The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum opened its doors for the international network of the next generation leaders and entrepreneurs Friends for Leadership with the support of the Roscongress Foundation,
Friends for Leadership members' projects in the field of sustainable development and post-crisis global recovery were discussed by representatives from 32 countries, selected by the FFL on the basis of a competition held under the auspices of the UN, together with partners represented by the Roscongress Foundation, the UN Information Center in Moscow, UN 75 Office, BRICS TV and the Centre for International Promotion Fund.
For several days of SPIEF-2021, young leaders took part as speakers in a number of sessions of the SPIEF business program and SPIEF-Junior, held their project presentation sessions at the Innovation Space, held a session on sustainable cities “Friends of Cities” at the Innosocium LAB with the participation of Ilya Kuzmin, Deputy Head of the Department for Foreign Economic and International Relations of the Moscow City, and Anna Khryastunova, Director of the Association of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities, as well as sessions on promoting digital opportunities among young people and financial literacy in the program of the International Youth Economic Forum.
FFL members had a busy schedule of working meetings to discuss the implementation of their projects in Russia and the world. For instance, meetings were held with Deputy Head of Rossotrudnichestvo Dmitry Polikanov, Deputy CEO of the Roscongress Foundation Gregory Velikikh, Chairman of the Council of Young Diplomats of the Russian Foreign Ministry Konstantin Kolpakov and his First Deputy Areg Agasaryan, Vice-Rector of MGIMO Stanislav Surovtsev and Advisor to the President of the Skolkovo Foundation Pekka Viljakainen. FFL representatives from Russia, Brazil, the Philippines and Ghana also presented their projects to the Special Representative of the President of Russia for International Organizations Relations to Achieve SDGs Anatoly Chubais. Also, the participants from Botswana, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda and Ethiopia met with the Association for Economic Cooperation with African Countries to discuss the synergy of Russian-African projects and the upcoming Russia-Africa summit in 2022.
“During these two years we made a breakthrough, as we did not sit idly by. Together with the Roscongress Foundation and partners, including the UN agencies and experts, Friends for Leadership international organization was created with next generation leaders from more than 100 countries elected through a contest of sustainable development projects. At the moment, this format is unique. It originated from the SPIEF-2018, and at this year’s forum foreign leaders of the new generation held a number of sessions, meetings and signed cooperation agreements. We welcome this very much,” – said Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the President of Russia.
Participants of the SPIEF international next generation program will continue their work to promote multilateral economic and humanitarian projects, which has been developed at the Roscongress events since 2018. Many projects will help attract new popular ideas and technologies to Russia and other countries. In addition, it is also planned to hold a series of events with foreign partners on foreign platforms using the resources and capabilities of Friends for Leadership, as well as Roscongress and Rossotrudnichestvo, which traditionally acted as a partner for FFL participation in SPIEF by ensuring participation in the forum for 45 delegates via the presidential program “New Generation”.
“In the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Roscongress Foundation was the first to provide a platform for our Friends for Leadership community to meet and work in person. Many participants decided to come to St. Petersburg with a great enthusiasm to promote their projects, sign cooperation agreements previously worked out online and to find new partners, like-minded people and investors. We can say with confidence that SPIEF 2021 was even more eventful for the work of our organization, since it has been preceded by serious work in the virtual space for two years," said Dr. Roman Chukov, founding member of Friends for Leadership, Adviser to the CEO of the Roscongress Foundation on Youth Policy and Chair of the Board of the Centre for International Promotion Fund.
The Friends for Leadership network of the next generation leaders and entrepreneurs was launched in 2018 by the joint efforts of the Centre for International Promotion Fund and the Roscongress Foundation at SPIEF-2018. It now brings together project teams from over 100 countries working to scale up their solutions across 22 thematic tracks, including 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.