participate in our activities. Our aim is to engage young people in building sustainable democracy in the long term.