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 2018:

Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators V
October 16 to 21, 2018


Young Cultural Innovators - “Who are you and what are you passionate about?”
The Young Cultural Innovators talk about their purposes and organizations in the video project.
Young Cultural Innovators - “Who are you and what are you passionate about?”
Patrick Wilson 
Who are you and what are you passionate about? This was the questioned answered by the Young Cultural Innovators (YCIs) of the second annual Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators for a video series entitled ‘Faces of Leadership’. The videos were produced as part of a workshop led by Jo Hunter, co-founder of 64 Million Artists and an associate at the New Citizenship Project. The goal of the workshop was to enable the YCIs to talk about themselves and their work in a compelling and dynamic way, and at the end of the session, the participants each made a three-minute video doing exactly that. You can watch the videos of the YCIs who have chosen to make their video public in the playlist below and on YouTube. Me-Ryong Choi is a museum instructor at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea. She discussed her work educating the public and encouraging them to enjoy art. Choi expressed that appreciating and loving art must be an inclusive experience for all backgrounds by saying: “I really want to make sure that not just the privileged or those who know about art come to the museum so that those less privileged or have less opportunities to enter the art world can appreciate it. I would love to make sure this happens during my career.” Nicolas García Mayor is an industrial engineer from Argentina and founder and director of ar estudio. Mayor talked about the refugee crisis currently facing us as a global nation. “There more than 85 million refugees around the world,” he said. “Half of these refugees are children. This crisis is due to political decisions, natural disasters and war. This is a big problem.” Mayor stressed the importance of pooling resources and innovation to help tackle humanitarian issues like the refugee crisis. Josefina Bacigalupi Goni, director and founding member of DIBAGO from Argentina, used the story of a mother and her orphaned child to demonstrate the power of working together and sharing skills to create change. “I think that if we can work together as one anything can be done,” she says in her video. Sam Galler is a Rhodes Scholar D.Phil student from the United States studying international development at Oxford University. He is building an online platform that informs political decisions and cooperation. It aims to help coordinate political decisions and inform them when they are making sub-optimal outcomes so that they can correct them and collaborate. “This online platform would be a way of building social trust and helping build a sense of community of those online but would otherwise disagree about several issues.” Galler said. “I think we have a lot of tools that still need to be developed to promote more social cultures.” Rowan Pybus is a co-founder of Sunshine Cinema and Greenpop and a founder and director of Makhulu Media from South Africa. He talked about his work with Sunshine Cinema, a sustainable business model that turns solar energy into social impact. “We started with the idea that media that mattered wasn’t being seen where it was needed,” he said. “We decided to develop a business model that would enable us to share films in areas that were requesting content that could impact them in interesting ways.” Sara Kim, founder of Diagonal Thoughts from Korea, talked about how her architectural office's mission is to create surroundings that can awaken a person to who they truly are and inspire them to achieve their goals. Her organization is specifically working on adaptive reuse which works with existing structures such as abandoned buildings which need to be adapted due to new city programs. “I think the human being is an environmental animal and everyone needs a space to grow and live,” Kim said. Akio Hayashi, a founder of NPO InVisible from Japan, aims to reconnect and remake communities following natural disasters. He talked about the impact of the 2011 Tōhoku tsunami as well as his feelings of a general lack of community within Tokyo. NPO InVisible has used artists to create community engagement projects including an app to collate people’s feelings and emotional responses following the 3/11 disaster. Paz Beguè, director of VERDEVER from Argentina, talked about her seizing an opportunity to be a producer for a company going to China’s Shanghai Arts festival. She realized from this that there was a need to produce Argentinian art abroad which inspired her to start her own project to promote art and wisdom. “The thing is to not only promote [art] as a product - which they are - but to also promote workshops and other things that have to do with the values of art, creativity and what’s behind it.”  Ian Hilzerman is an entrepreneur and designer from Argentina and CEO at #MakePogo. He believes the world has a design problem. “We have unlimited needs but we have limited resources,” he said. To try and change this he has created a network that connects creatives with creators to stop ideas getting lost in the crowd and allow them to be worked on collaboratively. Jiwon Park, a graphic designer, visual communicator, entrepreneur, social catalyst, and educator from Korea, talked about using design for social facilitation and cross-pollination. Her organization Design Can Do aims to inspire one another and promote social cross-pollination. Park said: “I want to make the use of my skills to facilitate positive design processes that can be applied to pressing social issues.” Marcos Amadeo, a public affairs and creative industries developer from Argentina, who is helping to lead the Buenos Aires YCI hub, uses a story about him getting his first car to illustrate the importance of taking opportunities to expand your world view. He makes a point of when he traveled to Morocco where he was alone and had nothing to his name and the kindness of a family that took care of him.  