YCI » Overview


Young innovators in the culture and arts sector are providing some of the most imaginative new impulses for social improvement and sustainable development around the world today. They change the way we see and interact with each other. Young artists, creative entrepreneurs and  cultural leaders demonstrate  the  creative  vision,  talent, and  energy  that  our  societies  so  desperately  need  to  meet  the challenges of the 21st century.

The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI) is a ten-year project launched by Salzburg Global Seminar in 2014 to engage fifty of the world's most dynamic young creative changemakers every year.

The young cultural innovators join the annual Forum in Salzburg from “YCI hubs” in six regions of the world to help them develop the dynamic vision, entrepreneurial skills, and global networks needed to advance their organizations, their causes and their communities. The YCI Forum represents a major commitment by Salzburg Global Seminar to fostering creative innovation and entrepreneurship worldwide with the intention of building a more vibrant and resilient arts sector and of advancing sustainable economic development, positive social change agendas, and urban transformation worldwide. 

Upcoming Session in 2017:

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators IV
October 14 to 19, 2017

Peter Jenkinson and Shelagh Wright
in conversation about the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators



The National Shelf Service
The National Shelf Service
Phil Hoad 
“From collection to connection, and from connection to creation.” That’s the mantra of Despina Gerasimidou, who is convinced that Greece’s libraries can become beacons of social change. The country, with its chronic public-funding shortage, doesn’t from the outside seem like a promising candidate. But the Future Library initiative, where Gerasimidou is director, has high ambitions. “We are talking about a revolution here, about the renaissance of the physical library as space,” she says, “More and more libraries are transforming themselves into local hubs, community centers and offering solutions to people’s problems, and services we could not have imagined before: maker spaces, media labs, music studios and business centres.” 

Established in 2011 in Veria, Macedonia, to spread the model of the city’s pioneering central library, Future Library now operates across 140 libraries in Greece and the Balkans. Among many things, it has transformed nine into state-of-the-art media labs, and organises librarian training and summer-reading campaigns.

They’re backed by the philanthropic Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which this summer opened a €600m Athens cultural centre; FL also plans to extend the network out into 11 other countries in the region, including Turkey, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Promoting traditional literacy as well as digital-era skills obviously ticks the kind of egalitarian nurturing role that is the purpose of all libraries, and which can be a starting point for greater social mobility. But Future Library’s support programme could benefit one group in particularly dire need: the estimated 60,000 refugees in limbo in Greece.

“Libraries demonstrate a long tradition of attracting and embracing people regardless of their countries of origin,” says Gerasimidou, “They have the power to advocate for the refugees’ rights of access to education and information, but even more than that: free access to education and information is a fundamental right of all people.”

Future Library has mapped the availability of such services in Greece to refugees, and last year organised a multi-disciplinary training workshop in which librarians, municipal staff, social and NGO workers could learn how to help.

It has been a turbulent time for all public services in Greece – part of the reason why a private philanthropic organisation like the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has decided to step in to stimulate an already-outdated library network. Navigating this partnership hasn’t been plain sailing. The National Library will move to new premises in the Athens cultural centre, while the Foundation will only hand over the Cultural Center, the building and the park to the Greek state. In parallel, the achievements across the wider library networks are already significant – the second time a great library-builder has come out of Macedonia.

Future Library director Despina Gerasimidou was attending the 2016 Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. The original of this article was produced by Red Bull Amaphiko and it can be found here: https://amaphiko.redbull.com/en/magazine/the-national-shelf-service

South Africa's Pop Up Gangster Museum founded by YCI Fellow
South Africa's Pop Up Gangster Museum founded by YCI Fellow
Rofhiwa Maneta 
The first thing you notice about the 18 Gangster Museum founder, Wandisile Nqeketho is his larger-than-life character. The Khayelitsha-based entrepreneur has a disarming wit about him, routinely interjecting parts of his speech with a joke, anecdotes about the ways of the world and a trademark “it’s too easy” quip when responding to a compliment about his achievements. But underneath his comedic exterior lies a man who’s well aware of the workings of the world and it’s violence – and he’s made it his life’s mission to do something about it. “I can’t live in a society that is governed by fear,” says the 26 year old. “Khayelitsha [where he lives] has a huge gang problem and gangsterism’s become normalized. I don’t think curbing gangsterism should just be left to the police. I wanted to do something about it myself.” His Cape Town-based social enterprise does exactly that, by collaborating with gangsters and ex-offenders to educate people about the dangers of gangsterism.

