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Children’s Parliament

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The creation of The Parliament of Children and Young People in Usti nad Labem dates back to the turn of the years 1999 and 2000 so that its term of office is sufficiently long for the parliament to integrate into various areas of the public life.  The background of the parliament is provided by SDM Tilia in collabo-ration with the Youth Center in Usti nad Labem.  The parliament associates children between 12 and 18 years of age.  The MPs are pupils of elementary schools as well as students of secondary schools who want to utilize their free time, are communicative and have an ability to materialize their ideas. With respect to the age limitation the parliament has a continuously changing membership and new persons get the opportunity to distinguish themselves and bring in their sug-gestions.  The logo of the parliament is formed by  one of the big symbols of the city—the Mariansky Bridge across Elbe.

Members of parliament have regular meetings to discuss school issues, free time activities, problems on the municipal and district level and anything young people may be interested in.  It is a positive feature of the parliamentary life that opinions are not force from the part of the adult who are infrequently invited to participate in the meetings only as guests. Everything is under the control of the Parliament leaders.  The level of involvement in the meeting reflects its importance.  Sometimes it may include only five people, e.g. when invitations are prepared and sent out for various events, promotion materials are arranged and details are discussed.  In other cases the participation may be over twenty and minutes of the meeting are taken.  These are cases when important issues are on the agenda—voting is done, organizational details are discussed, meetings with politicians, businessmen and other VIPs are reported and events for children are prepared like Children's audiences, various competitions for children or environmental activities.  Recently, one of the main topics was the meeting of the Regional parliament of children and young people.

Regional Parliament of Children and Young People was organized with the help of the City youth center that initiated the creation of children's parliament in other big towns of Usti nad Labem region.  These parliaments meet regularly (approximately once in two months) to discuss issues of regional importance and exchange experience.   The Regional Parliament has a successful record of three meetings, its seat will be in Decin in turn after Usti nad Labem. 

The youth center arranges Children's Audiences for children and young people from elementary and secondary schools to meet politicians, environmental activists and representatives of important regional companies that influence the life in the city.  The audiences are often arranged at special occasions (communal elections, Earth Day, etc) that present the main topic on the program.   The audiences are very popular and give all young people who are not indifferent to what is happe-ning around them in the city to ask their questions and express their opinions about the particular issues' solutions.

Besides, the Youth Center arranges competitions in cooperation with other organizations and companies.  As a good example we can mention the ”Literary Usti” competition.  Some works (poems and short stories) inspired by the city, its environs and the environment are as good as to make it quite difficult for the jury to decide which is the best. 

Another competition under the auspices of the Mayor is called ”Do you know your rights?” with reference to the Children's Rights Agreement.  The compe-tition had two sections – creative arts and literary creation.  In the first section children were to visualize one of the selected articles of the Agreement as per-ceived by them personally and as it should be represented in reality.  The task in the second, literary section is to simplify the wording of an article to be more understandable and to write a short story or an essay on the selected article.

Another beneficial activity is the event called ”Let us make the world clean”.  Organized by the Youth Center with the help of other organizations, the event appeals to the young generation and gives it the right impulse – they remove illegal dumps, cleaning brook and woods, etc; their participation is very important and an indirect result is an awakened concern for the environment and nature around them.

The parliament addresses companies to support its activities as low funds of the Ministry of Education are not sufficient.  A good message is that the Union for Chemical and Metallurgical Production became an important partner of the Parliament.  Thanks to its financial sponsorship all of its activities could be smoothly fulfilled.  We would like to invite all young people between 12 and 18 years of age to participate in the work of the Usti Parliament of Children and Young People.  Interested children can come to meet us in any parliament session (see Table).