BSF Roundtable on “The Evolving and Ever-present Cyber Security”

On Friday, 17 November 2017, a roundtable discussion “The Evolving and Ever-present Cyber Security” will be taking place within the framework of the Bled Strategic Forum international conference in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, Centre for European Perspective and Club Alpbach Senza Confini. The event will start with small refreshments at 16h in the Cafe of the City Museum of Ljubljana.

The roundtable will discuss main trends in cyber security and ways in which countries and companies are dealing with cyber threats. The ways in which IoT, block chain and cyber warfare are changing our lives and shaping our future will be explored.

The discussion will feature:

  • Mr Daniel Cohen, Head of the Strategy program at the Institute for International Diplomacy and a researcher at Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Institute
  • Major General Dobran Božič, Director of the Government Office for the Protection of Classified Information
  • Mr Gorazd Božič, Slovenian Computer Emergency Response Team
  • Mr Peter Geršak, International Business Machines Corporation, Slovenia

Please note, the discussion will be held in English.

RSVP: We kindly ask you to confirm your participation at by Tuesday, 14 November.

2017 Young BSF Manifesto

There lived an incredible group of individuals who wanted to make a difference in society. They answered the call from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and one weekend they all gathered together for a magical event called ‘Youth Bled Strategic Forum’. They came from many faraway lands – Japan, Brazil, Egypt, Moldova, Montenegro, Australia, Serbia, EU countries and others, to attend this event held in the region of central Slovenia – green Ljubljana at ABC Accelerator. In fact, more than 30 creative minds, tech and social entrepreneurs and researchers gathered for 48 hours to collaborate to create stories and raise awareness on the pressing issues related to the nexus of economy, ecology and electronics in times of (dis)connected reality.

Concrete issues were tackled over the weekend. Groups were created with a mix of professions, including start-up CEOs, researchers, governmental officials, innovators, web designers, social and tech entrepreneurs. Led by a design-thinking coach these groups were tasked with creating a ‘tale for the ages’ regarding their chosen venture. For 48 hours, participants of the 7th Young BSF were networking and bonding, thinking outside the box and making magic. Participants really got to work on Saturday morning in an Opening Reflection with H.E. Dr Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, that encouraged the participants not to forget the values behind any positive change in society and to be courageous, bold, innovative, open, but also to be tolerant and cooperate with each other.

Participants prepared a manifesto with 10 actionable policy recommendation for the changing world in three sessions on electronics, environment and economy that were initially presented to the Mayor of Ljubljana Mr Zoran Janković and subsequently at the Bled Strategic Forum. In addition to that, participants walked away knowing that they were helping to make the world a better place. Participants left the event inspired, buzzing and motivated. New partnerships were formed and friendships created. They travelled back to their faraway lands motivated and inspired…

1. Prepare For The Challenge Of Industry 4.0
2. Technological Inclusiveness
3. Problem-Based Learning
4. Universal Technological Ethical Code
5. Incentive-Driven Agriculture Policies
6. Green Urban Planning
7. Sustainable Consumption
8. Increasing The Efficiency Of Public Services
9. Trust Building Through Improving Transparency
10. Enhanced Cyber Security

1. Prepared for the Challenge 4.0: Each stakeholder – policy makers, implementers, educators, non-technological businesses, media, and users should be continuously educated to enable them to adequately participate rather than just observe Industry 4.0. Plans and resources should be made for relevant, efficient and timely training and learning by the best providers in education – public and/or private.

2. Technological Inclusiveness: While technological achievements are common and widely used in more developed and affluent parts of the world, it is not the case across the globe. To address the emergence of regional technological asymmetries and the distinctive form of inequality that it brings, we propose the establishment of a Universal Basic Technology System to act as a redistribution mechanism similar to that of the Universal Basic Income. The system should be financed by a combination of smart taxation and an incentive-focused tax relief policies, built around key stakeholders, both corporate and individual.

3. Problem-based Learning: For the humankind to remain and be a positive factor in the ever-more frantic societal change, we call for an Education Reform employing problem-based, life-long learning with an emphasis on character-building. Such reform would help raise responsible and proactive citizens, capable of critically assessing new issues and responding to them in a swift manner which remains inclusive and sustainable.