Nqeketho’s 18 Gangster Museum is a museum dedicated to showing the material consequences of gangsterism. The museum is hosted inside a shipping container and is a replica of a prison cell and the idea is that ex-offenders go ‘back to prison’ while those visiting the prison are immersed into its realities. The ex-offenders also give first hand accounts about the hazards of gangsterism and prison life from inside the prison cell museum. “The response was amazing,” he recalls. “There was an ex-offender who shared his story at the museum. He’d been in prison for four years for armed robbery, car theft and attempted murder. And he’s only 26, mind you. But he’s turning his life around. He’s in varsity right now and even though his is a cautionary tale, there’s a bit of hope at the end of it. He managed to turn his life around.”

To live in a township in any part of Cape Town – or any part of South Africa for that matter – is, to quote American author Ta Nehisi Coates, “be naked to the guns, violence and trauma”. Nqeketho believes in writing a new narrative, not just for Khayelitsha, but for every township dotted across South Africa. “I want to live in a gang-free society,” he says, before pausing, almost as if to keep his loftiness in check. “I just can’t live in a society where gangsterism or crime are presented as a way of to the kids growing up in townships. If anything, the recent response to the exhibition has shown me just how much work still needs to be done. The museum is still in its infancy but it would be great to have it up and running outside of Cape Town.”

Wandisile did attend the 2016 Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. His attendance was generously supported by Red Bull Amaphiko. The original of the article can be found here: https://amaphiko.redbull.com/en/magazine/south-africa-s-pop-up-gangster-museum
Young Cultural Innovators travel to Salzburg for third YCI Forum
Young Cultural Innovators travel to Salzburg for third YCI Forum
Chris Hamill-Stewart 
Cultural innovation and creative entrepreneurship have become key to sustainable development, economic progress, and social development in the 21st Century. The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators III, taking place October 11 to 16 at Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, Austria, will bring together over 50 of the brightest minds from across varying industrial, geographic and cultural backgrounds with the goal of developing their skills, enhancing their connections on a global scale, and sharing their own expertise and experiences. The experience will help these innovators prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. 
The Forum brings groups of people from selected cities to develop “culture hubs” – these hubs form the core of the Young Cultural Innovators program; they give participants areas where they can focus their ideas, develop them collaboratively and explore and develop upon what they’ve learned during the Forum. They also provide a platform for public events and workshops. There are currently hubs in cities across the world, including Tokyo, Athens, Buenos Aries, Salzburg, Baltimore and Seoul.
As the third instalment of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators in the ten-year series, the Forum will build on previous years’ experiences to provide an even more in-depth and fulfilling experience. This year there are six new cultural hubs: with Adelaide, Detroit, Memphis, New Orleans, Minnesota and Plovdiv being represented. There are also eight new partners including the Albanian-American Development Foundation, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, Arts South Australia, the Asia-Europe Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Yeltsin Center. The host of new partners have helped to being in participants from new hub cities to an already hugely diverse program.
Across the packed five-day program, participants can expect a wide variety of experiences: collaborative sessions; multimedia training and practice; highly interactive talks; smaller and larger discussion and workshop groups. All this aims to develop skills and foster creativity and collaboration.
“We have gathered an amazing group of inspiring young leaders who are using their imaginations and creative energy to improve their communities and bring about transformative change in their cities,” said Program Director Susanna Seidl-Fox, “They are in for a week of intensive discussion, skill building, peer mentoring, exchange, inspiration, and fun.”
Experts and facilitators with their own eclectic backgrounds come from all over the world to share their expertise and experience, guaranteeing that the experience is enriching for all participants. 
The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators III is part of a ten-year multi-year series, which is generously supported by: Albanian-American Development Foundation; America For Bulgaria Foundation; American Express; Arts South Australia; Asia-Europe Foundation; Cambodian Living Arts; Edward T. Cone Foundation; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Korea Foundation; the McKnight Foundation; Red Bull Amaphiko; The Kresge Foundation; Japan Foundation; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; Adena and David Testa; and the Yeltsin Center. 
More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/569. 
More information on the series can be found here: yci.salzburgglobal.org 
You can follow all the discussions and interactions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSyci.
Beyond the Schloss Gates
Beyond the Schloss Gates
Patrick Wilson 
Salzburg Global Seminar challenges current and future leaders to solve problems of global concern. Our dedicated team at Salzburg Global share in this mission, not only by leading programs in Salzburg, but also by partnering with other globally-conscious organizations and facilitating events across the world. Singapore Founded by three young Harvard men as place for fresh intellectual exchange, Salzburg Global Seminar has long been engaged in issues surrounding the future of education. In this vein, President Stephen L. Salyer visited Singapore for the first International Liberal Education Symposium, hosted by Yale-NUS College at its new permanent campus in the city-state. The event brought together more than 30 global education leaders to discuss the future of international higher education and dialogue on obstacles and trends in education in an increasingly interconnected world. Hong Kong Salzburg Global’s long-running program Philanthropy and Social Investment entered a new phase in 2015 in anticipation of the adoption of new climate change goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the funding needed to support these new initiatives. Marking the start of this new phase, Vice President and Chief Program Officer Clare Shine together with US Development Director Andrew Ho travelled to Hong Kong for the session Philanthropy in the Global Age.  The session was co-convened with The Global Friends, a consortium of global philanthropists leading values-driven social innovation, and focused on the philanthropic innovation needed to support transition to a climate-balanced economy and foster US-China collaboration to this end. Gwangju and Seoul, Korea Building on our work with the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum), Program Director for Culture and the Arts Susanna Seidl-Fox travelled to Gwangju, Korea for the Asia-Europe Foundation’s conference Cities: Labs for Culture? Seidl-Fox, who has been leading programs on culture and the arts at Salzburg Global for almost 20 years, moderated a panel focusing on leadership in the cultural sector. She also met with creatives and cultural leaders in Seoul at the World Culture Open, a network which invites people to engage in intercultural exchange and collaboration. While in the capital, Seidl-Fox was also able to attend a gathering of local YCI Fellows from the Seoul hub. Florence, Italy Intercultural exchange and conflict transformation were also key themes for Susanna Seidl-Fox when she traveled to Florence, Italy, to discuss the pressing need for Western societies and global Muslim communities to build comprehension and communication. New York University’s John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress brought together 20 artists, conveners, practitioners, and funders to identify opportunities for positive action and collaboration. Seidl-Fox brought insights from the 2014 session Conflict Transformation Through Culture: Peace-Building and the Arts and discussed the need to promote capacity-building in the Middle East-North Africa region. Minsk, Belarus Program Director Charles E. Ehrlich furthered Salzburg Global’s conflict transformation work when he traveled to Belarus to speak at the International University on Conflict Transformation in Minsk – an apt location, as the city had recently hosted the OSCE-led Russian-Ukrainian peace talks. Ehrlich presented two topics drawn from his own professional experiences in Kosovo and Catalonia, examining the causes of disputes, reconciliation, and lessons learned for peaceful transformation. The program brought together young professionals from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, including Russian-occupied territories (Abkhazia and South Ossetia), to look beyond regional conflicts and frame constructive dialogue for exchanging new ideas.

