In the times when prominent diplomats deliver speeches and hold private meetings, the youth are building the future. The interaction between the young people presented at Festivals for young people creates a very special type of a bond. The usual difficulties in communication seemed not important at all, because everyone has something in common – an interest in academics and in each other.
In November 2016 the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs supported the first event dedicated to establishing civil dialogue between Russian and German youths. ‘Russian-German Youth Parliament’ was held in Berlin and was aimed at launching new forms of cooperation between the participants and partner organizations. After the first successful attempt to establish the civil dialogue, the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs continued to support international cooperation and held three other forums dedicated to bringing together young leaders from different countries: ‘Youth Dialogue between Russia and India’, ‘Russian-Moldavian Youth Forum’, ‘Student Leaders Summit of the CIS countries’.
Russia is trying to establish a dialogue with the youths. Youth forums are receiving grants to provide a sustainable platform for officials and young motivated people to discuss perspectives on the future.
The World Festival of Youth and Students was held for the third time in Russia, organized in the end of October and hosted in Sochi this time. The Festival was referred to as being a new stage in the history of the Festival Movement. The agenda of the event united a record number of national delegations - for the first time participants from 188 countries took part in the Festival.
67670 people attended the festival overall. 85 subjects of the Russian Federation were represented by more than 15 500 participants. 180 foreign countries were represented by 9 500 participants. Delegations from Moldova, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, India and Sri Lanka took active part in the event.
The information has spread through the Internet and the whole world has been following what was posted online on the official Facebook page. Social Media Analysis showed a high engagement with the youth from India and from Pakistan. It appeared that users from India liked more posts than users from Russia. Might it represent a future shift in the international agenda is a great question of tomorrow.
European students took active part in the forum. Amand van Rossum, an international student from the Netherlands, helped the Higher School of Economics at the Festival with a part of the organization. For him being part of the organizing party turned out to be a unique experience. Not only did the university provide an amazing platform during the festival for the students to learn and develop themselves, but also they created the exact right atmosphere for the student – and they thrived.
‘I did not know what to expect from the Festival, because I had never taken part in an event this size. So a few weeks before the start, I was asked by the HSE administration if I would like to help by hosting my own event throughout the week and helping out wherever possible. This experience completely changed my view on the world within one week. In the morning, together with a great group of people, we organized the ‘Morning with the Higher School of Economics’ – an enthusiasm-sparking event in the morning to energize and recharge everyone’s batteries. This turned out to be a great combination of fun and dance linking up with academics.’ – expresses Amand van Rossum.
Through this mentality, Amand saw friendships being formed and platforms being created. People from different countries with their own views of the world managed to talk to each other. They did not only differ in their ideas, but they also complemented each other – they opened up to each other’s worlds. Students interacted with people from various parts of the world, such as Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and from Russia of course.
Amand is assured that the perception of Russia as a whole will change because of this Festival. The people currently present in Russia are aware that there are usually no bears walking around in the streets or that everyone drinks Vodka all the time, but the people visiting the Festival weren’t and that has changed. The environment in Sochi gave a nice ‘sun, sea and paradise’ idea of Russia, which can then again be mentioned as ‘this is also not the real Russia’ – as they often hear in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Nevertheless, the stereotypes will definitely be taken away by their visit to Sochi and they have had a good opportunity to meet actual people from Russia.
‘I would advise everyone to take part in international events to broaden your perspective and to learn from each other there.’ – shares Amand. Putting people in the right place, in an event as enormous as the World Festival of Youth and Students, can change people’s lives.
‘I have spoken to many people at the Festival and I received one answer from all: ‘This Festival has changed me as a person; my views, my ideas and myself as a whole’. For me personally, the one thing that changed the most, was the idea of how close the world has become – not that far away anymore. Everyone is only a few steps removed from each other and we need platforms like this Festival to bridge that gap. The world is interconnected and we should make use of that!’ – Amand concludes.
In Russia, not only the governmental bodies are interested in international cooperation, but also students are willing to build bridges between countries. DAIMMUN is named to be one of the most rapidly developing MUNs (a Model of United Nations) in Russia under the patronage of the Ministry for foreign affairs of Russia. Based on the Diplomatic Academy Moscow, students – future diplomats take the responsibility of making negotiations and public sessions realistic. Professors, former and current diplomats visit DAIMMUN every year to share their wisdom.
Alexandra Surkova, a third year student of the faculty of International Relations and International Law, was elected to be Secretary General of the Diplomatic Academy International Model United Nations in 2018. From her perspective, it is more important to promote the UN ideas around the world and to cooperate with people, interested in implementing the key goals of the UN. The MUNs give an amazing opportunity to improve the world without taking borders into consideration; that is what students are trying to do.
‘I suppose that every youth conference is important, because as soon as participants return back home, they share their experience with their friends and colleagues. It is much easier to transmit this idea across the young generation, because these people will discuss what to do with the world in just five to ten years. We try to discuss really crucial issues to make it easier to find a compromise in the future. I believe that DAIMMUN, as a nearly unique youth conference in Russia that triggers debates of vital problems in a formal- and productive way, can positively influence the international agenda due to our connection with government bodies and the UN structures.’ – claims Alexandra, as she shares her views.
In her welcoming speech for the upcoming model Alexandra assured the international community that ‘the future of our model should be guided by the dedication to ideas, persistence in achieving goals and the simplicity of solutions.’
International students are always a part of such events as they act as ambassadors and as they share their views with young leaders to improve the world.
ph: ITAR-TASS Photo Agency