4. Universal Technological Ethical Code: We unanimously recognize the development of clearly defined ethical standards as one of the main challenges of our hyper-technologised and often borderless societies. To avoid the misuse of power around scientific breakthroughs, both on the part of states as well as non-state actors and individuals, a clear set of rules and guidelines need to be established. They would direct all areas of human activity heavily impacted by digital and other newly emerging technologies.

5. Incentive-driven Agriculture Policies: Many traditional human activities are facing the challenge of an aging population and disappearing knowledge pools in certain industries. Agriculture, particularly at local level, is a pertinent case in mind. To motivate producers in the agricultural sector to continually educate themselves and strive for sustainable production, we suggest a revision of subsidy policies and smart incentive-oriented approaches that enable local production to better dovetail with the industrial food sector. Such approach would result in higher quality of products while also ensuring a more secure form of income and sustainability for producers at all levels.

6. Green Urban Planning: It is projected that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be urban. Cities, regardless of their size, should strive to increase and balance the size of their green areas. This can be achieved by traditional means, such as re-opening old and creating new parks in different forms, as well as using previously idle spaces, as is the case with rooftop gardens. This would provide a valuable example for city-dweller to also engage in responsible and sustainable production within the confines of their own homes and communities. Green urban planning should become an highly-ranked integral part of policy contemplations both at the state and municipal level, while also becoming a fulcrum of private undertakings.

7. Sustainable Consumption: It is important to stress that how we consume is just as important as how we produce. Since the bulk of the global consumption stress is rooted at the level of the individual consumer, the only way for us to lessen the ecological footprint of human consumption is to become more and better aware of the impact of our everyday activities. People should be encouraged to engage in moderate and ideally environmentally neutral consumption, something that can also be supported by innovation and awareness raising campaigns undertaken by both public and private actors, as well as on international level.

8. Increased Efficiency of Public Services: Today, large portions of the public sector seem to be trapped in a pre-digital era. This is perhaps most evident in the case of bureaucratic services, which many people consider to be the epitome of inefficiency and tediousness. It is even more remarkable when we consider the innovation and optimisation potential of modern technology on administrative processes and the fact that technology-based solutions are regularly adopted in the private sector to great avail. In addition to existing digital solutions, newly emerging technologies, such as virtual reality and blockchain should also be considered seriously and in a timely manner to enable e-governance systems to be fit to serve the needs of people in the 21st century.

9. Trust Building through Improving Transparency: Lack of trust both in public institutions and private organisations is undermining people’s ability to tackle contemporary challenges across the global policy spectrum effectively. As technology develops, this problem is likely to worsen, unless ethical standards are introduced along with scientific advancements. To this end, existing as well as emerging technologies should be taken up with the aim of improving the transparency of all societal and economic processes, through open data, big data and more. While process tractability is likely to be affected to an extent, particularly regarding privacy, we still regard these measures worthy of consideration given their trust-building potential.

10. Enhanced Cyber Security: In a world where not only virtual but also physical infrastructure is governed using digital systems, the enhancement of cyber resilience is paramount. To avoid intrusions and disruptions at an individual level as well as curtail systematic risk, a two-pronged approach is required. Firstly, we need to reinforce our technical capabilities by investing in nascent technologies, such as machine-learning and artificial intelligence, which will help us have the necessary level of control in an ever-more complex world. Secondly, restrictive standards should be put into place – they would clearly define which actions are permissible within the cyber realm and crucially how to deal with violations. Cyber security standards should be agreed at a global level and would need to be binding for all relevant stakeholders.

Support the Manifesto at:


Young BSF seeking comprehensive solutions to “new reality” (interview)

Ljubljana, 31 August – The Young Bled Strategic Forum (Young BSF), the preface to Slovenia’s pre-eminent foreign event, the BSF, will focus on the quickly changing world as it takes place for the seventh time in Ljubljana over the weekend.

The organisers have built the concept on Slovenian author Vladimir Bartol’s premise from his novel Alamut: Nothing is true, everything is permitted. Young BSF programme director Iza Tršar picked the premise as a dramatic exaggeration about the world of today.

