On October 26, the capital of Europe hosted the 1st International Youth Forum "Brussels Dialogue" aimed at building ties between young people of the European countries and Russia, and to deepen cooperation in the cultural, scientific, informational, and educational fields.
The forum was organized by the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Brussels with the support of the Central Office of Rossotrudnichestvo together with MGIMO University and the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.
The forum was truly unique and very intense. It continued over one day at two venues: Policy Platform and Creative Platform and brought together more than 300 representatives of youth and student associations, creative professions and academia, journalists, young entrepreneurs from Russia and Europe: Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
During the opening ceremony, H.E. Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom of Belgium Alexander TOKOVININ emphasized the Forum’s importance for developing partnerships in Europe based on mutual respect, willingness to work together and find common solutions. He quoted the former Prime Minister of Belgium, Foreign Minister Mark Eyskens, who said that he did not stand on the side of naive optimists or pessimists, but “he is with those who want to prove things: to bring down walls and to construct bridges”.
The Policy Platform included four panel discussions with the participation of Russian and international experts: “Cooperation within the Framework of Public and Academic Diplomacy”, “The Economic Future of Europe (Energy, Climate, Integration Processes)”, “Civic Initiatives as an Instrument Society Development"," New Technologies - the Territory of Cooperation."
Vera BUNINA, Director of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Brussels, congratulated guests and participants on the beginning of the Forum and read out a greeting from Eleonora Mitrofanova, head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation. She emphasized the role of the Forum as a new platform for dialogue aimed at strengthening existing and building new ties. She also noted: “The motto of the Brussels Dialogue is “Think, Act, Create!”
There was really a star cast of key-speakers. The main discussion platforms experts were ULB University, Mons University, KU Leuven University, Skolkovo Foundation, the Association of Strategic Initiatives, the European Youth Forum, the Council of Europe and the European Union partnership program in the field of youth policy, the Council of Young Diplomats, the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Science, the Diplomatic Academy, FIT, Ahlers, Schnider electric, ING Bank, National Council of Youth and Children's Associations of Russia, All-Russian Movement “Victory Volunteers”, Association of Volunteer Centres and many others.
Key speakers in the plenary sessions were Yuri METELEV, Deputy Head of the Rossotrudnichestvo; Andrey TSYPER, Executive Media Director of the "Rambler&Co"; Davide CAPECCHI, Policy Officer of the EU-CoE Partnership on Youth, Representative of the Council of Europe Youth Department; Elena MYAKOTNIKOVA, Corporate Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives; Ville MAJAMAA, Board Member of the European Youth Forum; Oleg BARABANOV, Deputy Director for Research, European Studies, MGIMO-University, Program Director of the Valdai International Discussion Club; Vitaly SOLONETSKIY, Head of Unit on Youth Programmes and Public Diplomacy Development of Rossotrudnichestvo.
The discussion was moderated by Regina SEVOSTYANOVA, “Rossiya24” correspondent, Gunter GAUBLOMME, Director of the Brussels Diplomatic Academy, Geoffrey GRANDJEAN, professor at the Liège University, Daria BALANDINA, representative of the Russian language department at Mons University, Daniil BISSLINGER, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Council of Young Diplomats, Daria SHAROVA, Head of the Department for the Preparation and Conduct of Public Forums of Rossotrudnichestvo.
Under the Creative Program, participants were able to develop skills of intercultural communications, international negotiations, journalism, studied gastro diplomacy, Russian and European patterns, ‘learned Russian in an hour’, got acquainted with the language characteristics in the digital space, and mastered acting skills. Experts included well-known figures of science and culture, journalists, and entrepreneurs, such as Marina LEBEDEVA, professor at MGIMO, and author of many works on international relations and negotiation; Leonid MLECHIN, historical writer, TV presenter; Leonid GELIBTERMAN, President of the International Etnogastronomy Centre, Vice President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia for International Relations and Gastronomic Tourism; Denis DUBROVIN, TASS correspondent; Tatyana KOCHNOVA, young fashion designer from St. Petersburg; Veronika ANDRIKHOVA, Art Director of the "Details" School of Design; teachers of the Moscow State Linguistic University, Moscow State Linguistic University and many others.
The event ended with a great concert - a completely new format for the Russian Centre for Science and Culture. Alena MINULINA, Tavrida-ART participant, author of music and songs, Russian champion in Live Looping, using her voice, beatbox and electronics created ambient compositions and weaved them into their DJ sets. Belgian SupaFly Band performed jazz and soul compositions. Andrey SHEVCHUK prepared a surprise: the participants in his master class sang "Moscow Nights" in three languages: Russian, French and English. Also, at the evening party, Anna GODARD was congratulated on the 30th anniversary of her professional activities in teaching the Russian language. And after that, a delicious buffet table with pancakes, Russian salad, dressed herring and many other treats awaited everyone.
The participants were delighted! We will continue developing dialogue! We are preparing for 2020!
You can find the photos from the Forum at our gallery.