The OSCE-wide Youth Forum was held at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia on October 28-29th, 2019 in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Forum invited youth delegates from different countries to bring diverse perspectives to the discussions on the topics of education, new technology, peacebuilding, rule of law, environment and energy, and security and human rights.
Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler featured as a keynote speaker, and Communications Officer Minji Kwag attended the Forum as a youth delegate from South Korea.
Delivering a welcome remark, Miroslav Lajčák, Foreign Minister of Slovakia and former President of the UNGA, emphasized:
“You are not here to listen to us; we are here to listen to you.”
He said that “excluding young people does not make any sense” because “it is the young people who are driving the changes we all need.”
He added that youth engagement is smart, effective, and necessary.
OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger introduced the OSCE Youth Ambassadors who helped to form this youth forum, an upcoming side event of the OSCE in Vienna for December 2019, and Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship that will succeed the Slovak Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2020.
“What are the main challenges?” “How can societies cooperate?”
Raising critical questions for the youth participants to draw on to seek for solutions, Greminger said:
“Together you would come up with great idea in out-of-the-box approaches.”
The UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake also shared her remark and words of encouragement in her video message:
“I encourage all of you to bring forward your ideas and possible solutions!”
As a keynote speaker, BKMC CEO Froehler presented the current status quo of the peace and security issues in the OSCE region as well as other regions in armed conflicts and mentioned about the existing peace-building movements and initiatives by youth.
“Safer future, what does it mean?
Acknowledging that peace, security, and safe future may have different meanings in different contexts, Froehler shared her hope that youth can make the change.
“You are the 50% of humankind. Youth need to rise to be the generation for being great.”
She said that the world has never been as educated as we are today and that we should see youth as “equal partners” and empower them to be “co-creators for these solutions.”
At the discussion table, BKMC Communications Officer Minji Kwag made a statement that South Korea could make a remarkable development within a short period of time thanks to the great support given by other countries and the international community.
Kwag said that it is crucial to ensure the sustainability of the development and that the country needs to give back to the world what it has received from them.
“Every one of us should regard ourselves as a global citizen and view the world as a globally shared village regardless of our age, gender, nationality, religion, and all the other aspects that each of our small societies has defined us with.”
In conclusion, Kwag quoted BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations Secretary-General:
“Be a global citizen; Act with passion and compassion.”