Berlin, Germany

Drawing on her own professional background in biodiversity and climate and water issues, as well as Salzburg Global’s own extensive work in the fields of international trade, governance, transboundary cooperation, and conflict prevention, Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer Clare Shine moderated a discussion entitled (Mis)understanding of Climate – China, India, and the EU at the Public Diplomacy Forum in Berlin, Germany. The event was hosted by the Charhar Institute, Clingendael Institute, and ifa, and supported by Robert Bosch Stiftung.  Cape Town, South Africa Red Bull’s Amaphiko project is a founding partner of the YCI Forum. Through this partnership, Vice President and Chief Program Officer Clare Shine was invited to Cape Town, South Africa to speak at the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy, a launch-pad event for grassroots social innovators and entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in their community. As well as strengthening the Red Bull Amaphiko partnership, Shine also acted as a talent scout, meeting STEM education innovator Varaidzo Mureriwa and inviting her to participate in Untapped Talent: Can Better Testing and Data Accelerate Creativity in Learning and Societies?
WANT TO HOST A SALZBURG GLOBAL FELLOWSHIP EVENT IN YOUR CITY? To find out when Salzburg Global Seminar staff might be in your city and to inquire about hosting a local Salzburg Global Fellowship event, contact Salzburg Global Fellowship Manager Jan Heinecke: fellowship@SalzburgGlobal.org 
Architects of the Future
Architects of the Future
Louise Hallman 

When Clemens Heller, Richard Campbell, and Scott Elledge convened the first “Salzburg Seminar in American Studies” in 1947, they were reacting to a continent ravaged by two World Wars in just three decades. Inspired by the Marshall Plan for Economics, they sought to launch a “Marshall Plan for the Mind” to reinvigorate European and American intellectual capacity, strengthen connections across the Atlantic, and heal deep post-war rifts. 

