The Bled Strategic Forum
10−11 September 2018
Bled Strategic Forum 2018 – Bridging the Divide
How do we distinguish a fact from a perception or a myth? How do we bridge the divide?
Despite significant advances in technology and enhanced interconnectivity, we still do not share a common understanding of the world in which we live. The array of tools at our disposal to engage in effective, inclusive and transparent dialogue is greater than ever before in the history of humankind. And even though many parts of the world enjoy new scientific advances, learning techniques, frameworks for cooperation and dialogue and ways to communicate, this increased access to information has still not resulted in greater homogeneity and harmony.
The 13th Bled Strategic Forum, which will take place in the town of Bled, Slovenia, on 10 and 11 September 2018, will be dedicated to overcoming some of these traditional perceptions and searching for common ground, thus contributing to a prosperous and sustainable future for everyone.
The GDL Members held the following sessions:
Chi Nguyen held a Night Owl Session on: Achieving Gender Equality Today
10 September 2018
Almost everyone is talking about gender equality these days. The #MeToo movement, this year’s G7 discussions and SDG5 brought into focus the need for gender equality. Numerous questions regarding gender equality have yet to be tackled and discussed in public. What’s missing from the global efforts to achieve gender equality? What can be done to make this an issue for everyone? How do we deal with the competing backlash/perceived threat to masculinity? This session will explore how unusual players can take up the challenge of gender equality, examine the risks and challenges to the feminist movement and discuss how we lead cultural and social change.
Colette Mazzucelli joined as a Panelist in the Panel: European Union: What Keeps Us United
11 September 2018
In recent years, the EU has been facing significant challenges, which have lifted the veil of its unity, revealing its internal fragmentation. Sometimes, the Union seems to be criss-crossed with divisive lines running from West to East, from the centre to the periphery, and from North to South, making it seem like a variable-geometry Union. However, despite the reality of sometimes diverging interests which arise from different historical, demographic, geopolitical and economic backgrounds, interdependence remains a key underpinning element of the EU’s daily reality. The key principle of managing our mutual dependence has been, or should be, solidarity, as proven from the outset of the integration process. In the light of shared and recently unprecedented challenges, European leaders have reconfirmed the need for unity between Member States; however, the approaches to finding solutions appear to differ. The EU panel will seek to discover what unites us, how we are bridging the existing gaps and divisions within the EU, and how we will ensure that we maintain our unity.“
Levels of trust in institutions vary across time and cultures. The 2018 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER, which measures trust across a number of institutions, sectors and geographies, reveals a world of seemingly stagnant distrust in business, government, NGOs and the media. However, trust in institutions is one of the most critical elements of healthy societies, as it matters for their legitimacy, well-being and, ultimately, stability. This is particularly relevant in periods of economic, political and social instability, when credible institutions are mandated to absorb shock waves. This participatory panel will seek to discuss the root causes of people’s declining trust in well-established and alternative institutions and share experiences of how this challenge is addressed in various regions and at different levels. It will also explore alternative ways of regaining trust and enhancing public engagement with institutions to bridge the gap between people and institutions.
Mome Saleem held a session on: Climate Change and Security Dynamics
11 September 2018
Climate change has multifaceted implications for planet like disasters, depleting livelihood opportunities, extinction of species etc. Impacts of climate change are certain and can already be seen with the unprecedented, recurrent and intense disasters around the world in the recent past e.g. floods, heat waves in Europe, cyclones in the coastal areas etc. It is expected that the severity and magnitude of these disasters will increase manifold in coming years hence altering the environmental, social, and economic fabric of the nations (IPCC 2007). It will lead to degradation of natural resources and reduced opportunities for livelihoods hence leading to alternate sources and strategies for livelihoods (Foresight 2011).
Although subject has been extensively studied in the context of development, energy, disasters etc. but one important area “Security” could not attract the required attention. Climate change has sever implication for security at national, regional and global level. It can trigger conflicts, unrest and even wars. Major reasons of these conflicts would be depleting resources, which will trigger competition, and ultimately it will be culminated into conflicts or wars.
In 2003, Dr Adil Najam developed a matrix to highlight the mode of implication of climate and environment on security (Figure-1). He argued that to understand the dynamics of environmental implications on security, we need to redefine the security policy. We have to analyze the security through the lenses of human security (Najam, A 2003).
About the Bled Strategic Forum
The Bled Strategic Forum has established a considerable reputation since it was first held in 2006 and has evolved into a leading international conference, beyond the borders of Central and South Eastern Europe, bringing together a diverse set of participants, including heads of state and government, ministers, diplomats, businesspeople, scholars, experts, youth and media from around the world.
The Forum encourages participants to think outside the box and to develop practical solutions to the most pressing regional and global challenges through discussion and meaningful interaction. At the same time, it offers an excellent opportunity to meet and network with prominent regional and global actors from the spheres of diplomacy, politics, business, science and innovation.
Here you can find the report on last year's edition of the Bled Strategic Forum, where the GDL was represented by Marty Castro, Chi Nguyen and Mome Saleem. They hosted a fishbowl discussion on the topic “Digital Diplomacy in the 21st Century – to Tweet or not to Tweet in Foreign Affairs”, which appears to be more relevant now than ever before.
Ms. Chi Nguyen is the Managing Director at Parker P. Consulting, a social enterprise consulting firm owned by White Ribbon. White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity.
