9.1 General context
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In Lithuania youth involvement in global issues still requires a more systematic approach for its integration in various policies, strategies and programmes.
The National Youth Policy Development Programme for 2011–2019 formulates youth policy priorities, goals, activity directions, as well as the objectives of the state and society for the period of 2011–2019. In the programme some objectives mentioned are related to global youth issues as the programme seeks: to ensure the development of social security, education and health care systems, which meets the needs of young people; to develop a conscious, public-spirited, patriotic, mature, cultural and creative young personality, capable of being an active part of diverse society; to develop and coordinate the system of youth work and to ensure the development of youth employment infrastructure; to create favourable conditions for consistent and high quality activities of youth organisations and organisations working with youth, seeking more active youth involvement in organised activities; to ensure interdepartmental and cross-sectoral cooperation in developing coherent, fact and knowledge based youth policy. In developing youth policy, interdepartmental cooperation on the local self-government and international levels is strengthened; priority is given to the promotion of youth employment, strengthening of the potential of youth organisations, development of youth work; and another important aspect is youth information and consultation on relevant issues.The Plan of Measures 2017-2019 for the Implementation of the National Youth Policy Development Programme for 2011–2019 was approved with the view of implementing youth policy priorities, goals, activity directions, as well as the objectives of the state and society within the programme timeframe. The Plan of Measures 2017-2019 for the Implementation of the National Youth Policy Development Programme for 2011–2019 has measures: 1) to encourage Lithuanian youth non-governmental organizations to cooperate more actively with the Lithuanian youth of the world, through joint efforts to ensure the preservation and fostering of national identity and culture (measure 4.4); and 2) to develop bilateral and / or multilateral cooperation with foreign countries in the field of youth policy, to analyze foreign experience and to disseminate positive experience in the formation and implementation of Lithuanian youth policy (measure 5.3).
As stated in Lithuania’s Progress Strategy (which is is the most important long-term strategy to strengthen fundamental public capacities, thus ensuring a harmonious development of the State and helping to respond to global economic and environmental changes and pressure coming from the global competition) Lithuania is a modern nation, always ready to participate in the ever growing dialogue between different cultures). In the strategy its community sense is based on the idea of ”Global Lithuania”, which means that Lithuania’s nation is solid and integral, without any divisions into Lithuanians living in Lithuania and Lithuanians living abroad. The strategy states, that Lithuanians living outside Lithuania are active in public life and contribute to the economic and cultural prosperity. The stategy address also to Lithuanian citizens and states that the values that are fostered in Lithuanian society are rooted with positive attitudes as regards solidarity with different social groups, as well as tolerance, compassion, social responsibility and responsible consumption. Oreover this strategy seeks to promote fundamental changes in society and to facilitate the formation of a creative, responsible and open personality. According to the strategy, such personality will promote innovative processes and lead to positive changes across all walks of life.
One of the objectives of the Law on Education of the Republic of Lithuania is „[...] to ensure conditions enabling a person to acquire the basics of civic and political culture that embody democratic traditions, and to develop the abilities and experience needed by a person for competence as a citizen of Lithuania and a member of the European and global community as well as of a multi-cultural society.“ Lithuania‘s educational system is also aimed to develop a young person's values enabling him/her to become an honest, knowledge-seeking, independent, responsible and patriotically-minded person; to cultivate the communication skills important in contemporary life; to reinforce the capability of society to ensure sustainable development of the country's economic, environmental and human resources, internal and external economic competitiveness, national security and the advancement of a democratic State; to convey to each person the traditions and values of the humanistic culture of Europe and of the world.19 The provisions of the Law are complemented by the National Education Strategy for 2013-2022. The strategic goal of this document is „to make Lithuania‘s education a sustainable basis for the enhancement of the state‘s wellbeing and education of a dynamic and independent personality responsible for the creation of own, country’s and world’s future“.20 The Strategy highlights that in the age of globalisation it is important to reconsider own national identity and understand what unites us (including the ones leaving and arriving to Lithuania) and relates with the State of Lithuania. One of the Strategy’s tasks is to educate, via development of relevant competences, full-fledged citizens of a rapidly changing society; improve learning and practical application environment in schools; expand the range of non-formal education schools and foster diverse activity in all schools, especially cultural self-expression, leadership and creativity, support to voluntary initiatives and cross-cultural education. The Strategy commits schools to implement substantive systemic changes.
Youth interest in global issues
The information on Lithuanian youth interest in global issues is rather fragmented. The research of the Attitudes of Youth Organizations Towards Global Issues and Global Learning in Lithuania presents a partial picture and highlights key trends on attitudes and general understanding of youth organisations in Lithuania towards global issues, global learning and their role as promoters global citizenship. The research is summarized with the following conclusions: 1) the majority of youth organisations in Lithuania recognise connections between their daily activities and the issues existing in international context; however the most frequent fields of activities are oriented toward local issues e.g. youth unemployment / occupation, increasing the level of active citizenship, dealing with social exclusion, coping with environmental issues, ensuring right to education. Global learning content connected with the mentioned fields of activities has a potential to sustain within the youth organisations because of their familiarity to the present youth workers and youth leaders. The research of the Attitudes of Youth Organizations Towards Global Issues and Global Learning in Lithuania findings also showed that youth workers and youth leaders in Lithuania were not always able to link local activities with the global dimension in their work and the majority of the activities are based on the local realities of the youth organisations, and no global aspect in them is touched. According to the research findings the thematic fields of activities, which are most of interest among youth organisations in Lithuania, are promoting intercultural dialogue, responsible consumption, healthy lifelstyle, respect for human rights, ensuring access to education. According to the research findings the issues which are not often met in the daily lives of young people are e.g. 1) work with refugees and asylum seekers; 2) employees‘ and children‘s rights; 3) access to health service etc. But the need to challenge youth organisations and train them to make links between the local and global issues is recognized by the representatives of youth organizations. A number of activities run by youth organisations are connected with developing global citizenship competencies; however, such activities had global dimension in a very small extent.