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Gabrielius Landsbergis

VU IIRPS alumni, member of the Lithuanian parliament

What are the biggest challenges that the youth face when they want to pursue a career in politics?

For a long time in Lithuania it was common to think that “politics is not for young people”. Hence, it is a matter of a point of view. Even now some of the political parties question if young people can offer something for the political field. But, I think, this notion will change. More and more people go into politics, they speak freely about the concerns they have. In general, changes are coming.

Social networks emerged as a new form of political participation. How do you think social networks as a phenomena affect youth and their political thinking?

Social networks affect their thinking immensely. It is obvious that political culture is changing as a reaction to what the people want. It is not enough to communicate to the people through a simple, static press release. If young people find a different way of communicating with the politicians on Facebook they are no longer satisfied with the simplistic communication through press releases. They are able to write a personal message to the politician. Facebook in general is a space where you can find a lot of transparency because it does not forgive for missteps simply. It makes fun of you, views the politicians ironically. That makes interesting dynamics. Nevertheless, we are able to many things through the social media. It is a space where you can show that politics is not some kind of ivory tower where only blue bloods sit. They are the same people as you are: they doubt, they discuss, they make judgments which are of importance to all of us. This is the republic.