ISSN 2330-717X

Russian And Global Youth Leaders To Gather At SPIEF’21 – OpEd

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As the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF’21) opens from June 2-5 in St. Petersburg, Russia’s northern capital, the organizers are directing, among others, focus on the youth’s activities. The Roscongress Foundation, Federal Agency for Youth Affairs and Russian Young Professionals Assistance Centre are jointly coordinating both Russian and foreigners, to deliberate key economic and social issues on platforms that are created for them at SPIEF’21. 

Every year, the youth programme includes investment sessions, plenary sessions, panel discussions, lectures and open dialogues with young people, government officials, business leaders, as well as foreign experts. The participants, aged between 18 to 35, meet potential partners and like-minded people, share experiences and exchange contacts, as well as put business communication skills into practice. With high enthusiasm, they attempt jointly to search for effective solutions to the most pressing challenges of the Russian and global economies. 

The youth come with different backgrounds including young entrepreneurs and professionals, students of higher and secondary education institutions and leaders and representatives of nonprofit organizations. 

“I am sure that the knowledge, experience and practice that young people will acquire at the International Youth Economic Forum will be fully used in their everyday and professional life. These new connections and contacts will spark useful and effective interaction with like-minded people, mentors and other professionals. For our part, we are ready to offer all tools for their full and successful self-realization in any endeavors. Active participation and initiative are the engine that, like any other, needs high-quality fuel,” notes Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Alexander Bugaev. 

The Representatives of Friends for Leadership, the international network of next generation leaders and entrepreneurs, will participate at the forum. This group consists of young men and women from different countries, and put together by Roscongress Foundation, the Russian Federal Agency for International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) and the Centre for International Promotion Fund. 

Friends for Leadership, a permanent international pool of next generation leaders, was created with a support of the Roscongress Foundation at SPIEF’18. It brings together people involved in the creation and promotion of multilateral economic and humanitarian cooperation projects. 

According to Sergei Vershinin, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, International youth cooperation is one of the important areas of foreign policy activities. A number of tasks implemented under the New Generation Programme, approved by Presidential Decree #1394 of 19 October 2011 “On approval of the concept of the programme of short-term study tours of young representatives of political, social, scientific and business circles of foreign states to the Russian Federation.” 

The objectives of this programme are aimed at strengthening humanitarian cooperation between Russia and its foreign partners, promotion of professional contacts between young people, promoting an impartial perception of Russia and strengthening its positive image around the world. The most promising undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as young scientists from Russia’s leading universities and scientific organizations will have the opportunity to attend sessions organized for them. 

“It has become a good tradition for talented young scientists and students to take part in SPIEF. The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is a leading business event that brings together unique experts from all areas of the economy. Participation in the Forum opens up limitless opportunities for young people to exchange experience and gain new knowledge,” said Andrey Fursenko, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation. 

Representatives of Friends for Leadership regularly participate in events organized by the Roscongress Foundation. In 2019, under the New Generation Program, 42 delegates from 29 countries took part in a special “Friends for Leadership” session at SPIEF. In January 2020, the session entitled Friends for Leadership 2020: New Horizons in Global Cooperation for Sustainable Development was held on the sidelines of the Russia House in Davos, where specific projects and best practices in the areas of social entrepreneurship, education, technology, sustainable cities, and promotion of the UN Sustainable Development Goals were presented. 

Besides that, the Roscongress Foundation has the SPIEF Junior business programme. The programme is shaped in such a way as to initiate an intergenerational dialogue on a variety of topics – from current business requirements for modern education to anticipating in-demand competencies for the future. 

“The ability to listen and respond to societal demands is the cornerstone of efficient and productive work with younger generations. You can shape an emphatic generation ready for global challenges only through involving young people in discussion of most relevant socio-economic topics,” noted Elena Sokolova, Head of the Content Foundation for the Development of Expert and Analytical Activity, the organizer of SPIEF Junior.  

Participation of Russian and foreign teenagers makes this youth gathering unique. That is why its business programme focuses on generating interest in modern educational technologies and building partnerships with peers from other countries. 

The planned discussion between Russian and foreign students is particularly noteworthy. This open dialogue of cultures will help young people discuss questions that are of great concern to them: How has education and the world changed since the pandemic?, What professions will be in demand and how to get them? How to respond to global challenges in an ever-changing environment? How do you choose a profession and Where to work for the next 50 years. 

In the current era of increasing global challenges and threats, the issues of realizing human potential are of particular importance, and the transformation of education, its meanings and values play an important role in this. Participants in this session include educational leaders. 

According the information available, these youth sessions are supported and/or sponsored by Rosneft, Gazprombank, Innopraktika, Yandex, Prosveshcheniye, WR Group Holding and Spar. The digital education platforms such as Geekbrains, Skillbox, and Skyeng provide some sponsorship, while  Zasport is a special partner of SPIEF Junior. 

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, popularly referred to as SPIEF, brings together international business leaders, government officials and representatives of expert and media communities to discuss various topics and jointly search for effective solutions to the most pressing challenges in Russian and global economies. The SPIEF is held yearly, and since 2006 it has been held under the patronage and with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation

Kester Kenn Klomegah

Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and a policy consultant on African affairs in the Russian Federation and Eurasian Union. He has won media awards for highlighting economic diplomacy in the region with Africa. Currently, Klomegah is a Special Representative for Africa on the Board of the Russian Trade and Economic Development Council. He enjoys travelling and visiting historical places in Eastern and Central Europe. Klomegah is a frequent and passionate contributor to Eurasia Review.

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