Fast forward nearly 70 years and Salzburg Global Seminar continues to forge breakthrough ideas and collaborations that bridge global and local divides. Our mission to challenge current and future leaders to solve issues of global concern calls for courage and creativity across generations and sectors.  

Most of Europe may no longer be ravaged by war, unlike some regions, but it faces spiraling tensions that can only be resolved through youth engagement and long-term vision. The recent financial and Euro crises, as well as attempts to accommodate desperate waves of refugees crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety in the European Union, have pushed European institutions, governments, and communities to the brink. New solutions and new energy are sorely needed.  

“As a trusted neutral organization that has witnessed conflict on its doorstep for decades, Salzburg Global has the responsibility to think and act long-term beyond narrow interests,” explains Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer Clare Shine. Our multi-year programs not only seek to address immediate problems facing individuals and institutions, but also systemic challenges, identifying levers for sustainable and socially just change at all levels. 

Many of Salzburg Global’s 2015 programs addressed critical issues faced by young people around the world. These included Youth, Economics, and Violence: Implications for Future Conflict, held in partnership with the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which tackled the interconnected problems and opportunities of burgeoning youth populations and marginalized youth in key cities and regions. Early Childhood Development & Education and Untapped Talent: Can Better Testing and Data Accelerate Creativity in Learning and Societies – both in partnership with ETS – examined ways to improve education and social care systems from early years to university to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to fully develop and realize their potential. Two off-site panel discussions in Vienna on Educating Young People for the Jobs of the Future and Washington, DC on The Immigration Crisis: A Preview of Things to Come? explored the need for labor markets and societies to accommodate technological disruption, changing demographics, and human mobility.  

In addition to youth futures in the areas of education, employment, and civic engagement, Salzburg Global’s 2015 programs also concentrated on finance and corporate governance systems that shape the prospects of – and will be shaped by – upcoming generations. It is vital to include rising and non-standard perspectives in these high-level dialogues, explains Salzburg Global Program Director Charles E. Ehrlich: “They question conventional thinking, enabling established participants to reassess today’s systems in the light of global challenges.”  

Younger professionals need to be at the table not only because they broaden perspectives, but also because they will be the architects of transnational systems on which future prosperity, environmental protection, and the achievement of global agendas such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals will depend. Engaging fresh talent on equal terms is the way Salzburg Global leverages new voices, new brains, and new geographies. 

“By bringing smart young voices to the center of interdisciplinary discussions, Salzburg Global empowers next generation leaders to influence current policymakers and affect positive change into the future,” adds Ehrlich. 

To equip youth from all backgrounds to become effective leaders, it is critical to invest in their human capital development. Salzburg Global not only opens up opportunities for informal mentoring and network growth through attending sessions on topics from health care innovation to the future of financial regulation, but also runs dedicated capacity-building programs, such as the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum), the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, and the now-independent Global Citizenship Alliance. 

Participating in the annual YCI Forum in Salzburg helps teams of innovators from city hubs around the world develop new skills focused on intra- and entrepreneurship, the latest digital resources, new business models, risk-taking and innovation, the psychology of leadership and emotional intelligence, and cross-cultural communication and negotiating skills. They leave “turbo-charged” to expand their work in their communities. This motivation and upskilling is all the more valuable, as many of these city hubs face significant economic, political, cultural, and/or racial stress.  

Reflecting on his participation in the YCI Forum, David Olawuyi Fakunle from Baltimore, MD, USA, said: “I will look back on Salzburg as the five days that changed my life. It gave me a glimpse into what the world can be when everyone is driven by understanding, cooperation, and social good. It is comforting and personally it has strengthened my purpose. Just as importantly, I left with a plan for action. That is what I needed, and the fact that I received it will take my efforts to provide healing in Baltimore to the next level.” 

Dafni Kalafati from Athens, Greece added: “What I took back home was a heart full of joy and a mind full of inspiration. Bringing together so many innovative minds can only create a better world to live in.”  

Heller, Campbell, and Elledge would likely agree.