“But, the more I explored the virtual and digital world, especially in their more negative forms, the more I came to believe that the situation in society is rather serious,” Tršar said in an interview for the STA. Another segment in blueprinting the event were the findings of World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab about the fourth industrial revolution, which changes the way of life and at the same time blurs the line between physical, digital and biologic sphere, Young BSF deputy programme director Sandra Palamar added.

Meanwhile, Tršar believes that not all is black-and-white and negative, but society must start paying more attention to finding comprehensive solutions to managing the “new reality”, which has already become part of everyday life. To overcome the partial addressing of these new phenomena and to design a more comprehensive strategy to tackle them, Young BSF will this year focus on the fusion of virtual, digital and real in three key fields, the three Es: electronics, environment and economy.

“Before I started exploring these fields in connection to digitalisation in greater detail, I had not had much knowledge about the topic. I knew of the impact of digitalisation on the issues I dealt with at work…In these contexts, digitalisation almost always played a negative role.”

“This is one of the reasons why I wanted Young BSF to address the topic: selfishly, I wanted to prove to myself that there is a positive side to digitalisation,” Tršar said. In addition, Palamar stressed that in addition to investment in technology and digitalisation, development of human resources is also important.

“To empower a person through developing key competences and at the same time find ways for the marginalised and those who adjusted to globalisation the least to be included in society and make active participation available to them.”

Tršar and Palamar believe that this year’s Young BSF, in which more than 30 “exceptional individuals working in electronics, environment and economy” from across the globe will take part, will provide a comprehensive view on the topics that are key for “our future and the future of our planet”. It will move beyond the fourth industrial revolution, “especially in the field of environment, both social and natural”, Tršar added.

Participants, who will tackle the topics in three panels, will at first discuss them with Prime Minister Miro Cerar. In addition they will try to define the greatest challenges and find solutions to them in workshops. Their findings and proposals will be summarised in a manifesto that will be presented on Tuesday as part of Business BSF.

“I believe that Young BSF’s yield, which will be designed by all the participants in the forum, will be a good starting point for seeking responses to questions with regards to quick changes for all societies and countries, not only for Slovenia,” Tršar concluded.

Running under the motto “(Dis)connected Reality” this year, Young BSF has become a recognised generator of ideas and solutions that contribute to the implementation of new strategies and tackling of serious challenges.

Source: Slovenian Press Agency

Confronted with fundamental challenges to our perceptions – how to adapt to the new realities?

Ljubljana, 30 August 2017 – The world has been changing rapidly. While globalisation and digitalisation have significantly increased the pace of our lives and brought us closer than ever before, we are confronted with fundamental challenges to our perceptions of politics, the economy, security and society. Organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for European Perspective under the title New reality, the twelfth Bled Strategic Forum, to be held on 4 and 5 September, will try to find ways to adapt to the new realities without forgetting the foundations on which our modern societies were built. The political-security Forum event will again be accompanied by the Business BSF and Young BSF, as well as several side events.

| Bled Strategic Forum (BSF)

The Leaders’ panel will feature a debate on today’s rapid changes, which present profound challenges to our self-perception, politics, the economy, security, and society. With the world order possibly at the breaking point, it will seek a strategic vision on how to adapt to the new reality without forgetting the foundations on which our modern societies were built.

Federica Mogherini will continue with the session Address by the High Representative / Vice-President of the European Commission before the Special panel – A new vision for a new reality, where instability, poor development, environmental changes and conflict situations that cause grave human suffering and result in violations of basic human dignity, social stability, peace and international law, will be debated. Long-term global peace, stability and sustainable development can be achieved only through result-oriented and enduring dialogue, taking into account the basic values, norms and principles enshrined in the UN Charter.

Conversation with the President-elect for the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly will feature Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, and will revolve around the priorities of the forthcoming presidency of the UN General Assembly, as well as the issues currently at the top of both United Nations and international agenda.

What drives Europe and the world in the 21st century? Is the move towards a society of change and innovation reshaping Europe’s economic model? How can Europe deal with growing economic (and political) inequalities within the EU and beyond, and how can we restore trust in democracy, especially among the younger generation? An informal chat entitled The Future according to Tanja Fajon and Jacques Rupnik will ‘pick the brain’ of two thinkers on the topic of big societal issues that are the EU’s key challenges for the decade to come.

