The Visegrad Youth Forum (VYF) makes its traditional return to Banská Bystrica, the “Heart of Slovakia”. VYF 2017 will take place between December 6 and December 8, 2017. Participating in the event will be young academics and experts from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and, for the very first time, from the Baltic states. This year’s edition of the Visegrad Youth Forum will be held under the auspices of Ivan Korčok, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.
The Visegrad Youth Forum is a unique project with the goal of creating a platform, which would connect young participants from all V4 member countries with the knowledge of the attending experts on the topics of defence cooperation not only in the Visegrad region, but in the entire Euro-Atlantic framework, as well as on the future of Visegrad cooperation considering the ever-changing regional and global situation. For the very first time ever, participants from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will directly participate in the project. Furthermore, the project aims to encourage and further strengthen the public debate about the importance of the Visegrad Group, its current state, as well as the direction the group is heading, mostly regarding common foreign and security policies.
The sixth edition of the Visegrad Youth Forum will be attended by public figures and experts representing not only the governmental, but also the non-governmental field. Representatives of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic have confirmed their attendance at the event. Each V4 member state will be represented with a speaker at the event’s panel discussion.
Aside from an intensive and interactive workshop, the programme of this year’s Visegrad Youth Forum will be highlighted by its panel discussion titled “Defense cooperation: Mission (Im)Possible?”, which will focus on defence cooperation not only among V4 member states, but the current state, as well as the future of defence cooperation as part of Euro-Atlantic structures.
The forum will be capped off by a simulation of negotiations between NATO and Russia, during which the event’s participants will be put into positions of policy makers and state leaders trying to reach a consensus on the topic of the strengthening of the eastern border of the Alliance. The simulation will take place in the Center of Crisis Management (CEKR) at the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations of the Matej Bel University.
A rich cultural programme will also be part of VYF 2017, including a visit of the Training Centre Lešť, which mainly focuses on the training of special units of the Slovak Armed Forces, as well as other special forces that are part of the security framework of Slovakia. The participants can also look forward to a cultural evening, during which the participants will be divided into groups and will be tasked to present the culture of their native country.
The Visegrad Youth Forum 2017 is a project organized by the Euro-Atlantic Center in cooperation with the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations of the Matej Bel University. The sixth edition of the Visegrad Youth Forum is supported by the International Visegrad Fund, the Public Diplomacy Division of NATO, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, the city of Banská Bystrica and the Rotary Club Banská Bystrica.