European Young Leaders (EYL40) 21st Century Pioneers: Interregional Cooperation for a New Generation
The European Young Leaders programme meets amidst a series of significant elections that will give a better sense of the state and future direction of Europe – and of people’s concerns, fears and hopes.
Decision-makers are waking up to the realities of a certain kind of people power, and a certain attitude to politics. In recent years, events such as the unexpected election of Trump, the shock Brexit vote and the unprecedented scale of the Arab Spring are demonstrative of citizenries that are no longer satisfied with the status quo, taking to the streets and to the voting booths to express their ongoing frustration with the governing classes. Citizens that feel left behind and out of control, having taken for granted global improvements in education, health, wealth and consumer choice. Solutions to these feelings of frustration and powerlessness are hard to find – but ignoring the problem or over-simplifying the causes will not lead to answers.
In Europe, both the defeat of Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen provide a sense of hope and optimism that voters continue to believe in the common good, equality and fairness, but come with a warning that there is a need for a genuinely different kind of politics: one that is not just the same old approach with a new look and new language.
Yet, in a world in which the improbable has been realised, the impossible no longer seems out of reach. This creates endless opportunities for a new generation of young leaders to steer the world in a direction which reflects a positive renewal of the modern social, economic, and political climate.
Digital is the key to this new global reality: a new-found superpower. It is disruptive and unpredictable in ways we still cannot fully understand, transforming politics, behaviour, systems and the economy. It will determine how we are governed; offering transparency, accountability and the possibility of e-democracy, but possibly at the expense of confidence and trust. It will impact our security and it will increasingly be the foundation of work and education, driving the automation, artificial intelligence and augmented reality that will become the new mainstays of our lives through the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Young leaders will debate how the interaction between civil society, technology, business, and politics has rapidly been changing in the early part of this century, and the effect that this will have on the citizens and communities in Europe and around the world. For the first time, the European Young Leaders programme will be joined by young leaders from North America, the Middle East, and North Africa to expand the conversation and exchange experiences with their regional counterparts.