The Young Bled Strategic Forum (Young BSF) is an annual conference bringing together young leaders to engage in lively discussion and develop out-of-the-box solutions to some of the most pressing world issues. The Young BSF model has been growing and changing and has in last eight years become a unique meeting place for a diverse array of young leaders, entrepreneurs, bloggers, thinkers and socially active individuals, offering them a platform to share their visions, exchange ideas and connect with one another. The Young BSF will this year host young leaders under the title “Sustainable Security: The Role of Youth in Bridging the Divide”.
More about the Conference and cooperation with the EU Strategy for Danube Region and its Priority Area 10 ‘Intuitional Capacity and Cooperation’ can be read here.
A bit less than 70 young professionals between 18 and 35 years old from 35 counties, gathered today in Ljubljana, Slovenia. 30 of them are representatives of 12 Danube countries and have unique opportunity to critically contribute to the regional dimension of their talks and workshops. Their profiles and experiences are colorful and diverse, ranging from national youth institutions, different universities, international organizations, companies, human rights and intergenerational cooperation organizations and more.
First day started with short walking tour around host city, Ljubljana and continued at the City Hall with welcome of the major Mr Zoran Janković, who introduced Slovene capital as green and emphasized that all cities need to go green - for the sake of our children and all future generations. Participants were than gathered by organizers, Centre for European Perspective and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia. Bled Strategic Forum Secretary General, Mr Peter Grk, emphasized that Young BSF is an important regional hub for people with different backgrounds and of different ideas, while Ms Meliha Muherina, the YBSF Programme Director, exposed that each participant was chosen for a reason and called for an open debate and ideas on how to bridge the divide. And Mr Ravi Chaudhry, an inspirational leadership guru, confirmed that youth is the main cornerstone of the society. If the youth unites in solidarity the impossible becomes possible as there is more that unites the world that divides it, he is convinced. These are one of the main paradigms of the new age that YBSF selected youth leaders will in following days discuss, tackle and look from various angles at.
Ms Melanie Seier Larsen, president of the Women’s Manager Association at the Manager’s Association of Slovenia greeted audience with and interesting opening, namely that attendees will lead the civilization in an interesting, fast and dangerous times. She offered a great insight in future development of work, institutions and people-to-people relations. In her words, the future leaders will need to address three closely connected paradigms: A new demographic mix as a first. Globally, by year 2035 one fifth of worlds inhabitance will be 65 years old or older – how to utilize older talent and know-how in society? How to attract young talents to a larger company as everyone one wants to work in start-ups? How to create an environment and infrastructure to utilize advantages of all generations? The answer is in flexible, autonomous work and external opportunities that will allow to exploit advantages of every generation.
Second paradigm are skill imbalances - labor market is facing great gap between what is produced in schools and what labor market needs. It seems that curriculums have not changed much and have not responded to the digital and other changes of the world. The advantage of the age-diversity should be utilized with new approaches, increased soft-skills that students are not taught at the school – time management, intercultural dialogue, project management and similar. On the other side, the companies will have to adjust their HR offices and activities, that have to be directed towards daily education (not weeks long seminars), prepared in new forms (digital and VR) and all-encompassing, meaning offering a proper way of learning for all five generations that are currently working (silent generation, baby boomers, generation X, millennials, generation Z). And third paradigm, diversity and inclusion - the new motto of human-resource experts has become inclusivity, which relates not only to gender, but as well to the age, ethics, background, culture and more. The working environment needs to be different that it was couple of decades ago, as also employees good work drivers are different. The studies show that the financial compensation is not the main motivator for good work, as people put more emphasis on good relationships at work, good life-work balance, learning and training opportunities. Financial stability and job security are on the bottom of the scale. These are the dilemmas that every institution, company and individual will have to think about and react not to stay behind.
Proactive young thinkers opened numerous questions that they will try to answer in the following days. Discussions of the Young BSF will conclude on Monday, 10th September morning, as participants will continue their brainstorming at the Bled Strategic Forum.