We spoke with Albert Pampalona Lisnenko, Co-Founder of the non-profit organisation The Young Politicians’ Convention (YPolCon) about his mission to engage youth voters with politics.
A student at St Peter’s School Barcelona, Albert was also a finalist in the 2023 4Voices Competition, of which MumAbroad is one of the founding partners. The second edition of the public speaking competition took place at the CaixaForum in Barcelona with the theme ‘Cultivating Courage’.
The Young Politicians’ Convention (YPolCon) is a global non-profit organisation that aims to spread political awareness among teenagers around the world, to foster political comprehension and participation. Our goal is to engage young people with politics to increase youth voter turnout and avoid electoral dissatisfaction. This would help to make informed decisions when voting and elect better leaders who represent the values young people stand for.
We currently target high school students aged 14-18 as they are the next generation of voters. It’s important they understand politics now so they are ready to vote, when they gain the right to do so.
We also try to engage college students with our initiative as we must make sure the decisions they make when casting a ballot to support their favourite candidate are informed and well-reasoned. These are the two generations that can actually make a change in the next electoral season.
I always liked to read about world events and the things that were happening throughout the world. I enjoyed classes at school to do with international relations, government systems and governments managing their economies.
However, what really pushed me to start YPolCon was the realisation of all the fake news and misleading media coverage arising from the Ukraine war as well as all the misinformation spread during other countries’ elections.
I believe that misinformation spread online really hinders the message that certain politicians are trying to convey to young people. Not knowing the full picture often misleads our thoughts and causes us to stand for things we otherwise wouldn’t. We hope to give members a full picture of politics for them to later decide what they want to believe or defend.
One of the most common reasons is that many young people feel that no matter how much they engage with politics, they can’t make a personal impact. I believe this feeling of powerlessness is justified, as it can sometimes feel like our opinions and beliefs aren’t truly represented by our politicians. However, we shouldn’t let this feeling limit our voices in the world of politics, because youth, can in fact make a change.
A lack of time to dedicate to researching candidates, understanding the current political arena, and even going out to cast a ballot during election season is also an important factor affecting youth’s engagement with politics. Nonetheless, it is crucial to make time to vote, because our opinions will never be represented if no ballot is cast.
Our end goal is to solve low youth voter turnout: a stark problem present in democracies throughout the world.
“18-30 years is the demographic that consistently votes the least in every type of election; parliamentary, presidential, local etc. We are trying to increase youth voter turnout by providing them with an opportunity to learn about politics now, so they get into the habit of researching and talking about politics as they become young adults. In this way we can ensure topics such as climate change, abortion rights, taxing systems etc that the youth cares about are duly tackled in parliament.”
We also strive to offer a globally accessible platform for teenagers to freely express their own opinions on political matters without judgement whilst also gaining insights from professionals in the sector from political science professors to NGO leaders, company executives and others.
We want to provide a learning opportunity for teenagers in the form of two weekly online sessions, where we first discuss major political events that have recently taken place and later spend a second session defending our stance, whether we’re in favour or against the political events.
“This way, young people have an opportunity to directly engage with and participate in national and international politics in a safe learning environment, allowing them to become informed citizens and conscientious voters. Through these weekly activities, our aim is to engage thousands of teenagers across the globe with politics.”
Additionally, we will offer teenagers the chance to have their own independently-conducted academic research published with us, on any social science of their choice. We will also give them the opportunity to write opinion articles or op-eds on political matters of interest to them.
We also have guest speaker sessions, where individuals who are in contact with the industry will share their insights on politics with YPolCon members. Finally, we are also planning to organise an in-person global summit in Barcelona for all YPolCon members to attend toward the end of this school year – June 2024. We’ll debate, network and have a fun time!
Our founding board is composed of four motivated individuals with a keen interest in the world of political science and who strongly believe in YPolCon’s cause.
Going out on stage and presenting my speech on how bullying could be solved thanks to martial arts was a riveting experience. Through the weekly sessions we had with our mentors, Gabriella and Cormac, I believe the finalists learned a lot about how to express their opinions and ideas.
My 4Voices journey really made me feel confident in my beliefs and myself, and it was one of the intricate pieces of the puzzle that motivated me to found and pursue YPolCon. I now have a zeal to make change thanks to 4Voices.
I was born in Barcelona to a Spanish father and a Ukrainian mother. My father passed away when I was 6 years old and since then, it has been myself, my mother and my grandmother living closely together.
When the news of the Ukraine war came out, it greatly affected my mother and grandma. It took a toll on their emotional well-being and it left a significant mark on my family. To this day, the war is still ongoing, with lives lost daily.
There aren’t a ton of things I can do to stop the war. In fact, there’s barely any. However, I have seen throughout the years that Westernised democracies value freedom of speech, and there is no better way of spreading awareness of any issue, than by simply talking about it. It is through remembering and discussing something that you keep it alive. It is also by talking about an issue that you get to share your perspective, share your ideas and make that issue one of primary concern. I want the injustices that our world is facing to be talked about.
However many people’s opinions and perspectives can be correct and valid as long as they are accompanied by logic and reason. I want these two things to be the pillars driving the YPolCon movement.
Readers can definitely check out any of our social media accounts on LinkedIn, Instagram or X (aka Twitter). We are also currently developing a YouTube channel for YPolCon, which will launch in the coming months.
Our website is currently under development and is set to be ready soon. Those who are interested will be able to subscribe to our weekly YPolCon newsletter there and register themselves to become an official member of the non-profit on our website.
4Voices is a pioneering collaboration between MumAbroad.com and the public speaking consultancy Educate to Communicate. 4Voices is a unique platform for young people to hone their public speaking and social communication skills and also offers a range of courses for students and teachers alike.
To find out more about 4Voices public speaking competitions and courses, contact email@example.com