Ms. Nguyen has been recognised for her contributions to improving the lives of women and girls throughout Canada by the Governor General (2004) and the YWCA (1999). These efforts included running a national Young Women Vote campaign, the creation of the McGill Women in House program and co-authoring the “Little Black Book for Girls”.
She serves on the advisory of Jane’s Walk, a global movement of citizen-based walks that connect people with their own stories about their communities.
In her free time, she likes to race streetcars on her bicycle, eat delicious food, run and quilt.
Colette Mazzucelli is a graduate faculty member of the Department of International Relations at the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University (NYU). She has two decades of experience in technology-mediated learning.
Professor Mazzucelli is a recipient of the NYU Excellence in Teaching Award 2013. Three of her courses have been profiled by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Foreign Affairs and the CFR Educators Bulletin. She is the author and/or editor of five books and numerous journal articles on European integration and transatlantic security. Her biography appears in Marquis Who’s Who in the World. Professor Mazzucelli’s courses on conflict resolution and radicalisation and religion represent NYU in the State Department / Facebook initiative, Peer 2 Peer (P2P).
She enjoys sports, appreciates travel, cuisine, and architecture, and loves making a home for her 12-year old adopted orange tabby, Samson Ferenc.
Eirliani Abdul Rahman is co-founder of YAKIN (Youth, Adult survivors & Kin In Need), an NGO working on child rights and child protection issues, and a member of Twitter’s Safety & Trust Council. She is also Director at the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.
In 2015, she led a successful campaign of the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan entitled #FullStop to #childsexualabuse in India. Eirliani served in the Singapore Foreign Service and was posted to Delhi as Political Counsellor. Prior to that, she was in Berlin as First Secretary (Political). Before becoming a diplomat, she was a development consultant in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she worked with Harvard Business School’s Prof Michael Potter on the Kazakhstan Competitiveness Programme.
Eirliani won the 2015 BMW Foundation Responsible Young Leaders Award and is an Asian Forum on Global Governance Fellow. She writes for the Huffington Post and the India Today Group’s “DailyO” on issues concerning child online safety and child sexual abuse. She was featured in the book Majulah! 50 Years of the Malay/Muslim Community in Singapore. Eirliani edited Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s book Will for Children, a collection of essays on child labour.
An avid rock climber, Eirliani trains in Colorado and Singapore. She speaks English, German, Malay and Russian.
Imran is a South African diplomat in the process of completing his MA in International Relations and World Order through the University of Leicester online, with a focus on the impact that Technology is having on International Relations. He is currently an official in South Africa's Foreign Ministry, covering issues related to South Africa's position on science and technology in a multilateral organisation such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Prior to this, he served as First Secretary (Political) at the Embassy of South Africa in Berlin, Germany, from 2014 to 2017.
Since January 2005, he previously served as Desk Officer for the National Office for Coordination of Peace Missions, as well as on the USA Political Bilateral Desk.
He served his first diplomatic posting as First Secreatry (Political) at the South African Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, from June 2007 to July 2011, where he dealt with a range of issues from serving on the secretariat of the South African Mediation Team to dealing with the land issues in Zimbabwe as it affected South Africa.
Throughout his teenage years he took up various leadership positions as a student activist in organisations that stood up against apartheid and any other forms of injustice. To this day, he holds and maintains these values.
Hanina Ben Bernou began working for the EU in 2010 - first addressing complex, global and emerging security threats. Since 2013, she is working on crisis response and crisis preparedness in the highly dynamic environment of Somalia.
Through her previous work experience in the energy and water sector, she has had the opportunity to deepen her understanding of a wide range of topics including renewable energies, supplies, management and private sector participation.
She has a wide interest and practice area including crisis management, development cooperation, diplomacy, energy, human resources, IT, management, radicalisation, security, security-development nexus, stabilisation, and water.
Hanina is a cosmopolitan migrant due to her German-Algerian origins, her French-German education, and her time living and working in Kenya, Somalia, Belgium, France, Spain, and Algeria.
Ahmad Maaliji is a public administration and development cooperation professional with 13 years’ experience in public administration reform, institutional development and international experience covering the EU, NATO and regional cooperation.
Ahmad has worked in the Foreign Service of Afghanistan in various capacities including Counselor at the Mission of Afghanistan in Brussels; and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Programs. He has also worked for international organizations like British Council and the Asia Foundation, mainly involved in public administration and institutional development.
Ahmad holds a Master Degree in Social Sciences from Vrije University Brussels, and he is also a graduate of the Diplomatic Academy of Afghanistan. Ahmad is interested in track II diplomacy and strengthening the role of civil society organizations in state policy making.
Mome Saleem has a strong background in global governance, peace and security, gender, diplomacy and training for conflict resolution through dialogue.
She has a keen insight into the needs of developing countries and is a well-versed and proficient public speaker in the languages of Urdu, English and Punjabi.
She has conducted training sessions on peacebuilding, transformation, conflict resolution and gender mainstreaming and media content analysis on peace and gender.
Mome Saleem is a Programme Coordinator at Heinrich Böll Foundation Islamabad, Pakistan. Before, she has worked at the think-tank “Sustainable Development Policy Institute” in Islamabad.
Her research interest focused on human security and gender as a cross-cutting theme. Mome has produced research publications on subjects with relevance to Pakistan.
She is coordinator of the Council for Women Parliamentarians.