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Young Bled Strategic Forum


Young Bled Strategic Forum scheduled for 1 September 2012 aims to bring together aspiring students and prospective young professionals from the diplomatic, academic and think-tank fields in both Europe and the Mediterranean region. It not only provides a platform for students and young professionals to discuss and exchange ideas about the current affairs, but also gives them access to high-level participants of the Bled Strategic Forum. This year, Young BSF will tackle a series of challenging topics, including youth unemployment in the Western Balkans and its impact on the political sphere in the region, the ongoing changes in the Mediterranean after the Arab Spring, and Europe's new approach to southern neighbourhood, as well as the changes in international relations and diplomacy in general introduced by new technologies and digital natives.

Young BSF will take place in the Panorama Hall, 4th floor, Best Western Premier Hotel Lovec, Ljubljanska cesta 6, Bled.

DAY 1 – Saturday, 1 September


13:00 – 13:30 Gathering and accreditation for participants of the Young BSF

13:30 – 13:45 Opening of the Young BSF

Opening remarks:

Ms Miriam Možgan, Secretary General of the Bled Strategic Forum (confirmed)


Keynote address:

Mr Matej Marn, Political Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia (confirmed)


13:45 – 15:15 Panel I: The Young and the Restless in the Balkans

The only certainty in the Western Balkans is the uncertain future of young people. Generation after generation of them migrated to other countries in search of better jobs and a better life, mainly for political or economic reasons. Many of them never returned. Many of them built distinguished careers and contributed to the development of Europe and other regions worldwide.

Increasing numbers of young people are jobless and without a viable perspective of finding a job in the near future. Unemployed, many of them continue to emigrate, while others embrace nationalistic rhetoric or slowly descend into the abyss of organized crime and corruption. Such a trend is dangerous and may result in serious escalations of unhappiness or even in social unrest. Young people need hope and they need a vision. Most of all, they need new job opportunities.

Young people are the future of the Balkans, but they hardly ever participate in debates about their future. This needs to change. Their voice needs to be heard and respected.

Key Questions:

• Are young people ready to assume greater responsibility for the transformation of societies in the Western Balkans?

• Why do young people struggle to find their way into the political life in the Western Balkans?

• In what way can we promote active citizenship when faced with increasing youth unemployment?

• How to curb the exodus of generations of young people from the Balkans?


Moderated by:

Dr Erhard Busek, Honorary President of the European Forum Alpbach and Coordinator of the South East Cooperation Initiative (SECI), Austria (confirmed)



Mr Mark Boris Andrijanič, President of Mreža idej, Slovenia (confirmed)

Ms Anja Gengo, Student at the Faculty of Law, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina (confirmed)

Mr Ante Gulin, Postgraduate Student at the Iustinianus Primus Faculty of Law, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia

Ms Martine Alonso Marquis, MEP Political Assistant and Co-Founder of Crossborder Factory, Belgium (confirmed)

Mr Mladen Stojadinović, Alumni of the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade, Serbia (confirmed)

15:15 – 15:30 Coffee break


15:30 – 17:00 Panel II: Digital Natives Entering the Labour Market


Generation Y (born between 1981 and 2000), also known as Millennials, Digital Natives, Generation Me or the Net Generation, is rapidly coming of age and entering the labour market. They grew up with intensive exposure to technology and are more comfortable using a keyboard than writing in a notebook. They prefer reading from a computer screen than from printed documents.

Digital natives have a vision, think laterally, act quickly and make connections across networks in order to successfully solve problems. They have an acute awareness of the entire global village and are accustomed to a world without borders – a world full of choices and options. As knowledge workers of the future, they are becoming part of the workforce, transforming industries, education, and global politics. They have prepared for their careers with a different set of skills than previous generations, which poses challenges and creates opportunities that could have an immensely positive effect on the world we live in.

Key questions:

• How are international relations changing as a result of technologies taking power away from nation states and larger institutions?

• No major aspect of modern life remains untouched by the way many of us now use information technologies. Has the Digital Revolution made this world a better place?

 • What are major challenges facing EU in this era of global change?

• What should be the attitude of the 21st century diplomats?


Moderated by:

Ms Nataša Briški, Co-founder and Editor-In-Chief at Metina lista, Former POP TV Correspondent, Slovenia (confirmed)



Mr Aleš Špetič, Digital Champion of Slovenia (confirmed)

Mr Joe C. Hartshorn, Former Head of the Organising Committee, St. Gallen Symposium, Switzerland (comfirmed)

Mr Andrej Jarc, Senior Regional Sales Manager at Keter Air, Slovenia (confirmed)

Mr Lenart J. Kučić, Journalist at Delo, Slovenia (confirmed)

Mr Jack Madans (videoconference), Program Coordinator at Code for America and Founder of Digital Citizens Project, United States of America (confirmed)


17:00 – 17:15 Coffee break

17:15 – 18:45 Panel III: Europe and the Changes in the Mediterranean


The changes that begun with the uprisings in the Arab world are far from over as we are witnessing increasing uncertainty over the stability and the unfolding crisis situations in North Africa and the Middle East. At the same time, the Arab-Israeli conflict, petro politics and the Iranian nuclear programme continue to strongly influence the dynamic in the region. The Arab Spring has shown the interconnection of the Arab political and cultural space, which at the same time remains isolated enough from other regions to prevent further spill-over effects. The political vacuum created has enabled stronger positioning of certain regional actors, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, while allowing new actors, such as Russia and China, to enter the stage with greater confidence.

The Arab Spring has challenged the European Union to find its place in the Mediterranean, perhaps most visibly through the functioning of the Union for the Mediterranean, and opened fundamental issues concerning political, economic and cultural relations with its southern neighbourhood. The Arab Spring undoubtedly shook the foundations of the Arab societies, and yet it remains unclear whether these revolutions will make further steps towards democratization, a functioning rule of law and the respect for human rights.

Key questions:

• What will follow the Arab Spring and does the region face an uncertain year ahead?

• A revamped European Neighbourhood Policy – what will be the future of EU's policies in the Mediterranean?

• How should the emerging powers entering the Mediterranean be regarded?

• Countering European populism – how to establish links between young people from the north and south of the Mediterranean?


Moderated by:

Mr Edward Mortimer, Senior Programme Adviser at the Salzburg Global Seminar and Former Chief Speechwriter and Director of Communications to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, United Kingdom (confirmed)



Mr Mohammad Al Abdallah, Executive Director of the Syria Justice and Accountability Center, United States of America (confirmed)

Mr Aleš Gaube, Journalist at Dnevnik, Slovenia (confirmed)

Mr Adem Muzaffer Erol, International Relations Specialist at Marmara Foundation and PhD Student at the Department of International Relations and Political Science, Marmara University, Turkey (confirmed)


20:30 – 22:30 Networking reception

Keynote address:

Mr Touhami Abdouli, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia (confirmed)