Thousand Lakes of Friendship Forum Benefits Youth
Published: December 4, 2013 (Issue # 1789)
From Nov. 11 to 26, the Russian-Finnish Thousand Lakes of Friendship forum was held jointly in St. Petersburg and Helsinki. The forum focused on the exchange of research and practical experience between youth development specialists . The forum also aimed at strengthening of international ties between Russian and Finnish youth, as well as the exchange of experience in the implementation of youth policy and the support of youth initiatives.
The forum consisted of five-day bilateral visits by delegations from St. Petersburg and Finland. Business and cultural programs tailored to the purposes and objectives of the forum shaped the programs of both visits.
The participants of these delegations included program managers and activists from youth organizations, representatives of NGOs and state and local authorities responsible for the implementation of government youth policy. The Russian delegation included such representatives of youth policy development as Artyom Cherevko, a deputy of the city’s Porokhoviye district; Miroslav Nikolayev, manager of the St. Petersburg Development and Investment Promotion Agency and the Card-index of Social Affairs youth project; A.R. Linkevich, manager of the Vector youth project; and representatives of the trade union committees of the Baltic State Technical University, St. Petersburg State University of Economics, St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics and other institutions.
The first part of the forum was a visit by the St. Petersburg delegation to Finland from Nov. 11 to 15. For the business portion of the program, seminars took place in an meeting hall of the Social Democratic Party of Finland where youth projects from Finland were presented and meetings with the chairman of the Helsinki Youth Committee took place. The participants of the business meetings within the forum were the chairman of the Young Eagles association Pyaivi Lipponen, Advisor to the Kouvola City Administration Tuomo Saarinen and others. Key events during the program included a visit to the Finnish parliament and a roundtable discussion on the legal and organizational mechanism of providing state and municipal programs to support youth initiatives in Helsinki. This part of the forum’s cultural component included a visit to the Temppeliaukio Church, the Sibelius monument, the Center of Science and Culture Heureka science center in Vaanta, the historic center of Porvoo and other places of cultural significance.
The Finnish delegation's visit to St. Petersburg, which was held from Nov. 25 to 29, concluded the forum. The business program included a presentation on local projects, visits to youth organizations and participation in a roundtable discussion. The main topics of discussion within the roundtable were the support of youth initiatives in St. Petersburg and ideas and projects devoted to Russia's social development, a problem of international concern. Furthermore, meetings with representatives of the government and local authorities of St. Petersburg were included in the business portion of the Finnish delegation's visit, including meetings with Alexander Kushyak and Sergei Solovyev, deputies of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly; Marat Kozlov, a deputy for the Porokhoviye district and others. The cultural program included a visit to the Russian Museum complex, the Umnicum interactive science and entertainment center and the Mariinsky Theater.
The result of the forum was the strengthening of Russian-Finnish relations in the field of international youth cooperation, the exchange of experience in the development of youth initiatives and the expansion of dialogue between commercial and non-profit organizations and the government. The event was organized by the Committee on Youth Policy and Interaction with NGOs in St. Petersburg.