Sanne Donders is a freelance photographer from the Netherlands. She speaks about her interest in the personal stories of people in her city and people in the world. She talked about a family in her neighborhood who have ten children and three adopted children who work several jobs to provide for their children. Due to it being far too expensive for them to go out, they learned Zumba dancing from the internet and every Friday invite people to dance Zumba with them. Donders finished by saying: “I try to remind people that there is no group of people, they’re all individuals with individual stories.”  David Fakunle is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA. He told a tale about a young child who receives gems that give him powers every year of his birthday and also a rock that grants him awareness. Through this he encouraged others to share their gems and using the power of storytelling to pass resources and share knowledge. Christiana Damanaki is a content creator at Clio Muse in Greece. She talked about heritage having a meaning and its relevance today. It was something Damanaki was incredibly passionate about. “I truly, truly believe in my heart and brain that with culture and history we can become better humans,” she said.  Kiron Neale is a Rhodes Scholar D.Phil. student from Trinidad and Tobago studying renewable energy at the University of Oxford. He used a conversation with himself with both Trinidadian dialect and Standard English to show his different forms of interaction in different regions. The conversation also involved his work on using cultural innovation to find sustainable energy solutions. Siphiwe Ngwenya, director of the Maboneng Township Arts Experience and founding director of Arts Township International from South Africa talked about his project to bring art exhibits to the less privileged and non-elite by encouraging people to host art exhibits in their own homes. Dafni Kalafati, an art therapist, documentary filmmaker, and founder of Amaka from Greece, used a form of therapy with the audience to bring a smile to the viewers’ faces. She did this to show the benefits of using art as a tool for self-expression. Kalafati showed her passion to spread happiness, saying: “I believe that everybody around the world has the right to joy and happiness.” Kenneth Asporaat is a theater producer and founder of his own non-profit organization. He talked about investing in your own talent and pushing your creativity to the limit. Asporaat believes creativity is not exclusive to artists alone. “I believe there hides an artist in every one of us,” he said. “It is my force and my strength to see talent in people.” Phina So, leader of Women Writers Cambodia, talked about empowering and connecting writers and readers through storytelling, writing, and dialogue. She encouraged everyone to spread their stories and messages of positive change with each other, and offered her writing skills as a way of facilitating this.  Nicolàs Alvarado is a Mexican writer, cultural promoter, theater and television producer and presenter. He talked about a notebook he was given by his niece that features Jeff Koons’s inflatable lobster on the cover. He used this as a way of promoting the importance of fostering critical thought through the use of humor, wit, and the media. Rachel Woodlee, a Rhodes Scholar D.Phil student from the United States studying social policy at Oxford University talked about her visit to a Tibetan family in a traditional Tibetan home. When asked if she wanted to hear some music she assumed some traditional Tibetan music but instead they played her a techno song on a modern sound system. The experience encouraged her to take a step back from our pre-conceptions and engage with other cultures on a personal level. Akinobu Yoshikawa is a senior design fellow at MakBiz in Sendai, Japan. He talked about trying to make the world better with design and how the use of design and building can support recovery after disasters. He referenced how collaboration can create a better sense of ownership and pride within a community. Sophie Bargmann, a curator, journalist, and conceptor from the Netherlands, talked about her purpose of wanting to "turn Artists into Rockstars." She talked about how boring she would find art galleries as a child and cared more about the gift shop; this directed her focus towards the branding of art. She stated the importance of this branding on a local artist level as well as the wider known artists. Konstantinos Matsourdelis, founder and CEO of the Museum of Greek Gastronomy, encouraged people to think about where their food comes from and to look at the way different cultures use food and how their culinary arts have developed. “We research, we document and we present aspects of our culture through exhibitions,” he said. “Obviously we try a lot of great recipes as well!” Immanuel Spoor is a founder of On Track Agency and Stichting De Nieuwe Lichting from the Netherlands talked about how he unwittingly became a music manager for a friend’s band and how it prompted him to create his own agency. He stated how vital it is utilize the talent of creative people and providing them with a platform and how he wishes to branch out from the Netherlands with this idea. Rebecca Cordes Chan, a program officer at the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation from Baltimore, MD, USA, talked about holistic grant-making as a path to social equity with a short Haiku about the work she does that encourages people to be bold and take risks. Sotirios Stampoulis is a member of the steering committee of the Cultural Innovators Network (CIN) from Greece. He wanted to give narratives to the packaging of basic food products to connect the consumer with the story of its production. In this way he hoped consumers to understand the process of their food production and to become better informed. Lucy Wilhelm, a textile designer and trend predictor from Austria, talked about working together with clients to help realize a shared vision. She discussed her process of alleviating the confusion some of her clients face with bringing their products to the next level. Rasheida Adrianus, founder of Girls 'N Cocktails in the Netherlands, used a poem to discuss why she founded her organization. The poem goes into detail about the