The growing use of the Internet and social media platforms, where anyone can share their version of the truth and spread misinformation, has fragmented the commonly agreed basis for reality and led to the polarisation of public opinion. The ‘fake news’ phenomenon, the alternative facts phenomenon, along with media hacking, the changed rules of the political game, and the role of the media, will be discussed by the Night Owl Session – Fake news, and do the media still need editors?

The panel discussion Global nuclear governance: Quo vadis? will confront the unstable and unpredictable global security situation. Increased tensions, aggravated by public statements about the possible use and modernisation of nuclear weapons, as well as military exercises that simulate their deployment, including unannounced drills, and developments in other regions around the globe are a great cause for concern.

The uneven distribution of freshwater in the world, its vital importance for life and development, as well as factors such as population growth, urbanisation, and climate change, all determine the relationship between peace and water, as well as increase the relevance of the latter. While some states have already demonstrated their commitment to preserving this vital natural resource for future generations; nevertheless, global awareness of the importance of the nexus between water and peace still lags behind current pressing trends. The success of international initiatives and comprehensive awareness of the urgent need to address the challenges that water poses for peace and security will be addressed by the panel discussion on Water for peace and security.

The economic and financial crisis, unstable eastern and southern neighbourhoods, migration pressures,and generally deteriorating security situation have in recent years eroded trust between the Member States and caused a shift in relations between the EU institutions. With such developments occurring at a time when major global players are turning away from multilateralism and considering economic protectionism, the panel discussion on The European Union in a changed world will weigh in, whether the EU will be able to consolidate from within and re-establish itself on the global stage as a bastion of multilateralism and free and fair trade.

A growing list of nightmares, perfect storms, and global catastrophes fuel fear of the future. But there is another way of looking at the future. We do not have to be pessimistic or optimistic; we can simply have realistic hope, like future-oriented thinkers and doers who do not ignore reality, but take these challenges into account when exploring the possibility of making a better future for many more generations. The reasons for hope will be discussed by the panel discussion on Realistic hope – How transformation happens faster than one thinks.

The serious challenges faced by the Countries on all the shores of the Mediterranean today will be debated at the panel discussion on Southern Mediterranean and the promise of regional integration. In the context of global instability, and yet of immense regional opportunities, we will discuss the scope and a need for strengthened multilateralism and, even more importantly, for stronger integration in the South.

As history teaches us that protecting human rights and dignity helps prevent conflict, dispel ignorance, instil respect for others, and build better societies that are more resilient to threats from within and from without. What is the role of human rights in today’s society, why do we need them, and how they can help us face the insecurities of modern times will be discussed with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at the session entitled Human rights in times of change.

Never before in the history of foreign affairs or diplomacy have heads of state had a method of such immediate and uncensored communication at their disposal as they have today with social media tools such as Twitter. Some argue that foreign policy should not be conducted via Twitter, while others feel that Twitter and the vast array of social media tools available today could launch a new form of public diplomacy, called Public Diplomacy 2.0. To Tweet or not to Tweet in foreign affairs will be the focus of the panel on the Digital diplomacy in the 21st century: To Tweet or not to Tweet in foreign affairs?

The side event entitled InvestTalk Slovenia will present opportunities for investment and business climate in Slovenia. Presentations will be held by the representatives of SPIRIT Slovenia – Public Agency for Entrepreneurship, Internationalization, Foreign Investments and Technology, as well as representatives of the the Bank Assets Management Company, who will present concrete business cases and investment opportunities.

The debate on the Western Balkans, a recurrent topic at the Bled Strategic Forum, will assess a lack of implementation of agreements in a panel entitled Western Balkans: EU enlargement – Is pretending the name of the game? While this may be a consequence of the fractured relations in the region, the internal political situation in individual countries, the situation in the EU, and the slow pace of the enlargement process it should have been clear by now that it is in the EU’s strategic interest that the enlargement process has no real alternative.

| Business Bled Strategic Forum (Business BSF)

Organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration, the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia, and the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the 2017 Business BSF will focus on the role of innovations. As the world is changing rapidly it no longer suffices to understand these changes solely on the basis of past experience and to adapt to a new reality with traditional approaches. We need to create and implement new business, economic and social concepts and new approaches in order to successfully address the challenges of our new reality.

