As Priority area 10 of the EUSDR is focusing on Institutional Capacity and Cooperation we aim to include young professionals in the policy processes that are defining not only youth policies but tackle the major societal challenges. Institutions need to be able and ready to work with various groups of the society, as most of their work is dedicated back to its citizens.

We have decided to take the opportunity of the Young Bled Strategic Forum that is an integral part of the annual Bled Strategic Forum, a leading conference in Central and South East Europe focused on discussing and seeking solutions to pressing regional and global issues, organised jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the Centre for European Perspective.

Special emphasis at the Forum will be given to cross-regional cooperation. A new generation of leaders will demonstrate that such cooperation is not only necessary, but inevitable for positive next steps in democratisation, fighting corruption, terrorism and climate change, and fostering social, economic, and cross-cultural sustainable development. To do this, young leaders have to learn from their peers from different regions, sharing their knowledge, ideas and know-how. Sustainable regional cooperation programmes are the key to a comprehensive, inclusive, and innovative approach that engages youth.

The Young BSF 2018 will host young leaders that will discuss Sustainable Security: The Role of Youth in Bridging the Divides. A ‘sustainable security’ approach prioritises the resolution of the interconnected underlying drivers of insecurity and conflict, with an emphasis on preventive rather than reactive strategies. The central premise of the sustainable security approach is that we cannot control all the consequences of insecurity successfully, but have to work to deal with the root causes of instability.

We have encouraged young leaders from Danube region between 18 and 35 years to participate through the public call. They needed to list their experiences, most pressing issues in their countries and proposed solutions that would have wider impact. The YBSF team selected 30 young professionals from 12 Danube countries that will join workshops, debates, round tables and study visits in Ljubljana and Bled, Slovenia, from 7 – 10 September. They have various backgrounds and working experiences – some are students or working at the Universities, some working for non-governmental institutions, international organizations, city administrations, there are as well entrepreneurs among them.

Discussions will than continue at Bled Strategic Forum will be held from 10 – 11 September and will bring together experts, practitioners and politicians who will tackle the hot topics of the world, joined together under title Bridging the divide. There are particularly three panels that will address challenges related to the action of the Priority area 10 and its targets within the Action plan for the implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube region:

Digital Bridge: Transformation for Institutional Resilience

Digitalisation is a modern imperative. Institutions find themselves in a fast-paced and evolving environment in which rapid changes in communications media and power dynamics have significant effect on the role and voice of governments, business, media, and civil society organisations. In order to remain resilient and pliant while further serving the best interests of society, institutions must embrace on the digital future and transform and transcend traditional ways of operating. They must form the bridge.

Bridging the Trust Divide between People and Institutions

Levels of trust in institutions vary across time and cultures. The 2018 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER, measuring trust across a number of institutions, sectors and geographies, reveals a world of seemingly stagnant distrust in business, government, NGOs and the media. However, trust in institutions is one of the most critical elements of healthy societies, as it matters for their legitimacy, well-being and, ultimately, stability. This participatory panel will seek to discuss the root causes of people’s declining trust in well-established and alternative institutions and share experiences of how this challenge is addressed in various regions and at different levels.

Western Balkans: Lost Years or New Hope?

The EU enlargement process has always been a political process. Despite the technical benchmarks, monitoring missions, evaluations and progress reports, it took only one sentence from the President of the European Commission five years ago to raise doubt and fear about belief in the enlargement policy and the Western Balkans. After several years of uncertainty, it again took only one sentence from the same President to revive hope and enthusiasm in the region, which in the past was much more concerned about having a positive external appearance than internal reforms. This hope was translated into concrete language with a new strategy on enlargement; new tasks have been divided among the countries of the region, and uncertainty has been replaced by actual dates for enlargement.

All expert discussions are designed in interesting formats, host excellent guests and are enriched with inspiring moderators. However, many times participants (more than 1100 yearly) put rich networking opportunities into the spotlight of the reasons to come to Bled. It is an excellent opportunity for seeking fresh opportunities, starting new partnerships and exchange of ideas between political and business leaders.

Check some interesting impressions at Bled Strategic Forum YouTube Channel:

More details on the topics discussed are available at Young Bled Strategic Forum and on Bled Strategic Forum website.