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Young Leaderschip and dialogue


City of Rotterdam


In 2014, a new city council of Rotterdam was appointed and an integration tour consisting of dialogue tables was put forward in the college’s working programme. The counsil aspires a city where citizens understand one another and are engaged with each other’s lives. A city where citizens support each other and take care of one another, where citizens respect each other, thereby transcending ethnic and religious differences. Each citizen has the same rights and duties, disregarding their colour, descent, social status, religion or background. The dialogue in the city started with WE-meetings, which were held after the terrorist attacks in Paris. The college seeks to prioritize several items on the agenda, namely equal position m/f, emancipation, equal position of LGBT+, gay emancipation, equal treatment, combatting discrimination and a solid base. The Youth Desk committed to supporting organising and facilitating dialogue tables for young persons at risk. We did this together with the Albeda Startcollege. Additionally, the college put forward the development of the next century skills and young leadership programme.   

In collaboration with the Albeda Startcollege (intake, precursor and continuation of studies at MBO 1- vocational studies) the Youth Desk organised dialogue tables for young persons at risk.


Most young persons from this target group are not yet used to providing and sharing their personal opinions and hence need some preparations on the theme. According to the participation ladder by Roger Hart, the young persons are at rung 4: 'young people assigned and informed'.  
The theme was ‘equal position of different genders and emancipation’ and questions about their experiences in Rotterdam, what they can contribute, where they aspire to live in 15 years (dreams). Participation was voluntary and in order to enable everyone to speak freely and feel safe, the group consisted of classmates. The questions about living, doing and dreaming in Rotterdam originate in the exercise from the programmes on language development and Next Century Skills and Young Personal Leadership from the municipality.


The Youth Desk organised a dialogue table for our young persons or interns. Here, questions from the college were put forward, emphasising positions and experiences with discrimination in the process of job applications and working.

A yearly dialogue table is part of the curriculum of the pre-mbo. In 2017, an expert meeting on language was organised for the Youth Desk’s youth coaches. Students of the programme pre-mbo were also invited.
The programme of this meeting consisted of two parts;
First part, a lecture about low literacy and then the dialogue table with 2 questions:

1) How were you feeling when you first came to the Youth Desk?
2) How were you feeling when you left?
In additions, we asked for points to be improved.

The dialogue table is delivered as a format, free to use. Making and encouraging personal leadership is part of the method and influenced by the themes and questions. The implementation of dialogue tables is included in the contract with the route provider. Personal leadership and next century skills are included in a Program of the municipality. Does not require special training, but knowledge and attention for the underprivileged context in which the young person grows up.


In the preparatory phase we have meetings with our partners every 5 months, besides this we had meetings with our professionals who volunteered. To prepare the young persons and our professionals it took us a year.


The dialogue tables contributed positively to participants’ mutual understanding, insight in ones’ own norms and values, attention for each other and expressing your own position/opinion. Short oral evaluation and inquiring in the classroom and Youth Desk at release photo album.



High degree / regularly

Gender sensitivity:

High degree / regularly

Culture sensitivity:

High degree / regularly

Doable (practical):

High degree / regularly


High degree / regularly

Replicable and adaptable:

High degree / regularly


High degree / regularly

Type of good practice

Methods, Organisational structure or tool


Democratic dialogue, Promoting democratic values, Social inclusion, Youth civic participation


One month or less

Type of activity

Group activity


Participation ladder Roger Hart, Socratics dialogue, Format dialogue table city of Rotterdam, Tables, Location.


Willy Wolters


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