Ljubljana and Bled, Slovenia, once more hosted young leaders within the activities of the Young Bled Strategic Forum and Bled Strategic Forum. More than 40 young perspective leaders from 25 countries (Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, United States of America) joined forces, experience and creative energy in a three-day training and capacity building organised between Friday 25th of August and Monday 28th of August 2023. The Young BSF strives to empower young leaders from different sectors (academia, civil society, private sector, public administration, and other fields of expertise) to build joint solutions for joint challenges of our societies through transnational cooperation. Young BSF 2023 was organised under the title ´Mitigating our Butterfly Effect´, underlining the power and responsibility of all stakeholders within our societies to make positive changes and contributions in the short and long term. The activities of the Young BSF continued with active participation within the Bled Strategic Forum, organised on Monday, 28th and Tuesday, 29th of August 2023 at Bled, focusing on contributions to ´Solidarity for global Security˙.
Day 1, or the opening day of the Young Bled Strategic Forum 2023, stressed the importance of cooperation and networking to share ideas to solve today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. New knowledge and development of skills will enable us to build a world we want to live in.
The Young participants were addressed by Mr Peter Grk, Secretary General of the Bled Strategic Forum and Ms Nina Čepon, Executive Director of the Centre for European Perspective, who commended the wide participation of young experts from different fields of expertise and countries. The opening discussion set the stage for the work and capacity-building of young leaders.
Day 2 began with a practical session focused on traditional and media literacy. Following was the Pillar I session, which focused on understanding our shared history, noting the role of narratives in our lives and the importance of critical thinking, followed by the Pillar II discussions focused on empowering youth through cooperation with the government, CSOs and various initiatives aimed at supporting and promoting active citizenship. Each pillar consisted of an expert panel followed by a world cafe, where Young BSF participants embarked on a deeper exploration of topics.
The second day concluded on a high note with a conversation with H. E. Ms Tanja Fajon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, on the importance of solidarity, current global issues, Slovenia in UN SC, feminist foreign policy and more. “Be curious and brave. Curious, I say, as we live in this polarised world where everything is changing so fast, where we have to think outside the box to adapt,” was Minister Tanja Fajon´s opening call to the Young Bled Strategic Forum participants.
Day 3 of the Young Bled Strategic Forum continued with thematical Pillar III, focusing on the leading question: “How do we address our present actions to secure the future us and for the younger generations?”. The Young Bled Strategic Forum participants transferred from Ljubljana to Bled in the afternoon using a train. The last closing elements of the Young BSF included two capacity-building and inspirational sessions. The Young BSF was closed on Monday, August 28 2023, with presentations of participants’ group work that once more exposed the importance of ideas and work of young leaders that contribute to positive changes within our societies. Their ideas, recommendations and proposals will be joined within the Young Bled Strategic Forum Declaration, which will be published following the event. The Young perspective leaders joined the activities of the Bled Strategic Forum in the following days as panellists and active participants.
Young Bled Strategic Forum and Bled Strategic Forum are honoured for the opportunity to have hosted the first meeting of the CEI Youth Reference Points organised by the CEI Secretariat at Bled, Slovenia, on Tuesday, 29th of August, to exchange best practices, experiences and ideas for youth empowerment within the CEI region. The discussions pave the way for closer cooperation in the field of youth policies and transnational and cross-sector cooperation.
The Young Bled Strategic Forum is supported by the Central European Initiative, the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana grant, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung think tank, implemented within the activities of the Slovenian Presidency to the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region and supported as part of the Priority Area 10 Institutional Capacity and Cooperation, an Interreg Danube Region Programme project co-funded by the European Union.