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EU Referendum Youth Debate

Warwick Policy Lab (WPL) joined forces with the IPF to hold a Youth Debate, aimed at engaging young voters in the EU Referendum Debate

Wednesday 8 June 2016

The debate took place at Warwick's offices in London's iconic Shard, and was attended by over 120 yound voters

Annoyed by jargon, complicated statistics, and scaremongering that had plagued the mainstream referndum coverage. The IPF team decided to collaborate with the WPL to allow young Europeans to engage, as well as understand the implications behind a decision to remain or leave.

The team felt that the only way to have this debate in an effective way, was to stand out from all other information out there, and put young people at the heart of every aspect of the event; young organisers, a young panel, and a young audience.

The event was a great success and the verly lively debate included a range of topics, such as immigration, the environment and human rights, with a focus on how the EU affects their everyday lives. The debate was followed by a drinks reception, which was attended by all panel members where further discussion took place.

EU Ref Debate

Siobhan Benita (Co-Director of the WPL) commented that:

We did this because we wanted to ensure that young people, young voters, have a say in this campaign, get a chance to debate the issues and have a chance to learn about some of the key elements that are really important

From the very beginning of the debate, the young audience played a central role and shaped the debate - deciding the direction of the discussion and which topics to cover.

EU Ref Image 2

Natasha Lipman, the IPF Founder and Director commented:

The energy, passion and level of knowledge on display proved that it's impossible to tar all young people with the 'uniformed and unengaged' brush. It has been really rare during this referndum process to see a youth debate by and for young people, where the panel talking about youth issues actually consisted of young people - so that was really refreshing to see! In fact, I don't think any of us were ready for it to end after an hour and a half!

The event attracted a lot of media attention, including Euronews, and a lot of social media activity, because of the interest in how young people are engaging in such issues;

Well done to IPF for collaborating with Warwick Policy Lab to bring young people together for a brilliant debate on today's referendum. The debate offered mixed perspectives delivered in a dignified way definitely putting new ideas in my head.

Panel Members:


  • Siobhan Benita, Co-Director of WPL, University of Warwick (Chair)