Organised by the Cook Islands National Youth Council, it is aimed at young Cook Islanders aged 18-35 and will increase awareness of the importance of Cook Islands youth voting in the election on June 14.
“This is particularly significant in light of the upcoming political elections on June 14,” said youth council president Sieni Tiraa.
The meeting will include a two-day workshop which will aim to explain the processes which occur within parliament during election time. The event is intended to provide a platform for youth to be involved in political discussion and participate in the processes.
“Our young people are our future politicians, our future leaders,” said Tiraa.
“It is incredibly important that they play an active role, and are given a voice which is listened to, when deciding how our country is run. This is the country they’ll one day lead.”
Participants in the ELECT Youth Parliament will come from a range of community, government, and non-government roles.
Workshops will deliver a range of presentations from politicians, parliamentarians and those who have been active in encouraging youth participation in politics. There will be an opportunity for participants to visit Parliament House, meet with the Speaker of the House, and take part in a debate on the Crimes Bill in the setting of a parliamentary sitting.
“There is some social stigma in the Cook Islands around youth being involved in politics. Youth are often considered as being too inexperienced and not having earned their way to becoming politicians through experience,” says CINYC vice-president, Liam Kokaua.
“We hope this event will inspire our current generation of young adults to learn more about politics, how elections and parliament actually works, and even consider running for election themselves sometime in the near future.”
Participants from all of the Southern Group islands will be attending, and the northern islands will be represented.
Cook Islands National Youth Council is grateful for the support of the Cook Islands government through the Social Impact Fund and Air Rarotonga for their sponsorship of two participants from each of the Southern Group islands to attend ELECT.