This year the Urdd will be participating in #UKPW for the first time. Our activities will emphasise respect and mutual understanding
The Urdd is Wales’ largest youth organization with over 57,000 members aged 8-25. We provide opportunities through the medium of Welsh for children and young people, to enable them to make positive contributions to their communities. We are proud to be participating in UK Parliament week for the first time!
The past few years have been challenging ones for politics within Wales and the UK.
Our young members have witnessed the fallout of the Brexit referendum and the emergence of a particularly divisive and hostile form of politics within the UK as a whole.
The tone of political debate has taken a turn for the worse. Social media is rife with unacceptable verbal abuse, directed disproportionately at female and BAME politicians. It is disappointing that so many young people’s experience and understanding of democracy processes has been informed by period.
The Urdd will use UK Parliamentary Week activities as an opportunity to model tolerant and inclusive political and democratic activities. It’s an opportunity for us to bring our members together to discuss what’s important to them, but also to listen to what matters to others.
Moving away from online forums, our discussions will be face-to-face. We will remember that ideas belong to people; who have both feelings and experiences that inform them.
We will emphasize the value in being flexible, to challenge and sometimes change our thinking. Compromise is essential in a functioning democracy and we must seek out the common ground and consensus where we can. Hot topics such as Independence for Wales, Mental Health and the Environment will be under discussion. We will also look at the potential that young people have to influence the current political agenda, as seen with the school strikes movement highlighting the Climate Emergency.
There has always been a political and progressive element to the work of the Urdd. Since it was established in 1922, Urdd members have been sending out an annual message of Peace and Goodwill to the children and young people of the world each May. This tradition continued through World Wars and significant changes in communication techniques. The Urdd was also one of the first organizations to welcome young Germans after World War II and we continue to work on developing our international links today. We are confident that by working together and respecting each other we can overcome the turbulent times of today as we have done many times before.