Young, Innovative, and Widespread
Young, Innovative, and Widespread
Patrick Wilson 
The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum) brings together talented individuals from the culture and arts sectors in several key cities. The Forum helps them develop the dynamic vision, entrepreneurial skills, and global networks needed to allow them, their organizations, their causes, and their communities to thrive in new ways. In their “hubs” across the world, our YCIs are putting these newfound tools to work. With the annual program in Salzburg as its cornerstone, the YCI Forum is structured around a network of hubs, currently including Athens, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Phnom Penh, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Seoul, and Tokyo. Salzburg Global is actively working to expand its network of hubs in more cities and countries across the world. Baltimore, MD, USA  Citizen Artist Baltimore, a project led by 2015 YCI Rebecca Chan with support from Priya Bhayana (YCI 2014) and Deana Haggag (YCI 2015), is mobilizing the Baltimore arts and culture sector to make their interests a critical issue in the city’s 2016 mayoral election. Their activities led to the first-ever Mayoral Forum on Arts & Culture in Baltimore’s history. The project also aims to create connections between organizations and communities that have not customarily engaged with one another and mobilize diverse constituencies around a common goal. Buenos Aires, Argentina In Buenos Aires, Fellows greeted 2015 with a new project to help facilitate high-level artistic production within disadvantaged social contexts. The project, entitled Hangar, aims to create events that will allow artists in poor social and economic situations to participate in creative and cultural activities and showcase their work in venues where they are not traditionally visible. Athens, Greece  Our first Greek YCI Fellows created a new independent cultural network, cultureFWD, and in June they hosted an interactive, educational workshop for young artists, creators, and cultural entrepreneurs in Athens, Greece. Dedicated to giving back to their own cultural community, cultureFWD partnered with Salzburg Global to create the day-long event, which brought together 48 participants from around the world and focused on ways in which the Greek cultural and creative sectors may respond to the country’s ongoing social and economic challenges. Phnom Penh, Cambodia Supported by Cambodia Living Arts and the US Embassy in Cambodia, the Mekong Delta hub, based in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, worked with young students to explore the possibilities of arts and culture as agents of change. The event was held at Sa Sa Bassac, where Meta Moeng (YCI 2015) is the community projects manager. The event used materials such as the Salzburg Global Faces of Leadership video series to inspire students to engage in arts and culture and learn from the achievements and personal stories of Young Cultural Innovators from around the world. Tokyo, Japan With Mitch Yoshimoto, faculty member of the 2014 YCI session, leading the cultural program for the 2020 Olympics, the YCIs of the Tokyo hub are in the early stages of planning a YCI-led event to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 summer games. They hope to bring together YCIs from multiple years and hubs for the event.  Rotterdam, the Netherlands Rotterdam YCIs and Forum sponsor, the Stichting De Verre Bergen, have partnered to support “creative business plans” for public arts projects in the city. Five proposals were selected by the YCIs at an event by Stichting De Verre Bergen in January; the projects are currently in development stages. One project will win €15,000 to invest in its own continued activity and growth. Salzburg, Austria The Salzburg Hub has seen many collaboration projects among YCIs and other Salzburg Global Fellows. Martin Murer (YCI 2015) organized a symposium with Shinji Sudo, a faculty member of the second YCI session from Japan, at Salzburg University’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction in June 2015. After attending Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability in February 2016, Robert Praxmarer (YCI 2014) is collaborating with Romanian Fellow Anamaria Vrabie on an eco-game app for schools, which will explore how computer games can change our behavior and society.
FIND OUT MORE The report from the 2015 session Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum) is available online to read, download, and share. SEE ONLINE:  www.SalzburgGlobal.org/go/554  yci.SalzburgGlobal.org
AADF launches Culture Corps for Young Cultural Innovators
AADF launches Culture Corps for Young Cultural Innovators
Patrick Wilson 
The Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF) has launched its new project, Culture Corps | Young Cultural Innovators Driving Change on 2 June.  The new initiative aims to strengthen the cultural sector and expand the possibilities for innovation and change through the power of creativity.  AADF implemented the project in collaboration with Salzburg Global Seminar and fulfill the training program through our Young Cultural Innovators Forum.  The goal of the project is to create the mindset and give the tools to local cultural innovators to drive the change in their communities and provide opportunities for the next-generation of cultural leaders to learn new skills, knowledge and build networks that they need to jump start entrepreneurship. Hosted by the Center for Openness and Dialogue, the inaugural event included a panel discussion composed by: AADF Chairman of the Board Michal Granoff, Vice President and Chief Program Officer of Salzburg Global Seminar Claire Shine, Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro and Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj. The speakers shared with the audience their approach and commitment, in support of the project, underling the need for creative initiatives in help promote and implement sustainable development. The continuing project will improve the capacity of 15 emerging young creative promoters in Albania to use the arts and creativity as means to catalyze the urban regeneration of cultural hubs both through their participation in Salzburg Global Seminar’s Young Cultural Innovators Forum and through the development of cross-country Innovation Hubs. AADF has opened applications for Albanian participants at YCI forum 2016. Applications will open until June 25 here.  
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