From 23rd to 27th of November, Youth Time International Movement in collaboration with the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare in the UAE hosted its third annual Youth Global Forum. The location for hosting the event was the cosmopolitan metropolis of Dubai with the forum bringing together experts and participants coming from a diverse range of countries and backgrounds. Attendees were exposed to a variety of innovative masterclasses and workshops which touched upon topics related to the overall theme of the event – Ethical Entrepreneurship in the Time of a Competitive Knowledge-based Economy. Further, thirteen social enterprise projects were presented by participants with one winner receiving Youth Time’s Idea Grant to convert their idea into a reality!
On a warm winter evening in Dubai, participants who had journeyed from far and wide gathered together to join honorable guests and experts at the venue which would serve as home to this year’s Youth Global Forum – the government building of the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare.
The event commenced with an opening ceremony moderated by Youth Time International Movement veteran and former ambassador, Themistocles Papadimopulos. As he reflected on the positive impact and influence previous Youth Global Forums had contributed to his life, his remarks enlightened participants on what they could expect to achieve during their time in Dubai. This sentiment was reinforced when after being invited to the stage to make her opening speech, Ms. Julia Kinash, President of Youth Time International Movement posed the question to participants, “Exactly what is the Youth Global Forum to you?” Following several varied answers from the audience, Ms. Kinash continued, “For some, it is just another event. For others, it will be a turning point in their life. To us, the organizers, the Youth Global Forum is a way of paying back our social responsibility. But predominantly, it is a place where we give a chance to extraordinary youth from around the globe to find new business opportunities and partners, build their professional network or even to find the inspiration to create positive impact in this complicated world.”
YT Co-Founder Ondrej Kafka, Jelizaveta Sarapova and Founder & President of Youth Time International Movement Julia Kinash
The opening ceremony was followed by a beautiful welcome reception which took place in the stunning gardens at the Park Hyatt Hotel. Here, participants had the chance to get to know one another over a delicious buffet style dinner which was complemented with music from a live jazz band and other performances. It was clear to see that the participants had quickly made friends with one another, with the vast majority joining together on the dance floor shortly after speeches were made partners and ambassadors.
The opening ceremony of Youth Global Forum 2017
The next day began early, with Mr. Roman Vishnevskiy, Managing Partner at United Traders LLC opening the morning masterclass session with his presentation on, “Cryptocurrency as an effective tool for startups.” The teachings of the session went down very well with the participants and the morning’s activities were only made more successful when Mr. Yousef Khalili, Head of Smart City Consulting Practice and Smart City as-a-service at NXN presented on the topic, “The role of young entrepreneurs in the future of smart cities.”
Mr. Goran Luburic, Vice Dean of the Zagreb School of Business, Julia Kinash and Prof. Željka Zavišić from the Zagreb School of Business
Mr. Roman Vishnevskiy
Mr. Yousef Khalili
Following lunch, the program for the afternoon was set aside for project presentations made by young social entrepreneurs who had sent through their initial proposals for assessment months before the event began. Thirteen projects that fell under the categories of empowerment, education, sustainable environment and social innovation were presented in front of fellow participants and a jury panel made up by Ms. Julia Kinash, President of Youth Time International Movement, Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman of the World Public Forum, Dialogue of Civilizations, Dr. Allam Ahmed, President of the World Association for Sustainable Development, Mr. Jimmy Gani, CEO of IPMI International Business School in Jakarta, Indonesia and Mr. Goran Luburic, Vice Dean of Youth Time International Movement’s valued partners the Zagreb School of Business in Croatia. Following each round of presentations, a Q&A session commenced whereby the audience and members of the jury panel were invited to delve into further details for each project. The presentations were followed by a voting process whereby each participant was asked to vote for an overall winner and state the reasons behind their choice. The results of the voting would be announced during the closing and awarding ceremony two days later.
Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman of the World Public Forum
Inspiring masterclasses on the roles of both individuals and technology in a sustainable knowledge-based economy led by honorable guests Dr. Vladimir Yakunin and Dr. Allam Ahmed respectively kicked off the third day. After a spot of lunch, two rounds of workshops were conducted by esteemed trainers who had travelled from all corners of the globe to be at the event. The educational and interactive sessions were centered on topics which encouraged participants how to think ethically and sustainably in business. Workshop titles included, “Utilizing blockchain for social innovation” which was hosted by Mr. Mohammad Shaheed Khan and, “Social factors that influence knowledge development and knowledge management techniques” led by Ms. Dorotea Milas. Among others were, “Strategies for smart city startups” conducted by Mr. Yousef Khalili and, “The importance of ethics in the process of digitilization of life” led by Dr. Delfina Fantini van Ditmar.
Dr. Allam Ahmed
Workshop of Ms Dorotea Milas
The final day of the event began with the Youth Global Forum’s traditional closing and award ceremony in which guests of honour including His Excellency Ibrahim Abdul Malik Mohammed, Secretary General of General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and His Excellency Khalid Al Midfa, Assistant Secretary General were present. After a round of speeches made by honourable guests and Youth Time International Movement’s partners were made, it was time for the moment everyone had been waiting for, the announcement of the winners of the projects competition.
During the jury panel discussions two days earlier, it was decided that due to a large volume of high-quality projects presented, some additional prizes would be awarded. Ms. Suaad al-Hammadi of the United Arab Emirates was the first to receive an additional award for her project on providing a platform to help expose the talents of Syrian refugees, winning an internship with Youth Global Forum sponsors AIESEC. Mr. Adam Taufan Firdaus of Indonesia was then announced as the winner of the first special prize for his project on organic waste management, receiving a six-month internship at the IPMI International Business School in Jakarta, Indonesia which was kindly awarded by Mr. Jimmy Gani, CEO of the aforementioned school. The last of the special prizes was awarded the St. Andrew the First-called Foundation grant to realize their project. Ms. Elizaveta Sarapova was awarded the prize by Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, Deputy Chairperson of the board of the St. Andrew the First-called Foundation for her project which aims to help young disabled people develop their soft skills and eventually gain employment. ff
The promoting and special prizes were followed by the announcement of the three main winners of the projects competition. In third place, winning a one-year master’s or bachelor’s scholarship at the Anglo American University in Prague was Ms. Nadia Khan for her project which focussed on providing additional mental healthcare services and advice to young men in the United Kingdom. In second place, winning a full master’s scholarship at the Zagreb School of Business in Croatia were Ms. Joi Sears and Mr. Alexander Shelton for their project entitled “The Green Store” - a pop-up shop offering environmentally friendly clothing and accessories in addition to educational events on sustainability and conservation. The clear winner, however, receiving the vast majority of votes was Ms. Aurelia Abena Attipoe who travelled all the way from Ghana to present her project, “The Pitch Hub” – a training program aimed at equipping 50 young Ghanaian social entrepreneurs with the soft skills and platform required to build and sustain their businesses. For her fantastic efforts, Ms. Attipoe was awarded with Youth Time’s Idea Grant in order to realize her project.
Dr. Yakunin and Ms. Suaad al-Hammadi
3rd place winner Ms. Nadia Khan
The event was capped off with a swashbuckling desert safari during the afternoon which included a range of activities from sandboarding to quad biking, henna painting to dune bashing. All participants would then gather together for a traditional Bedouin dinner whilst enjoying various cultural performances including a traditional belly dance and a moment to remember from Youth Time International Movement ambassador, Qendrim Behluli.
Cultural performance during the Bedouin dinner
The general consensus was that participants and experts alike left the Youth Global Forum in Dubai with heads full of newfound knowledge and ideas. The lessons learned during the programme gave inspiration and motivation to all who attended, with participants gaining a new insight and understanding as what it means to be an ethical entrepreneur in modern society. As has become tradition since the very first Youth Time International Movement event which was held in Rhodes back in 2010, participants also jetted out from Dubai having made plenty of new friends and a sense of belonging to the ever-expanding Youth Time family.
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On the 5th of June 2017, Youth Time hosted its seventh annual International Summer School and the second in Beijing, China following the great success one year previously. In association with our partners and friends at the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, the event brought together experts, speakers, and participants together from all corners of the globe. Through a comprehensive series of masterclasses, workshops, and cultural exchange programmes, young entrepreneurs from far and wide were equipped with the necessary tools to formulate their own successful businesses and social enterprises.
