The Younger Generation Leaders Network on Euro-Atlantic Security (YGLN) held its eighth meeting in Berlin, Germany, on April 15-19, 2018. The YGLN is a capacity-building initiative that was established by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2014. It was designed to engage in dialogue, seek better understanding, and create linkages among emerging leaders from the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Europe and Eurasia in order to address contemporary challenges facing the Euro-Atlantic region. Currently, the YGLN includes 77 young professionals in their 20s and 30s from 28 countries across the Euro-Atlantic community, with specialists in economics, law, public policy, academia, journalism, science, and business.
The Berlin meeting explored the domestic and foreign policy challenges Germany faces today in its role as a leader in Europe and the world. Specialists from the German government and the nongovernmental community offered their expert opinions. The YGLN was particularly fortunate to spend an evening with Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, who shared his views on Germany, the European Union, relations with Russia, and the erosion of democracy in Europe and elsewhere. The YGLN also met with one of Germany’s top diplomats — Dr. Patricia Flor — who currently holds the post of Director General for International Order, the United Nations, and Arms Control at the German Federal Foreign Office.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia hosted the YGLN at his embassy for a panel discussion on the future of the European Union. Experts from Germany and Estonia shared their frank assessments of the successes and failures of the EU. They recognized that despite its many shortcomings, there is no reasonable alternative to this critically important European institution.
The members of the YGLN, who are experts in their own right on a wide range of topics, held three days of panel discussions on issues that they have been debating for the past several years. Among the topics that were on the agenda were Ukraine — Prospects for Crisis Resolution; Cybersecurity and Information Warfare; West-Russia Relations; Populism, Nationalism, and Democratic Erosion in the Euro-Atlantic Region: Implications for Cooperative Security; and Nuclear Risks and the Future of Arms Control.
Front and center at the YGLN meeting was the future of the Network. Current funding and administrative support will end on June 30, 2018. The challenge facing the YGLN is to secure sufficient funding and a new affiliation so that it can sustain itself in the future. An Executive Committee has been formed and is actively pursuing the multiple tasks required to make this possible.
There is widespread agreement among the members of the YGLN that they have greatly benefited from being part of the Network and highly value the role of the YGLN in promoting dialogue that leads to a more comprehensive approach and a broader vision to the solution of complex international problems.