File:Wfdy logo.png

WFDY symbol.

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The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) is a leftist youth organization, recognized by the United Nations as an international youth non-governmental organization. WFDY describes itself as an "anti-imperialist, left-wing"[1] organisation. It was founded in London in 1945 as a broad international youth movement, organized in the context of the end of the Second World War with the aim of uniting youth from the Allied powers behind an anti-fascist platform that was broadly pro-peace, anti-nuclear war, expressing friendship between youth of the capitalist and socialist or so-called Eastern Bloc countries. The WFDY Headquarters are in Budapest, Hungary. The main event of WFDY is the World Festival of Youth and Students. The 17th WFDY was held in South Africa in 2010, hosted by the African National Congress Youth League (ANC YL).

History[edit | edit source]

On November 10, 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 encourage the fight against fascism by the youth of the allied countries. The Conference brought together, for the first time in the history of the international youth movement, representatives of more than 30 million young people of diverse different political ideologies and religious beliefs from 63 nations. It adopted a pledge for peace.

Shortly after, with the onset of the Cold War and Churchill's Iron Curtain speech, the organization was condemned by the United States as a "Moscow front." Many of the founding organizations quit, leaving mainly youth from socialist countries, national liberation movements, and communist youth.[2] 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.[3][4][5][6]

The WFYD'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 Two (after his work with WFDY he was appointed head Soviet State Security).[3] Both the WFDY and IUS vocally criticized the Marshall Plan, supported the Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948 and the new People's Democracies in Europe. They opposed the Korean War.[3]

The main event of the WFDY became the World Festival of Youth and Students, a massive political and cultural celebration for peace and friendship between the youth of the world. Most, but not all, of the early festivals were held in socialist countries in Europe. During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s the WFDY's festivals were one of the few places where young people from the so-called "Free World" could meet youth struggling against Apartheid from South Africa, or militant youth from Vietnam, Palestinian, Cuba and other countries. Famous people who participated in festivals included Angela Davis, Yuri Gagarin, Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro, Ruth First, Mary Cotton and Jan Myrdal.

When the USSR and the Eastern Bloc collapsed, 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.

Pledge[edit | edit source]

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-M23075, Budapest, II. Weltfestspiele, Eröffnungsrede, Guy de Boisson.jpg

Guy de Boisson, President of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, speaks at the opening of the 2nd World Festival of Youth and Students (Budapest, 1949)


Member organizations (incomplete list)[edit | edit source]

Africa[edit | edit source]

Asia & Pacific[edit | edit source]

Europe & North America[edit | edit source]

Latin America & Caribbean[edit | edit source]

Middle East[edit | edit source]

Former members[edit | edit source]

Observing members[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  2. Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, p.84
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The cultural Cold War in Western Europe, 1945-1960. Giles Scott-Smith, Hans Krabbendam. p. 169
  4. A century of spies: intelligence in the twentieth century. Jeffrey T. Richelson. p. 252
  5. Soviet foreign policy in a changing world, Volume 1986. Robbin Frederick Laird, Erik P. Hoffmann. p. 211
  6. Europe since 1945: an encyclopedia, Volume 1. Bernard A. Cook. p. 212

External links[edit | edit source]

Members organizations[edit | edit source]

Previous member organizations[edit | edit source]

Pending[edit | edit source]

Other info[edit | edit source]

ar:اتحاد الشباب الديمقراطي العالمي ca:Federació Mundial de la Joventut Democràtica cs:Světová federace demokratické mládeže da:WFDY de:Weltbund der Demokratischen Jugend el:Παγκόσμια Ομοσπονδία Δημοκρατικών Νεολαιών es:Federación Mundial de la Juventud Democrática eo:Monda Federacio de Demokratia Junularo eu:Gazteri Demokratikoaren Mundu-Federakuntza fa:فدراسیون جهانی جوانان دموکرات fr:Fédération mondiale de la jeunesse démocratique it:Federazione Mondiale della Gioventù Democratica he:הפדרציה העולמית של הנוער הדמוקרטי hu:Demokratikus Ifjúsági Világszövetség nl:Wereldfederatie van democratische jeugd ja:世界民主青年連盟 no:Verdenssambandet av Demokratisk Ungdom pl:Światowa Federacja Młodzieży Demokratycznej pt:Federação Mundial da Juventude Democrática ru:Всемирная федерация демократической молодёжи fi:Demokraattisen nuorison maailmanliitto sv:Demokratisk Ungdoms Världsfederation tr:Dünya Demokratik Gençlik Federasyonu zh:世界民主青年联盟

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