The highly impressive China Soong Ching Ling Foundation International Exchange Campsite and Science Centre was the venue of choice for this most special of events. Predominantly a center of education for young people, the setting seemed an obvious choice – especially considering the grandiose interior and state-of-the art facilities available.
This year’s theme was: ‘Startups and Exchanges as Pillars of a New World Order’. The program of the events comprised days that were dedicated to the topics, “Building”, “Collaboration”, “Sales”, and “Exchange” all of which were tied into the main theme. The idea behind the structured agenda was to provide participants with expert advice on the stages of initiating successful startups, followed by an equally important component, cultural exchange, which entailed visiting some of Beijing’s most famous landmarks and even learning how to make Chinese dumplings!
An opening ceremony marked the commencement of the event, with Standing Vice Chairman of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, Mr. Hang Yuanxiang using the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the participants, “Young people from 23 countries are gathered here today in Beijing to carry out meaningful discussions and bridge together cultures through business. On behalf of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, I would like to extend a warm welcome to every one of you.”
Throughout the International Summer School, Youth Time in collaboration with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation stayed true to its mission and vision, encouraging all participants to keep in mind that with success comes social responsibility. Indeed, President of the Youth Time International Movement, Ms. Julia Kinash remarked during her opening ceremony speech, “It would appear obvious that youth entrepreneurship and cultural exchange are key to generating opportunities and providing sustainable livelihoods in the future. The International Summer School encourages young people to become active, creative, and socially responsible citizens. The lessons participants will learn over the next few days will help to sculpt a positive future not just for themselves, but for society and future generations.”
Over the course of the event, participants had the chance to gain deeper insight into the world of modern business, in addition to learning a few things about themselves and others. The workshops and masterclasses hosted by local and internationally esteemed business academia were highly interactive, with attendees encouraged to ask plenty of questions and engage in team building activities with fellow participants and experts alike.
The series of educational and inspiring activities were kicked off by honorable guest, Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, Head of the department of Political Science, of Moscow State University. On Building Day, his key note speech “How to Start Your Own Business: Successful examples and contradictions for different parts of the world”, provided participants with expert knowledge and ideas applicable for initiating their own startups.
Later that afternoon, Dr. Yakunin also hosted an insightful workshop entitled, “How to choose the right business partners” in which participants learned the key elements required for establishing fruitful partnerships.
But not all seminars were related directly to business as Mr. Nick Fewings, CEO of Ngagementworks demonstrated on Collaboration Day through his enlightening and thoroughly entertaining masterclass, “Collaboration for Future Success”. Participants not only discovered more about their own personality types, but also learned how to deal with those who had opposing traits in both a personal and professional capacity.
The final day of seminars saw a number of experts share their knowledge and advice in the field of sales and marketing. Ms. Wang Lili, Founder of Sidai International opened up with her masterclass on, “Brand Positioning and Marketing”. Using examples of highly successful brands, Ms. Wang delved into the thought processes and strategies behind marketing campaigns dependent on various target audiences worldwide.
Following a fruitful week comprising educational and thought-provoking activties, it was then time for participants to enjoy the historic sights of Beijing. Included in the itinerary were visits to the Forbidden City and Imperial Palace, before a trip to the International Makers Center.
The event was capped off in traditional Youth Time style, with a closing ceremony and gala dinner hosted at the beautiful Former Residence of Soong Ching Ling. Among the activities were an awarding ceremony, a video summarizing the event, and speeches and performances from participants. Ms. Julia Kinash, President of Youth Time International Movement closed the event with remarks that summarized the week and embodied the true spirit of the organization and its credo, “Throughout the past six days, we have joined together to learn not only about business and entrepreneurship, but also ourselves and each other. New bonds, perhaps everlasting, have been made through intercultural and intergenerational exchange. All of you deserve to be successful, but with success, we have an obligation to fulfill. Share your newfound knowledge with others and become the positive change-makers you were destined to be.”
Follow Youth Time movement and Youth Time magazine websites for more updates on future events and activities and do not miss your chance to participate in one of them. Furthermore, if you are interested in Sustainable Development and Social Entrepreneurship, make sure to apply for Youth Time Global Forum, which will be held in November.