International Youth Forum on Public Diplomacy InterYes 3.0
Young leaders from 29 BRICS + countries attended the International Youth Forum on Public Diplomacy held on 11.-12. of April 2023 in the format of videoconference. PhDr. Lucia Škvareninová, M.S.S., DBA attended the forum and represented the International Center of Education, a.s. The experts on public diplomacy introduced their activities in the first part called Expert session.
INDIA The goals and objectives of Indian foreign policy is to attract foreign tourists, multinational corporations and to take part in international business. India promotes stable partnership in the world, equal system for all, plural financial and digital system. Indians embrace global diversity through cultural exchange and cross-cultural activities with other nations. 65% of Indian population is below the age of 35 years, therefore the youth is considered as the power of India.
CHINA The speaker from China explained ‘‘revival of Chinese culture ‘‘as a soft power tool of diplomacy.
BRICS The existence of BRICS proves the multipolar structure in the world. Currently, 20 countries are interested to join BRICS alliance, including other regional organizations. The most frequent and the latest topics are about BRICS + expansion and new reserve currency- ‘’R5 initiative’’ based on the first letters of the BRICS currencies all of which begin with the letter R- Ruble (Russia), Rand (South Africa), Real (Brazil), Rupee (India) and Renminbi (China).
During the ‘’Case session’’ all invited representatives from different NGO’s introduced their practical experience, forthcoming plans for youth and goals of their organizations. The speakers emphasized the important role of soft power tools such as sport diplomacy, pedagogical diplomacy or culture diplomacy that are frequently used. Another topic that got the audience attention was volunteerism- defined as people’s need to participate and help in their society. According to World Giving Index most of the volunteers are in developing countries. More than three billion people helped someone they didn't know in 2021. Volunteerism develops soft skills- person’s creativity, adaptability, team-work, work-ethic, interpersonal skills, etc. The last part of the first day was closed with networking session. All participants were randomly divided into several groups and discussed about their organizations and motivation, why are they taking part in the Forum?
The first part of the 2nd day of the Forum continued with Expert Session- Resources for youth initiatives. There are many organizations around the world that support public diplomacy- administrations, corporations, universities, NGOs and the main stakeholder is civil society. The representatives from various organizations explained more about activities and sources of funding available to youth projects. The youth in developing countries is facing serious challenges that need to be solved, for instance, unemployment, poverty, access to clean water, medical care, education, etc. These problems require world-wide dialogue by expanding cross cultural understanding. In the following Facilitation Session- the young leaders discussed about current trends and issues of public diplomacy among each other. All forum participants were asked to vote on-line to choose the most actual trends in public diplomacy. Please see the results below:
1. Digital diplomacy
Digital diplomacy is important tool to deliver a message into the world. On the other hand, the most relevant problem to digital diplomacy is cybersecurity.
The most serious issues connected with media, which were raised during discussion were falsification and misinformation.
3. Lack of information in rural areas
4. Social inequality
5. Science and research
7. Youth unemployment
8. Infrastructure security- (food, water, mobility, etc.)
Young leaders worked in the groups and were supposed to come up with particular project, its aim and solution of a given problem. Another respondent in audience claimed that BRICS and other developing countries are trying to build a multipolar world. ,,Currently, we don’t see ourselves to be fully represented, because the Western philosophy does not represent the people of the whole world.’’
Public diplomacy has been frequently misinterpreted as propaganda. Overall, public diplomacy plays important role to deliver the real image of one country and the message that would like to spread in the world. Coming to the end, there is a question to be answered: What can be done to overcome above mentioned challenges?
The work in the multinational teams during the Forum helped to find out the following: Youth of the BRICS + countries associate BRICS alliance with mutual respect and objectivity. Three values on which BRICS + cooperation is based on: unity, openness and multipolarity.
The outcome of the Forum, which was attended by 150 participants, is the formation of great ideas that can be used in order to implement joint international projects.