#YTGlobal Feedback: Expert And Jury Member Vladimir Yakunin Makes A Point

Prof. Vladimir Yakunin is the only person who has taken part in most of the YT events held over the last 5 years. And more than anyone else he is familiar with YT activities and developments. In this interview he shares his impression of the YT last event – Global Forum in Barcelona and speaks on one of the main topics of this year’s event: unemployment and how to reduce it.

The first question is about your impression of the forum, and of the projects. How you feel about the ideas you have heard from the young people who participated in #YTGlobal, and if there are some of them who really deserve financial, or any other kind of, support to invest in them.

I heard many remarks from various participants and also from the friends whom I invited just to be with me here and to come to their own conclusions about the quality and the substance of the events we are participating in. So the impression is very positive. And I can agree with them. I was on the judging panel on the first day, the day that was devoted to the topic of unemployment, and the projects that were presented that day were more difficult than the projects presented the second day, which were connected with education. But nevertheless, all the projects in terms of their presentation, in terms of the people who were presenting the projects, were solid. Of course there was a spectrum and some of them were presenting not only feasible but workable structures. Some were just ideas. But I can say that all the young people presenting the projects met at least one requirement: leadership ability, discipline, or knowledge.

What about your advice as an expert, what should they develop?

Yesterday I reflected that if amateurs always followed the advice of experts, our lives would be very gloomy. But from the point of view of an expert, some projects were just projects – I liked them but I think they should go and take the trouble to check on the Internet and consult with knowledgeable people to determine if their assumptions are correct. Maybe there’s something wrong with the basic premise and then the entire edifice will crumble. But as I said, far from saying that that is the weakest point of a project, this is just life and how it actually works.

There is now a huge start-up movement, a huge start-up market. This is actually what our participants are trying to do; they are trying to launch start-ups. What do you think of it? Is it a real alternative to unemployment?

A mass movement to improve the possibility of finding a job, or being self-employed, or helping others to be employed – of course that is a new feature. So to my mind it is now in the hands of society, and governments, to see that that is the potential of the younger generation. And that is the responsibility of the government – to try to acquire this energy, and possibly to support it, and maybe to suggest steering it in the proper direction. Not to waste time, but to use what the younger generation is suggesting.

So you think without state support the growth of entrepreneurship wouldn’t happen?

It would because you know some projects are helped by foundations, or they are helped by companies, or just friends, family, so they have a chance from the start to move forward of course, but we are talking about a massive, systemic problem of unemployment. In Spain, the unemployment rate among young people ranges up to 50 per cent, so can you imagine all these people immediately starting to do something to start up projects and succeeding? It is not feasible. So I think the state should accept its responsibility for finding a way to support people; how to do it maybe not only in financial terms, but special causes, some kind of linkage between the project and state participation, municipal participation.

This topic wasn’t covered during the forum but is very important for Europe now. The refugee crisis. There are a lot of young people among the refugees. So the EU states will have to solve the problem of unemployment not just for the young people who are already here, but for the young people who are coming.

We heard some statements from a speaker during forum in Barcelona that if you don’t like the place you are living in, leave that place and try and find some other place, and that is exactly what you would refer to as chaos. To my mind there should be special youth programmes. Unfortunately, I believe, in the west and in the east, we are neglecting the fact that we are not sustainable forever on the Earth and sooner or later, the people who are young today will take over. So I think some special programmes should cover not only one country, but if we are talking about the EU then it should be EU programmes. If we are talking about collaboration between eastern and western countries there should be mutual programmes. If we are talking about the kids in the Mediterranean, it should already be done now. Not just a free world of multiculturalism, but now we should be concerned with what kind of adults those kids will become. And if we address these matters productively we won’t have any clash of civilisations inside our society.

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