The gap between reality (awareness) and the near future (new reality) will be discussed by the AmCham Business Breakfast – A Changing World: How Do We Feel and Co-create the New Reality?, while in the second part, breakfast will continue with the session entitled Red Monkey Innovation Management Organizations and Regions in Search of a New Balance and a discussion on how to bridge this gap.

The innovation movement is growing and acquiring a global dimension, and the new reality demands a genuine effort to achieve sustainability. What role does innovation play in the new reality and how does it manifest itself will be discussed by The role of innovation in a new reality session. However, as even the most visible and successful technological innovations are not enough to drive change, they can act as a trigger. Transformation in its broadest and real sense entails changing both the mind-set and culture in a particular organisation or society as a whole. Thus, the session will also take into focus the need for social innovations.

The special session Musical Leadership Strategy – For a European Identity in a Multipolar World will feature the social innovation brand of Miha Pogacnik, known as the “resonance platform”. By using the disruptive method, he empowers business and political leaders to experience the genius of classical music masterpieces as a specific European strategy for vision, the mobilisation of total human potential and action.

While the rapid ongoing digitalisation and technological transformation of the economy and society holds many promises, it also brings disruptions, transforms our societies and the way we live and work, and opens new issues on regulation. The session entitled Innovative Europe – Opportunities for a new breakthrough will therefore address the main obstacles to, and/or catalysts for, a new breakthrough in the field, as well as how does the business sector perceive these opportunities for Europe as a whole.

The modern technological platforms connecting supply and demand are assuming the roles of accommodation providers, tour operators, taxi drivers, tour guides and restaurants (for example: Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Uber, Blablacar, EatWith, ToursByLocals etc). This collaborative economy is causing profound shifts in tourism. The needs, wishes, and motivations of contemporary consumers, but also the ways to address the question of what the fair rules of the game are for all tourism stakeholders in the existing system and how to establish effective cooperation to the benefit of all, will be discussed by the tourism panel entitled The collaborative economy: sharing, cooperation or simply business?

| Young Bled Strategic Forum (Young BSF)

Under the title (Dis)connected reality, the seventh edition of the Young BSF will bring together successful and innovative young leaders, diplomats, academics, representatives of NGOs and business professionals from all around the world between 1 and 3 September. They will discuss the different ‘realities’ of our physical world that seem completely disconnected from the reality that our societies actually live in. Young BSF will give visionary young leaders an opportunity to form real, connected, or virtual partnerships and networks. This goal-oriented forum will seek to prompt discussions and create synergies between different ideas, turning them into connected or disconnected realities of, and for, everyone.

Bled Strategic Forum in brief

Over the years, the annual Bled Strategic Forum has become established as a leading conference in Central and South East Europe focused on discussing and seeking solutions to pressing regional and global issues. The Forum attracts some one thousand participants, including heads of state and government, ministers, diplomats, businesspeople, scholars, youth, and media from around the world. It also provides opportunities for bilateral and multilateral meetings with prominent regional and global actors, as well as possibilities for networking and exchanging ideas between political and business leaders.

Young BSF: Virtual Reality of the Economy and the Real Sector

The economy is the quintessence, the source of security and stability for every individual, society and country. It would appear that the economy and the real sector are the last bulwarks of material reality. A closer look discloses the virtuality of the economic sphere as well. Can the digital world with its artificial internet-based currencies significantly revitalize the economy? Can home-based work drastically reduce labour-related costs? How will societies without the Internet, the great door to virtual reality, compete with those that have access to it? Does digital warfare include access to the economy of the ‘Net’? Will it deepen divisions in the world?

The scale of the revolution in technology is fostering economic changes and will continue to do so in ways unprecedented and unimaginable. It will profoundly impact not only markets but also the empowerment of individual citizens towards governments, creating new economic models with transformative powers. The 4IR will have a transformative impact on the economy, which will have a multitude of faces and will be mutually effective.