disparity she and other women face when they feel unrepresented by the media and her attempts to try and create better representation and reflections of the self in the media Meta Moeng, an arts manager in Cambodia, talked about how she believed art could bring people together. She talked about working with a Cambodian art network to help make connections between the art community and people in Cambodia that can inspire a younger generation. Devin Allen, a self-taught photographer from Baltimore, MD, USA, talked about his experiences of becoming an activist through his photography. He talked about his own upbringing and his issues with racial barriers that informed his career trajectory and the work he does. He talked about the biggest issue he faced saying: “The biggest struggle is being an entrepreneur, being new and being black at that. It was hard to even get sponsorship and funding initially, I was turned down multiple times.” Misaki Iwai, event and collaboration manager at Impact HUB Tokyo, talked about the importance of collaboration in the creation of great ideas. She talked about how these ideas don’t just come from one genius; they can come from all sorts of different backgrounds and experiences. She referenced how the HUB can be used to network and collaborate on ideas. Thomas Layer-Wagner, co-founder of Polycular from Austria, talked about the game his company is making called "EcoGotchi” that aims to promote sustainable solutions for climate change. He hoped the game would help focus efforts of those who want to make a different but don’t know the best way to motivate change with sustainable choices.
The YCI Forum is held by Salzburg Global Seminar and was supported this year by The Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Fondation Adelman pour l’Education, the American Express Foundation, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Fulbright Greece, the Japan Foundation, the Korea Foundation, Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship, the Mexican Business Council Fellowship Program, the Nippon Foundation, Red Bull Amaphiko, the Stichting De Verre Bergen, Adena and David Testa, the US Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia and the HDH Wills (1965) Charitable Trust. More information on the session can be found here: yci.SalzburgGlobal.org
Nicolas Garcia Mayor - Innovative Ways to Help Refugees
Nicholas Garcia Mayor talks innovative approaches to the Refugee Crisis at our Young Cultural Innovators Forum II
Nicolas Garcia Mayor - Innovative Ways to Help Refugees
Patrick Wilson 
Nicolas Garcia Mayor has spoken to Salzburg Global Seminar in our Faces of Leadership video project filmed during our Young Cultural Innovators Forum II. Mayor is an industrial designer from Argentina and founder and director of ar estudio, a design and new product development company, and president of Fundación ar, dedicated to promote and support innovative ideas that will help improve the quality of life of people. He also created the Cmax System, an innovative disaster relief shelter for humanitarian aid. During the YCI Forum in 2015, Fellows were asked to offer some thoughts on their own personal ideas and projects. The following is a list of some of their submissions to the question: Who are you and what are you passionate about? In the video Mayor talks about Fundación ar's work in creating innovation for humanity and what the Cmax System can do to to aid the refugee crisis around the world. You can see more of our Young Cultural Innovators here.
Salzburg Around the World - Cambodia
Susanna Seidl-Fox, Program Director of Culture and the Arts in a session at ANCER 2016
Salzburg Around the World - Cambodia
Patrick Wilson 
Susanna Seidl-Fox, Salzburg Global Program Director of Culture and the Arts traveled to Cambodia in January to attend the third conference of the Asia-Pacific Network for Cultural Education & Research (ANCER). ANCER was originally conceived as an organization dedicated to preserving Cambodia’s traditional art forms but has now evolved into creating a vibrant, dynamic and sustainable art sectors throughout the country. The three-day event featured keynotes and sessions related to networking and on the tools and platforms that can support the research and practice in arts and cultural management and cultural policy fields in the Asia-Pacific region. Workshops were also included to stimulate career choices and networking such as careers in arts management. The theme of this year’s conference was “Vitality & Viability: Arts Ecosystems in Asia”  The event was organized by one of the partners of the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators, Cambodia Living Arts. The organization aims to facilitate the transformation of Cambodia through the arts and work in collaboration with others to create an environment where Cambodian arts empower and transform individuals and communities. ANCER 2016 marked the formal launch of the Greater Mekong Subregion Hub for Cultural Changemakers, an initiative in partnership with Salzburg Global Seminar based in Phnom Penh that seeks to connect young cultural leaders from around the region. This partnership is part of Salzburg Global’s continued transboundary collaboration with organizations and events on a global scale. In 2014, Salzburg Global Seminar launched a 10-year program to make a global network of 500 Young Cultural Innovators. These would be people using arts, culture and creativity for social improvement and sustainable economic development. This network will be built up via 10 regional hubs and connected through an annual Forum in Salzburg, Austria. There are existing hubs in Athens, Baltimore, Seoul, South Africa and Tokyo. Cambodian Living Arts is leading the development of a hub from Phnom Penh. Seidl-Fox praised the event and discussed what she and Salzburg Global have taken back from the experience. “It was inspiring to participate in the ANCER conference on Arts Ecosystems in Asia and connect with a dynamic network of cultural researchers and practitioners focusing on the Asia Pacific Region.” She said. “We received some extremely helpful feedback and advice on the Greater Mekong Delta Young Cultural Innovators Hub that we are developing in partnership with Cambodia Living Arts.”

To find out when Salzburg Global's staff might be in your city and to host a Fellowship gathering, please contact Salzburg Global Fellowship Manager, Jan Heinecke.
Report now online - Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators
Report now online - Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators
Salzburg Global Staff 
The report from the second annual Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators is now available online to read, download and share. The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators (YCI Forum) is an annual series that supports emerging young artists and cultural actors who are using innovative practices to catalyze urban transformation in their communities.  Growing out of the early Young Cultural Leaders Forum, this was the second year of the YCI Forum, bringing 61 participants to Salzburg from 18 countries. These Young Cultural Innovators represented a broad spectrum of the arts and culture scenes in their cities from photography to food, heritage to design. This year's cohort came from nine YCI Hubs in cities around the world, including Athens, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Phnom Penh, Rotterdam, Salzburg, Seoul, and Tokyo. Following the program in Salzburg, which incorporated plenary keynote sessions as well as the skills-building and problem-solving working groups, the YCI Fellows are now encouraged to return to their "hubs" to connect with their 2014 peers and remain engaged with this year's cohort in a growing local and global network. Download the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators II report (PDF) (low-res)

More information on the 2015 program can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/554 More information on the ten-year YCI Forum can be found here: yci.salzburgglobal.org Salzburg Global Seminar is grateful to the following organizations and individuals for their generous support of this session: Fondation Adelman pour l’Education, American Express, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Buenos Aires Ciudad, Cambodian Living Arts, the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Korea Foundation, the Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship, the Mexican Business Council Fellowship Program, The Nippon Foundation, Red Bull Amaphiko, the Stichting De Verre Bergen, Adena and David Testa, the US Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, and the HDH Wills (1965) Charitable Trust.
Salzburg Around the World - From South Africa to Singapore
Salzburg Around the World - From South Africa to Singapore
Heather Jaber 
The Salzburg Global Seminar team is more active than ever, connecting with Fellows and foundations around the world. Recently, our ambassadors were in South Africa, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Italy talking about culture, education,  youth, and bridging societal divides. Hot on heels of her trip to Cape Town, South Africa at the invitation of Red Bull's Amaphiko project last month, Clare Shine, Salzburg Global Vice President and Chief Program Officer, together with Andrew Ho, US Development Director is this week gearing up for the upcoming session Philanthropy in the Global Age, which will take place December 4-5 in Hong Kong. The session marks the inaugural convening of The Global Friends, a consortium of global philanthropists leading values-driven social innovation. Part of this broader Asian trip also has Shine and Ho in Japan, meeting with the Japan Foundation, the Nippon Foundation, and many of our Japan-based Fellows. Susanna Seidl-Fox, Program Director for Culture and the Arts, traveled to Florence, Italy to discuss the pressing need for Western societies and global Muslim communities to comprehend and communicate with each other. The Brademas Centre at NYU brought twenty artists, conveners, practitioners, and funders together from November 11-13 to identify the work that needs to be done to achieve this. The findings from the session Conflict Transformation through Culture were relevant here, and Seidl-Fox discussed Salzburg Global's culture and arts programs and the need to promote capacity-building in the MENA region.  “Most participants agreed that we need to harness the transformative power of the arts to bring about change and that we have to engage cross-sectorally in order to achieve progress,” she said. Seidl-Fox also travelled to Gwangju, Korea, where the discussion of culture continued at the Asia-Europe Foundation’s conference "Cities: Labs for Culture?" Seidl-Fox moderated a panel focusing on leadership in the cultural sector, particularly next generation leaders. The program director 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. The Seoul visit also saw the gathering of Young Cultural Innovator (YCI) Fellows from the local hub. Six Fellows from the past two years joined Seidl-Fox and In Dong Cho, Vice-Mayor of Seoul and head of the Innovation Department and recent faculty member at YCI, for a traditional Korean dinner. During the YCI Forum this year, Stephen Salyer, Salzburg Global President and Chief Executive Officer, visited Singapore for another youth initiative. Salyer attended the first International Liberal Education Symposium on October 11 at the inauguration of the Yale-NUS College, a conference which encouraged dialogue about education in an increasingly interconnected world. 
To find out when Salzburg Global's staff might be in your city and to host a Fellowship gathering, please contact Salzburg Global Fellowship Manager, Jan Heinecke.
Top 10 Books Young Cultural Innovators Are Reading Right Now
Recommended books from YCI fellows
Top 10 Books Young Cultural Innovators Are Reading Right Now
Heather Jaber and Ana Alania 

