The Höj Rösten School of Politics creates new paths to political engagement for young people not yet active in mainstream politics. In 2019 the program was awarded Social Impact Initiative of the Year in Sweden.
The Höj Rösten (Raise Your Voice/Vote) initiative began as an independent, non-partisan campaign aiming to increase voter turnout, primarily among younger demographics in the 2014 elections in Sweden. The goal of the campaign was to encourage people to raise their voice and use it in the elections for an open and equal society, and against racism and xenophobia.
Revitalizing Swedish Democracy
Born from the experiences of the election campaign of 2014, the Höj Rösten School of Politics welcomed its inaugural class of aspiring political leaders in 2016. The non-partisan political training program aims to revitalize Swedish democracy through broadened recruitment, particularly targeting political talents within groups traditionally excluded in politics.
Focused on personal leadership and public purpose combined with political skills training, the program cultivates transformational capabilities of participants, preparing them to run for office, build civic organizations or securing political and public service leadership appointments.
Alumni Making an Impact
The Höj Rösten alumni network currently consists of 80 young leaders, with the fifth cohort of 30 high-potential young people embarking on their journey towards political engagement in August 2020. After completing the program many participants transition to the public service, whereas others choose a different path.
Ahmed Abdirahman was part of the inaugural class in 2016. Born a refugee from Somalia and growing up in one of Sweden’s most socially deprived neighborhoods, Ahmed experienced firsthand the lack of contact between elected officials and the people. In public discourse, Ahmed and his neighbors were more often the topic of – rather than a part of – social debate. Determined to make a change, Ahmed applied to the Höj Rösten School of Politics.
Today he is the founder of Järvaveckan, a democratic meeting place connecting people in disadvantaged neighborhoods with elected officials. In 2019 Järvaveckan was visited by 53,000 people, 200 organizations and most importantly, all party leaders represented in the Swedish Parliament.
– I applied to Höj Rösten for tools to create societal change on a larger scale. Järvaveckan would not be the success story it is today if I had not gone through the Höj Rösten program, says Ahmed.