The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue (BSYD) is an annual event for young people interested and engaged in Baltic Sea Region affairs. The dialogue brings young people from across the region together in exchange for historical, political and societal issues of common concern. It aims to foster intercultural understanding and peer dialogue on regional and identity-building topics.
The BSYD has proven itself to be an important event when it comes to youth participation and making young voices heard. Youth is emphasised on political agendas across the region, and they are an important stakeholder group for democratic processes, decision-making and developing the future. Each BSYD strengthens the base for that by facilitating expert and peer dialogue through a meeting platform and framework.
The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue started in 2014 and was carried out for the first two years as a joint programme of the CBSS and Körber Foundation Germany. Together, they gathered young Europeans from their respective networks, who were interested in the history of the Baltic Sea Region. Organising programmes in border areas of the region, the young participants got to know each other’s cultures in order to reflect, discuss and explore their shared identity.
Since then, the event has taken place in several of the CBSS member states, such as Estonia, Finland, Germany, Poland and Russia*.
BSYD previous editions
Participants discussed with experts topics such as submerged munitions, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, international projects in the field and youth engagement in general. Based on that and their own experience and ideas, the young participants produced recommendations in the form of an “Engagement Roadmap”, which can assist stakeholders in the region to better interact with youth and develop their ideas.
- “Imaginarium Balticum” – an illustrated journey by Lok Hang Abraham Chan, Daria Larionov, Silva Laure.
- “Safe Travels in the Baltic Sea Region” a board game by Caroline Alder, Hildegard Lukas and Aleksandra Glazkova.
- “Maritime clusters as a tool to reach sustainability and prosperity in the Baltic Sea region” – a study by Borys Sadowski, Karolina Sass, Vivian Tamm, Anna Ilina.
- