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
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
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
Berlin, GermanyDrawing 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
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.
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