This year marked the 5th Economic Forum of Young Leaders between 7-12 September in Nowy Sacz, which took place in concert with the Economic Forum in Krynica, commonly referred to as the Davos of the East.
In virtue of Nowy Sacz’s strategic location to Krynica, the town serves as an ideal place to host a forum. Spearheaded by the Nowy Staw Foundation in Lublin and funded through the Youth in Action program, the event is a perfect example of European citizenship in action. A labyrinth of issues from the Lisbon Treaty, to the economic crises and Poland’s role in Europe are increasingly prescient. To explore these economic and political questions demands a forum.
Citizens from across networks have banded together to utilize the European framework program, which aims to facilitate social cohesion and capital. This year the participants from inside the EU and its neighbouring states such as Turkey, Georgia and Ukraine met to discuss the future of Europe. The event was attended by practical economists and businessmen from state, regional and international institutions as diverse as the the Polish government, the European Commission and the World Bank.
This event has taken place for five years, and it is hoped that it will continue to grow. Michal Wojcik, director of the Economic Forum, is indeed aiming high: “We want to bring together young ambitious people from the EU, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus. They have so much in common, but they rarely meet and share their experiences and knowledge. We would like to change this. We want to create a young person’s Davos, where young Europeans will have a chance to discuss European and global issues.”
Participants such as Irakli Burchuladze, a representative of Ertoba, a media organization in Georgia, have described the forum as located in a “great place” and a way to develop friendships. The website is expanding year by year into a vast pool of information which includes interviews, live coverage and archival footage.
The Nowy Staw foundation filmed the event and aired all the panels live and uploaded them for all to see. Anyone can view the podcasts at any time at either the forum’s website (www.forum-leaders.com) or the European Web TV channel (www.europeanweb.tv).
The Forum will take place again next year and as always will welcome participants from across the European landscape . The mission of open discussion and linking the leaders of today with the leaders of tomorrow is a long-term aim, and what better place to have an event in the emerging powerhouse of Central Europe, Poland.