Conclusions of the subjects 1996

Theme 1996: Youth & youth cultures

The role of the arts in a Europe on the way to integration.
A debate on social and cultural issues with political implications.
Sixth Symposium August 17-23 1996, at the SBI, Holland.


  1. Unions, political parties and (artist)organizations should unite in the diagnosis, action plan and mission to improve the well-being of the various groups of our society. Uniting logical and emotional thinking, bureaucratic and creative input, enriches this diagnosis, this action plan and this mission.
  2. It is important to recognize the different character of the various groups, so it is important to understand the different needs of the various groups. This requires an ongoing dialogue, study, participation on political, social, educational, religious, artistic and personal levels which should result in different actions to sustain those groups.
  3. Pluriformity is a great promise because it enriches the community. We should learn how to live with differences: ethnic, age, religious, purpose of life, studies, orientation, political and social choices.
  4. To shape the future is to invest in youth, youth-education (technical, political, social, cultural, creative, religious).
  5. At the same time governmental and NGO's should learn to understand the character, values and purposes of the various youth-cultures.
  6. There is no generation gap, there is no generation-X, there is no lost-generation. Those false analysises are clouds to cover up the unwillingness for communication. So the ones who hold the power and influence sometimes use this false analysis to hold power, influence, and benefits to block access to the market (position) for the young generations.
  7. Most problems between the generations in western society are the same as the communication problems approaching an unknown tribe. Unless we really want, unless we really try to understand the other's cultural, moral, social, religious, artistic frame-work, we cannot communicate and we may keep seeing the others as a danger; a threat to our comfortable life-style.
  8. At the same time many forms of youth-cultures exist. In a period of life youth can be part of a number of different youth-cultures, while he/she is "growing up". And even when we say this word "growing up", we may see the cultures, values and goals of the so called "mature people" of more importance than the various youth cultures. If we do so, we prove our lack of understanding, insight and willingness to communicate on an equal level.
  9. Believing in the future means a true policy of investment in youth; that requires:
    • a stop on cuts on educational, training, schooling programmes.
    • the schools should place an emphasis on creative training and intelligence, not just prepare them to be a better factory-employees.
    • the dominance of more liberal-market education should be stopped, it should be in balance with the other important areas of life.
    • more investments to provide youth-workers, youth-clubs, street-corner workers, centres for underprivileged youth, specialised teachers.
    • investing in work-opportunities for youth . And special projects for drop-outs.
    • a policy sustaining parents.
  10. The secularisation dogma should be questioned. It seems that youth wants to participate, is religious, believes in ethics, moral values and purposes of life; and youth is of course questioning faith, values, purpose of life. In many area's of the society there is no open mind for these facts. That youth (groups) turn away, in such cases should not surprise anybody.
  11. The adolescence period (the time between sexual maturity and marriage) has become very long: over 10 years (while in 18th, 19th century the time in between was appr. 2-4 years). This is creating strong tensions. It calls for policies, analyses and help in the areas of leisure time, spend-ing, sports, ethics, etc.
  12. The symposium delegates want to express their concern about the influence of mass-media on the youth. A call is expressed for an ethic and self-regulation especially about the level of violence.
  13. Entering a dialogue means that the young partners want to be sure that they are taken seriously. It is time for round-tables on an equal level in many areas of life.
  14. The international Christian Artists association brought political, social, cultural, delegates and artists together to reflect on their role and to develop a mission in communication to youth and understanding of youth. It is "us" who should bridge the gap and should take the first step. In this whole process of culturalisation the artists may be able to fulfil a key-role.