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. (August 2007)
World Federation of Democratic Youth
|Formation||10 November 1945|
|Aritz Rodríguez (UJCE)|
|Yusdaquy Larduet (UJC)|
|Adnan Al Mokdad|
Amb. Naftal Kambungu
The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) is an international youth organization, and has historically characterized itself as anti-imperialist and left-wing. WFDY was founded in London in 1945 as a broad international youth movement, organized in the context of the end of World War II with the aim of uniting youth from the Allies behind an anti-fascist platform that was broadly pro-peace, anti-nuclear war, expressing friendship between youth of the capitalist and socialist nations. The WFDY Headquarters are in Budapest, Hungary. The main event of WFDY is the World Festival of Youth and Students. The last festival was held in Sochi, Russia, in October 2017. It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
On 10 November 1945, the World Youth Conference, organized in London, founded the World Federation of Democratic Youth. This historic conference was convened at the initiative of the World Youth Council which was formed during the Second World War to bring together the youth movements of the allied nations in an anti-fascist front. The conference was attended by over 600 delegates from 63 nations, it was at the time the largest and most diverse gathering of international youth. The conference adopted a pledge for peace.
Shortly after, with the onset of the Cold War and Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, the organization was accused by the US State Department of being a "Moscow front". Many of the founding organizations quit, leaving mostly youth from socialist nations, national liberation movements, and communist youth. Like the International Union of Students (IUS) and other pro-Soviet organizations, the WFDY became a target and victim of CIA espionage as well as part of active measures conducted by the Soviet state security.
The WFDY's first General Secretary, Alexander Shelepin, was a former leader of the Young Communist International which had been dissolved in 1943. Shelepin had been a guerilla fighter during World War II (after his work with the WFDY, he was appointed head of Soviet State Security). Both the WFDY and IUS vocally criticized the Marshall Plan, supported the Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948 and the new pro-Soviet puppet regimes in eastern Europe. They opposed the Korean War.
The main event of the WFDY became the World Festival of Youth and Students, a large-scale political and cultural celebration which aimed to promote peace and friendship between the youth of the world. Most, but not all, of the early festivals were held in socialist nations in Europe. During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s the WFDY's festivals were one of the few places where young people from the free world could meet youth involved in the campaign against apartheid from South Africa, or militant youth from Vietnam, Palestine, Cuba and other nations. Famous people who participated in festivals included Angela Davis, Yuri Gagarin, Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro, Ruth First, Jan Myrdal and Nelson Mandela.
When the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc collapsed, the WFDY entered a crisis. With the power vacuum left by the collapse of the most important member organization, the Soviet Komsomol, there were conflicting views of the future character of the organization. Some wanted a more apolitical structure, whereas others were more inclined to an openly leftist federation. The WFDY, however, survived this crisis, and is today an active international youth organization that holds regular activities.
We pledge that we shall remember this unity, forged in this month, November 1945
Not only today, not only this week, this year, but always
Until we have built the world we have dreamed of and fought for
We pledge ourselves to build the unity of youth of the world
All races, all colors, all nationalities, all beliefs
To eliminate all traces of fascism from the earth
To build a deep and sincere international friendship among the peoples of the world
To keep a just lasting peace
To eliminate want, frustration and enforced idleness
We have come to confirm the unity of all youth salute our comrades who have died-and pledge our word that skilful hands, keen brains and young enthusiasm shall never more be wasted in war
— Pledge of the World Federation of Democratic Youth
The WFDY conducts a General Assembly every four years, the last taking place in Nicosia in 2019. During the Assembly, leadership and a General Council are elected and an organisational declaration is approved.
Asia and the Pacific
Europe and North America
Latin America and Caribbean
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