Soledad Brother by George Jackson — Rasheida Adrianus

  "Most of the books I am reading at the moment and have been reading are related to Black history and racism…I started reading this book because of the #Blacklivesmatter movement. I've been following this movement for a while, and talked about this with my mom, and she gave me the book. It's a very old edition, from the seventies. And it's really interesting to read George Jackson's perspective on racism towards Black men, because it is still very relevant today in the US. The things he touches on in his letters are still present in todays world, even though it has been so long ago."

The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond — Kiron Neale

  "Though the book has a very evolutionary and anthropological outlook on humanity and our ancestors, the interaction between and across our histories presents a very nice illustration of how cultures and innovations of different forms have been engaged with."

Momo by Michael Ende — Paz Begue

"This is definitely a recommended book to read at any age, especially [now]. Time has always been a topic I've been interested in, and I recommend this delicious book for kids and adults, which builds awareness with fun and enjoyable stories and imagines about values, time, and our societies nowadays."

Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, & Power by Psyche Williams-Forson — Rebecca Chan

"I love reading about food and its links to culture throughout history, and so far this book has covered every thing from interviews with Chris Rock to Kara Walker's art."

High Price: Drugs, Neuroscience and Discovering Myself by Dr. Carl Hart — David Fakunle

  "I like this book because it looks intensely at the idea that drugs are not the cause of society's problems, but rather a symptom of it. Additionally I like the autobiographical nature, as it is a story of a man who did not let his circumstances define him, but rather used those circumstances as a platform to promote change and reform."

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson — Rachel Woodlee

"It is a fictionalized account of life in North Korea, and I absolutely loved it (and think some people who attended would find it interesting as well)."

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray — Saule Meirmanova

"It's a good reflection on modern consumer society in Kazakhstan. I found it interesting in terms of values forgotten in our society and a satire on modern relationships within our societies. The best lessons are coming from the past."

SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed by Martin Nowak — Thomas Layer-Wagner

"So far it is a really interesting read. Cooperation is such an important issue and this book gives some interesting insights from evolution and game theory."

El Manantial by Ayn Rand — Josefina Goni

  "It is a guide, a way of thinking about life. An example of that can do things constructively. I like to think we can live well, walking always straight, individual integrity and build a more egalitarian society."

After the Quake by Haruki Murakami — Shinji Sudo

"In order to consider the plight of my own heart, the way of the human consciousness, I have re-read it many times."

The Salzburg Global program is part of the
Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. The list of our partners for Session 554 can be found here. For more information, please visit: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/554
Young Cultural Innovators Leave With Big Plans For Future
Young Cultural Innovators Leave With Big Plans For Future
Louise Hallman and Heather Jaber 

The sixty artists, photographers, theatre producers, inventors, cultural entrepreneurs, doctoral students and city officials, traveled to Salzburg from cities including Athens, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Oxford, Phnom Penh, Rotterdam, Seoul and Tokyo, with a shared mission: expand cultural innovation and positive social change in their home cities and connect with cultural change-makers across the world.