Economic growth will continue to be the hallmark of the economy, and the new revolution is envisaged to significantly boost productivity. Despite the fact that in recent years, digitalization failed to bring the perceived economic growth at the global level, new, more positive trends are expected in the future.

Innovations in business, finance, internet-based services and financial flows are already paving the way to a financial world of tomorrow. However, the disruptive cyber-warfare, a significant modern threat, will also gain in importance in the years to come. Cyberspace has become as real as the physical environment. The approach of governments, enterprises, civil society and individuals will have to change significantly to curb the ever growing cyber insecurity.

At this year’s Young Bled Strategic Forum, we are going to talk with innovator of informational systems and software developer, financial forensic and professor of international business about how the technology-led fourth industrial revolution will fundamentally transform the way we work, live and relate to each other and how to successfully prepare for it and get the most out of it.

Young BSF: The Environment – No Flow, No Go

Our physical and social environments are undergoing profound change. Pessimists are trying to convince people that our planet is on the brink of survival and that the cohesion of social contract is disintegrating. Optimists rely on the transformative nature of new technologies and inventions to make the life in our post-modern societies more fulfilling.

Digitalization and technologies introduced by the Fourth Industrial Revolution are opening up a new realm of opportunities. The confluence of physical, digital and biological worlds is the hallmark of the new revolution, ushering in new possibilities to enhance the use of resources and to manage them in a smarter and more efficient way, thus restoring our natural and social environments.

Digitalization and the use of the new ecology- and sustainability-based technology allow both individuals and organizations to have a greater impact of the environment. Governments and enterprises are already focusing on data analysis, data sharing and the latest powerful electronics and communication tools.

Many intelligence-led technologies for acquiring information to improve resource management are already in use today, including drones and satellite data. Due to the shrinking of arable land and increasing urbanization, focus should be placed on high-quality data analysis, research and infrastructural changes in the megalopolises of both today and tomorrow. Social innovation in the spheres of ecology and the environment has been gaining ground and has already helped make our planet healthier for us. Highly informed individuals can play a vital and transformative role in changing our world.

At this year’s Young Bled Strategic Forum, we are going to talk with innovator who use drones to predict vegetation, social enterpreneur and a bee keeper, EU climate change specialist and Ag-tech technologies developer about how the technology-led fourth industrial revolution will fundamentally transform the way we work, live and relate to each other and how to successfully prepare for it and get the most out of it.

Bled Strategic Forum to address “new reality”, sec-gen says (interview for Slovenian Press Agency)

Ljubljana, 28 August – The 12th Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) will get under way next week to find answers to the New Reality of the ever changing world, Peter Grk, the BSF secretary general, has announced. “We need a joint deliberation on how to address this new reality,” he said in an interview for the STA.

“Things change really quickly and our perception changes along with them… History in a way repeats itself and the crises we face today, the regional conflicts, migrations, etc. are not that different than they were in the past. But our perceptions are,” he said.

“Because of digitalisation and globalisation, all things seem closer, more important, more part of our lives and our new reality,” added Grk. He pointed out that people were bombarded with thousands of pieces of unfiltered information every day without knowing whether they were reliable.

Panel debates at the forum will aim to highlight the topical issues in the international community: “This year’s BSF is very ambitious. It follows our goal – to become some sort of a regional Davos, where all key figures from politics, economy and the civil society come together in one place. We need a joint deliberation on how to address this new reality or better yet how to adjust to it and direct it.”

Among other things, a panel will be held on nuclear safety and another on “digital diplomacy”. According to Grk, the latter will deal with “tweeting in international relations – does it change the culture of communication between countries”.

A panel will also be hosted on fake news, “which is yet another topic that changes our perception of the world,” the BSF secretary-general pointed out.

According to him, the BSF is growing and becoming increasingly recognised in Europe and wider. This is reflected in one of the strongest turnouts in recent years with more than 1,000 participants already confirmed.

Among those scheduled to make an appearance are the new Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, 13 foreign ministers, including from all the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu as well as Paul Richard Gallagher from the Vatican. Seven other ministers and the speaker of the Canadian House of Commons, Geoff Regan, are also expected in Bled.

In addition, senior officials of international organisations have also announced their arrival, including OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria, IAEA general director Yukiya Aman, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad and Fathallah Sijilmassi, the secretary general of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Also announced are the arrivals of Lassina Zerbo, the director of Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.

