For the first time in its history, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is set to host Junior SPIEF, a youth section of the Forum. It will bring together 200 school students from Russia and up to 100 school students from Qatar. The programme was developed by participants of the Big Change, a project of the presidential platform ‘Russia – Land of Opportunities’.
During their meeting with Russian Minister of Enlightenment Sergey Kravtsov on 27 April, school students presented their draft programme for the youth section, which they developed together with members of the business community and curators of training programmes for entrepreneurs. Participants of the Big Change shared their view on what Junior SPIEF should be like, what economic topics teenagers should discuss at the Forum, who can become guest speakers at the section, and what should be included in the junior cultural programme.
Sergey Kravtsov noted that teenage participants in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum was a sign of the government’s focus on the children’s and young people’s interests and needs. “When discussing economic and social development, we need to remember that our efforts target the welfare of future generations,” emphasized the Minister.
The expert analytical development organization, the Content Foundation, came forward with the initiative of holding Junior SPIEF as a sideline event of this major economic event. The Roscongress Foundation, the state company Prosveshcheniye, the non-profit development institute Innopraktika, and the nationwide Big Change project are organizers and partners of Junior SPIEF.
Head of the Content Foundation Elena Sokolova emphasized the importance of Junior SPIEF: “Evidently, a proper response to the major challenges Russia and the rest of the world are facing takes fresh and bold ideas. It is no other but the young people, who can come up with them. This is why we introduced a unique event that will bring together the brightest representatives of the new generation – school students that are capable of strategic and critical thinking and striving to change the world. The event’s key message is providing them with an opportunity to present their ideas and initiatives and share their opinions on the so-called adults-only topics.”
The selection process for Junior SPIEF participants started on 27 April in the Big Change community on VK. School students will present their business start-ups and make a case for their participation in Junior SPIEF. A jury of experts will choose the most exciting projects that may be implemented in the near future.
Natalia Mandrova, Coordinator of the Big Change project and Head of the Rospatriot Centre (part of the Russian Federal Agency for Youth Affairs), noted that the Big Change has built a community of gifted children and teenagers capable of showing their worth in various areas of expertise: “They are talented kids who are capable of thinking outside the box and suggesting really interesting solutions to some existing ‘grown-up’ problems. So, why not let them have a say and participate in the first children’s programme of a major international economic event?”
“Today’s children are different from older generations. They are open to the world and ready for life-long studies. They are the ones, who will develop our country and face important decisions. Our job is to help and guide them, to offer mentoring and our experience,” said Pavel Zenkovich, Vice President of Prosveshcheniye state corporation.
According to Natalia Popova, Deputy General Director of Innopraktika, to enable social and economic development, we need to address a range of challenges – not just technical challenges, but social and educational ones, too: “All generations need to stay united by common values and to cooperate in the jet age. Generation Z is the first digital generation that cannot image the world without high-tech. This is the generation that will replace today’s one. I hope that for the generation of the future Junior SPIEF will become a space, where one has choice and opportunity not just to learn but to actively and smartly participate in shaping potential social and economic change.”
Contact for media representatives:
Olga Kuznetsova, Press Secretary of the Big Change
Tel.: +7 (962) 989 8337