Held at the historic palace of Schloss Leopoldskron, former home of theater impresario and Salzburg Festival founder Max Reinhardt, and led by an expert faculty, this was the second installment of the ten-year YCI Forum led by Salzburg Global Seminar.

The five-day session (October 17 to 22, 2015) combined theory and praxis through lectures, group discussions and skills workshops to help 50 of the world’s most dynamic young minds in the cultural sector develop the entrepreneurial, leadership, communication, problem-solving and technological skills, vision, and global networks needed to advance their organizations, their causes and their communities. A faculty of experts from Argentina, Australia, Denmark, Korea, Japan, the UK and the US led the program. Participants were also encouraged to showcase their own work and projects in a nightly open forum, and were given a tour of the city of Salzburg by local artists and cultural change-makers.

"Day one, session one, felt completely like I was in the right place, because that’s the thing about social impact or impact entrepreneurs…you’re meant have something larger than a bottom line governing your parameters of operation, and that was a big validation for me.”

-- Rowan Pybus, co-founder of Sunshine Cinema and
Greenpop and a founder and director of Makhulu Media

The Forum not only gathers participants annually in Salzburg, but also encourages Fellows to continue engagement throughout the year in their local city “hubs”. Since last year’s session, there have been hub-led events including a mini-YCI Forum in Athens on “Nurturing the New Creator,” a “Baltimore after Freddie Gray” salon, and a public artwork competition in Rotterdam. 

At this year’s Forum, plans for future hub-based projects included regular recurring cultural salons in Salzburg and Baltimore; participation in the Rotterdam “Viert De Stad” festival, marking 75 years since the rebuilding of the city post-WWII; a conference on conflict transformation through the arts in Cambodia; team- and skills-building classes in Athens, starting with a cooking class at the Museum of Greek Gastronomy; continued networking and planning for future events to tie in with the upcoming Summer Olympics and Rugby World Cup tournament in Japan; hosting Salzburg Global staff during upcoming trips to Cape Town and Seoul; and a “pay-it-forward” skills exchange program in Argentina.

“Our second annual Young Cultural Innovators Forum bought together another outstanding group of dynamic cultural change-makers from our growing YCI Hub network around the world,” said Susana Seidl-Fox, Salzburg Global Program Director for Culture and the Arts, “We look forward to connecting this year’s and last year’s Fellows both virtually and on the ground in their respective YCI city hubs, and we are more than ever committed to making the YCI Forum an ongoing vibrant focal point for international exchange, emerging leadership, urban transformation, and innovation in the cultural sector.”

“I want to take back what I learned from here — how to talk, how to communicate...and instead of looking at the small section that I’m in over in Baltimore — even the United States — but also looking at global issues and taking my work global…If I can do this in two years, what could I do for the rest of the world if I had the chance to?” 

-- Devin Allen, self-taught photographer whose photographs of
the 2015 Baltimore protests landed the cover of TIME Magazine

Margaret Mead, renowned anthropologist and chair of the first ever Salzburg Global Seminar session in 1947 once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Closing this year’s program, session facilitator Shelagh Wright echoed this sentiment saying: “Every time I leave here, I think maybe the world will be alright after all because it's in the hands of people like you!”

The YCI Forum grew from the 2012 program “The Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders,” held in collaboration with the US-based National Arts Strategies. Salzburg Global Seminar has a long history in programs around culture and the arts. Founded in 1947 as the “Salzburg Seminar in American Studies”, the independent, non-profit organization has held more than 70 programs dedicated to the cultural sector, including theater and cinema, literature and libraries, museums and galleries, and cultural heritage.

The YCI Forum is held by Salzburg Global Seminar and was supported this year by The Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Fondation Adelman pour l’Education, the American Express Foundation, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Fulbright Greece, the Japan Foundation, the Korea Foundation, Elizabeth S. MacMillan Fellowship, the Mexican Business Council Fellowship Program, the Nippon Foundation, Red Bull Amaphiko, the Stichting De Verre Bergen, Adena and David Testa, the US Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia and the HDH Wills (1965) Charitable Trust. More information on the session can be found here: yci.SalzburgGlobal.org

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