The 19th World Festival of Youth and Students
A unique presentation of the nineteenth World Festival of Youth and Students, which will be held in Russia this autumn, took place at the Russian Investment Forum. The participants will consist of more than 20,000 young people from 150 countries, including young entrepreneurs, journalists, IT specialists, NGO leaders and student associations.
Russian Deputy Minister of Education and Science Pavel Zenkovich spoke at the session about the importance of holding the festival. This is an opportunity for young people and for those responsible for the future of the country and the world to get to know each other better and exchange contacts… An opportunity to meet up, discuss problems and see that they have much more in common than what they thought or what propaganda claims. We live in an era of information wars. In this sense, this is an image project for our country to show young people from other countries – and there will be at least 10,000 foreigners – show Russia and demonstrate that this is a rapidly developing country where young people also have a huge future,” he said.
Zenkovich noted that the festival has a much broader goal than to simply develop business contacts. This includes strengthening cooperation in such areas as education, science and the arts. It is important that the festival participants from other countries see the educational opportunities in Russia. “For us this is a watershed event. It’s the opening of a new era in international cooperation in terms of youth exchanges. It’s long-term investments in the future of our country and the future of international cooperation as well as a positioning in the world from a humanitarian, scientific, cultural and educational standpoint,” Zenkovich said.
Alexei Palamarchuk, acting Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, noted that the festival is a platform at which an open, honest dialogue can be organized between youth representatives from different countries. The speaker stressed that the event will cover ten key themes one of which will be youth economy and entrepreneurship.
Palamarchuk spoke about the “You Are an Entrepreneur” programme, which works on developing entrepreneurship among young people. More than 16,000 people have opened their own business with the support of this platform since 2009. It includes a total of four areas: an information and promotional campaign, identifying abilities to engage in entrepreneurial activities, learning the basis of entrepreneurship, support for young entrepreneurs and mentoring.
The level of entrepreneurial activity among Russian young people is 4%, while their contribution to GDP amounts to RUB 4.2 trillion, he noted. For this reason, Palamarchuk said the festival’s goals include consolidating the world’s youth community around the idea of justice, strengthening international ties, developing interethnic and intercultural cooperation, preserving shared memories and history and increasing interest in Russia.
“We need to make this the most significant and striking youth event over the entire history of modern Russia. And in terms of scale we are measuring up to the Sochi Olympics and Universiade even though in terms of the number of people this event will surpass those events”, said Ksenia Razuvayeva, Director of the Russian Centre for the Civil and Patriotic Education of Children and Young People. She said that the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students will reflect three conceptual themes. The first is the future because the number one goal for festival participants is to join efforts to form an image of the world’s future prior to 2030 as well as to consider and propose steps to achieve this future. The second theme is development. The festival will set the future professional trajectory. The third theme is to communicate and establish new contacts.
Razuvayeva noted that the festival will be technologically advanced and innovative. The organizers plan to hold a paperless forum, utilizing automated information systems. Volunteers will be selected with the help of robot recruiters. Robots will be working in the navigation system as well. All processes will be automated as much as possible. There will also be a special communications platform – a social network in which the programme will be formed online.
Vinay Patrick Saldanha, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, touched upon the problem of combating HIV and AIDS in his speech and noted the importance of cooperation between UNAIDS and the festival.
“We not only want this to be an outstanding and very well-coordinated forum in terms of the UN’s work, including with respect to sustainable development goals. But on the part of UNAIDS we are always ready to bring in our goodwill ambassadors… This would be the very best investment in young people,” Saldanha said.
Eduard Omarov, General Director of KVANTA + and Vice President of the All-Russian Non-Governmental Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Opora Russia, noted that Opora Russia would be meeting one of its top goals at the festival. “Our goal is to at least double the number of entities and those involved in entrepreneurship over the next five years. The second goal is to at least double productivity at each event as well. Then we will be able to compete with Europe and the United States. This is the general goal. And we will realize this goal as part of our programme at the festival,” the expert said.
Internet Initiatives Development Fund Head Kirill Varlamov spoke about what kind of objectives his fund would meet at the festival. He said the fund will be participating in multiple formats, including an exhibition for start-ups as well as number of master-classes and other activities.
“We will hold discussion sessions at which we will talk about what we need to do to help young people realize their potential and what investments need to be made in their human capital… There will be certain kinds of formats at which we will discuss how to generate one’s project. Experts will attend and speak about what needs to be done. And there will be business games where people can establish their own projects,” Varlamov said.