A strong showing is also coming from the EU, with European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini scheduled to make an appearance.

“Their taking the time to come to Bled proves that the BSF is growing and that it is becoming a hub of international discussions,” Grk noted.

The future of the EU will also be high on the agenda as it is expected to become a matter of serious discussions after elections in Germany in September. According to Grk, recent elections have shown that populism and extremism are not the leading force in the EU.

“I believe that after the German election, we’ll start a serious discussion on where we’re going, what kind of EU do we want and how strong and sympathetic we will be together. Slovenia is a country that advocates, with other like-minded countries, an integrated, strong, sympathetic, transparent and democratic EU.”

As has become tradition, the BSF will be divided into three parts – the main part, Business BSF and Young BSF.

Young BSF, held at the weekend before the main part of the forum, will be held in Ljubljana. “We have a selection of interesting and ambitious youths, so I expect that this part of the forum will also put forward interesting proposals for the strategic deliberation of our common future,” Grk noted.

According to him, Business BSF, taking place on 5 September, will be “in line with the new reality”, focusing on innovations and what they mean for the way we live in the future.

The organisers dedicated Business BSF to innovations because they “believe the economy also plays an important role in what kind of a world we’ll live in”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Centre for European Perspective (CEP), which organise the BSF, have turned to the ministries of public administration and defence, and the Government Communication Office as well as the AmCham and for the first time the German-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce for help organise Business BSF.

According to Grk, the BSF is growing every year and “plays an important role in strengthening the international reputation and in promoting Slovenia”.

Source: Slovenian Press Agency

Electronics: The future of people in the land of robots

In the coming decades, developments in electronics and IT will fundamentally transform social and economic life. Traditional manufacturing has been digitally transformed by sophis¬ticated technologies such as drones, robots, nanotechnology and 3D printing. The most pertinent question is whether robots will take over our jobs.

The new, technology-led, fourth industrial revolution will be characterized by smart production system and changes in supply on the one hand and demand on the other. Digitalization will also affect local and global value chains; however, this could also result in the creation of new jobs for designers and developers on the autonomous systems of the value chain. At the same time, an important characteristic of the new reality is that the real and virtual worlds are progressively merging. Considering that it will become more and more important to connect individuals and machines with the help of technology across the value chain in a way that creates value predominately by generating, securely organizing and drawing insights from number of data. However, growing reliance on technology and automation will affect the labour market and potentially widen income inequality, especially in capital-intensive autonomous systems where human workers can often be directly replaced.

Moreover, in the future we will see an advanced move from automated (pre-programmed system) to autonomous systems (systems able to react dynamically to events). At present, automated systems mainly operate in more constrained environments, such as highly automated car manufacturing runs in closed and restricted spaces where the system is not influenced by humans. The key challenges when it comes to moving robotic systems with enhanced abilities and improved operationality from inside to less confined areas will be in motion planning and navigation, as well as in securing a safe shared environment that enables close cooperation between robots and humans in less constrained environments outside manufacturing.

Although robotisation is increasingly taking over conventional factory floors and causes certain economic sectors to disappear, the changing environment creates new jobs and new forms of work. The crucial challenge in the medium term will be to equip people with the skills that these new jobs demand. In order to address this issue successfully, the primary focus should be on developing the competencies and agility that enable individuals to adjust not only to different types of employment, but also on the several of employers. Analytical aspects of education will have to be combined with acquiring crucial skills, such as developing flexibility and cultivating lifelong learning. Low-skilled workers and other social groups that are most affected by globalisation are not adequately prepared for the coming technological revolution, which could dramatically widen the gap between ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. Most at risk are predicted to be single-income households headed by low-skilled women. Social innovations will have to follow or even surpass the development of the technological innovations in order to ensure the inclusion of the most marginalized in the labour market and to reintegrate them into active community life.

At this year’s Young Bled Strategic Forum, we are going to talk with social innovator, engineer from leading global manufacturer of industrial robots and global digital consumer experience (DCX) strategist about how the technology-led fourth industrial revolution will fundamentally transform the way we work, live and relate to each other and how to successfully prepare for it and get the most out of it.

