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Network Meetings

The YGLN aims to meet on a bi-annual basis to exchange ideas, meet with policymakers across the Euro-Atlantic area, and agree the future development of the YGLN. Meetings have evolved in line with the size and scope of the network but continue to engage with policymakers through private and discussions, discussion forums, and a plenary meeting among the entire network.

Since its launch in 2014 the YGLN has held 11 meetings, of which brief summaries are available below:

11th YGLN Meeting

MOSCOW, RUSSIA, 20 – 22 November 2019

In November 2019, the YGLN held its first meeting in Russia. Around 20 members from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Italy, Russia, Turkey and the US participated in the three day gathering in Moscow. The group was hosted by ELN and YGLN partners, the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Schneider Group.

The discussions covered a variety of topics including threat perceptions of Russia and the Western states; nuclear risk reduction; the future of the Paris Charter; and geopolitical competition between the post-Soviet states, Russia and the EU. The group also discussed how civil society is under pressure and why patterns of media consumption particularly among younger people in Russia and the West are hardening prevailing prejudices and clichés of the other. The group concluded that there must be more responsible ways of choosing media channels and scrutinizing information. It was agreed that increasing travel  between Russia, other European states and the US may help these individuals diversify their channels of information and consume media in different languages. This may also increase their interest in foreign policy issues, which, according to recent polls conducted in Russia, Ukraine and Germany, is at record lows among the younger generation. Given the conflict-driven climate in Europe engagement from the next generation must be addressed.  

 

10th YGLN Meeting 

BERLIN, GERMANY, 13 – 15 October 2019

In October 2019, the YGLN met for the third time in Berlin. The group visited the German capital a few weeks before the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The members reflected that a generation ago it would hardly have been possible to convene a group such as the YLGN, made up of young people from countries across the Euro-Atlantic region, from East and West.

During the roundtable discussion hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, YGLN members addressed political, legal, ethical and social disruptions for Euro-Atlantic societies and how to nudge them in the right direction. The group discussed the issue of populism, with an emphasis on right-wing radicalism in Europe, and its potential threats and weaknesses. They spoke about strengthening the rule of law in times of global disorder, and the challenges to academic freedom in several countries. On the issue of disruptive technologies, discussions focused on the implications of AI, quantum computing, and Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) on modern militaries and societies. When assessing the global market and climate change, members discussed options for national governments to incentivize climate-beneficial consumer choices.

 

9th YGLN Meeting 

BERLIN, GERMANY, 23 – 25 June 2019

In June 2019, the YGLN met in Berlin where the Heinrich Böll Foundation kindy hosted the group’s roundtable discussion. The members discussion was focused on West-Russia relations, common interests, dividing lines as well as potential strategies on how eventually overcome divisions. Members addressed the current state and future of the OSCE, and why it is difficult for the OSCE to continue to actively shape a common European security architecture. The group also discussed military risk reduction and perspectives for a renewed and more effective NATO-Russia dialogue, and also looked at frozen conflicts in the Eastern European region and whether there may be an opportunity to address the intractable issues in the future. Despite the sharp dividing lines between Russia and the West, there is still a set of common interests, including cyber security and arms control in the nuclear sphere. They then explored how best to pursue cooperation in these areas to make the Euro-Atlantic region safer . The roundtable was followed by a visit to the Chancellor’s Office and a panel discussion with an evening reception hosted by the French Embassy.

 

8th YGLN Meeting 

BERLIN, GERMANY, 15 – 19 April 2018 

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.

For full summary see here

 

7th YGLN Meeting

MINSK, BELARUS, 3 – 6 September 2017

The seventh meeting brought together over 60 participants from more than 20 countries in Minsk, Belarus on September 3-6.

The Minsk meeting focused on topics including the crisis in Ukraine, prospective relations between the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union, relations between Russia and the West, as well as the political, economic, rule of law, and civil society landscape in Belarus. Prominent speakers included the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Oleg Kravchenko, Belarusian Parliamentary leaders, and representatives of Belarusian civil society and academic institutions.

The plenary meeting also focused on the long-term sustainability of the network. The network adopted a sustainability plan to transition the network to a self-governing organization in 2018.

 

6th YGLN Meeting

WARSAW, POLAND, 2 – 6 April 2017

The sixth meeting consisted of a mix of working group and roundtable discussions and plenary meetings. Among the variety of topics we discussed were the rise of populist regimes across Europe, generational differences in global values, policies that may damage the current economic system, reforming the international economic system, enhancing strategic stability in Europe, NATO-Russia relations, and regional security challenges.

 

5th YGLN Meeting 

HELSINKI, FINLAND, 4 – 7 September 2016

The fifth meeting focused on roundtable discussions that focused on cyber security, the NATO Warsaw Summit, security in the Baltic region, police reform and the problem of corruption in Ukraine, the rise of radical populism and illiberalism in the Euro-Atlantic region, the backlash against globalization, and the future of economic cooperation  in the Euro-Atlantic region. The roundtables were composed of participants in the YGLN and prominent Finnish experts and government and private sector officials.

 

4th YGLN Meeting

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, 29 February – 2 March 2016

The fourth meeting aimed to refocus to a more holistic discussion of Euro-Atlantic security, drawing upon the specialised expertise of the working groups. To this end the working groups were accorded separate meeting spaces in which to conduct their discussions before feeding into a concluding plenary. Organisationally the network continues to grow, whilst the continuing success of the initiative has led to an ongoing effort to create a more sustainable infrastructure and funding programme.

 

3rd YGLN Meeting 

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, 21 – 24 September, 2015

During the summer of 2015 the network organised a merger with the EASI Next Generation Leaders Network, this greatly expanded the group’s national representation and professional expertise. The third meeting was the first at which the newly merged groups could convene collectively, under the new name of the Younger Generation Leaders Network. This meeting drew on the history of conflict resolution within Bosnia-Herzegovina to attempt to develop methods with which to reconcile the ever deepening confrontation between Russia and the west.

Organisationally it was determined that the co-chairs of the four working groups should form a ‘core group’, that would serve as a steering body to coordinate the efforts of the YGLN and its sponsors. Such a restructuring would also improve the ability of the group become more self-reliant and begin to develop a sustainable funding strategy.

 

2nd YGLN Meeting 

RIGA, LATVIA, 8 – 9 April 2015

The second meeting, whilst still maintaining a focus on Ukraine (in particular the role of civil society in that country), broadened the scope of the network’s discussions to Euro-Atlantic security as a whole. This took the form of a review of the effectiveness of track 2 diplomatic initiatives and confidence and security building measures. Organisationally the decision was taken to form the four working groups as a way of better focusing the networks discussions and any future public interventions.

 

1st YGLN Meeting 

SOFIA, BULGARIA, 27 – 29 October 2014

The inaugural meeting of the Younger Generation Task Force on Ukraine and Euro-Atlantic Security (one of two progenitor networks that currently comprise the YGLN) focused exclusively on Ukraine and the post-revolutionary situation in the country at that time, before examining the prospects for the future development of Ukrainian society and the Ukrainian state. The benefit of the networks ability to promote discussion among young leaders from Russia and Ukraine at such a strained period was readily acknowledged by participants and supporting organisations. Both expressed a willingness to expand the scope of the group through individual recruitment but also through possible mergers with similar organisations.