Heads of state and government, ministers, diplomats, business people, scholars and the media gather to discuss the “New Reality”

The world is rapidly changing, with globalisation and digitalisation significantly increasing the pace of our lives and bringing us closer together than ever before, as well as presenting profound challenges to our self-perception, politics, economy, security, and society. The annual Bled Strategic Forum will address the “New Reality” we live in and seek for the answers to the pressing issues of today’s globalised world.

Providing a high-level platform for discussions, the 12th Bled Strategic Forum will take place on 4 and 5 September 2017 addressing the challenges posed by the “New Reality”. As a leading strategic conference in Central and South East Europe it offers the room for exchange of ideas and concepts through the panels, round tables and one-on-one interviews in the idyllic environment of Bled, Slovenia.

Established political, economic and social elites are losing ground. Populist, nationalist and extremist movements are on the rise. It is difficult to keep up with the vast amount of information that bombards us daily, let alone evaluate its true value or meaning and put it in a proper context. Wars and conflicts in Europe’s immediate neighbourhood and in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia challenge our views on morality, norms, and values. Terrorist attacks fuel fear in our lives and societies, and the fact that there are millions of refugees worldwide deepens our sense of insecurity.

With the world order possibly at breaking point, we need a strategic vision, strong democratic leadership, and perseverance. We need to adapt to the new reality, but always remember the foundations on which our modern societies were built. It is vital to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy, and the rule of law continue to be respected, as well as everything else we have built through the decades.

Pressing regional and global issues bring forth also the questions of the role of the business sector. Since it no longer suffices to understand the changes solely on the basis of past experience and to adapt to a new reality with traditional approaches, we need to create and implement new business, economic and social concepts and new approaches. The search for such approaches will be at the core of the Business BSF, an integral part of the Forum, organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration, the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia, and the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry, under the title “Innovating New Reality”.

The challenges of the younger generation in their aspirations for a better future will be traditionally incorporated into the Young BSF. Taking place on 1‒3 September 2017, it will tackle the “(Dis)connected Reality” and give visionary young leaders an opportunity to form real, connected, or virtual partnerships and networks.

Attracting around one thousand participants, including heads of state and government, ministers, diplomats, business people, scholars and the media from around the world, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the Centre for European Perspective put a unique emphasis for the bilateral and multilateral meetings with the regional and global stakeholders and the leaders of today and tomorrow.

Photo: STA, BSF 2016 Archive

Young BSF 2017: “The (Dis)connected Reality”

The Young BSF, an integral part of the Bled Strategic Forum, traditionally held in the days preceding the Forum, has become a unique meeting place for a diverse array of young leaders, entrepreneurs, bloggers, thinkers and socially active individuals, offering them a platform to share their visions, exchange ideas and network with one another throughout the year.

Each year Young BSF gathers young people, who engage in vibrant dialogues on current most pressing issues, address inventive approaches in promoting positive change and finding solutions to the many complex challenges.

The Young BSF model is growing and changing annually. The topics have varied and ideas evolved, but the main objective remained clear: to bring together bold, brave and action-oriented individuals from different walks of life, both foreigners and Slovenians, and offers them a collaborative, creative, and inspiring environment for discussion and networking.

This year’s Young BSF will be held on 1 – 3 September 2017 under the title “The (Dis)connected Reality” addressing the three E-s of today globalized world – electronics, environment and economy. The three main topics will be further examined through the main panels: “Electronics: the future of people in the land of robots?”, “Environment: No flow, no go?”, and “The Virtual Reality of Economy and the Real Sector”.

The Young BSF departs from the simple, yet exciting perspective: “We live in interesting and turbulent times. A prominent Slovenian novelist Bartol would say that nothing is real and everything is allowed. The realities of our physical world seem to be completely disconnected with the reality that we are trying to live, the virtual reality where all our wishes seem to be possible.”

The 2017 Young BSF will give visionary young leaders an opportunity to form real, connected or virtual partnerships and networks. This goal-oriented forum will seek to prompt discussions and create synergies of different ideas, turning them into connected or disconnected realities of and for everyone. Read more about Young BSF here.

Photo: Young BSF 2016.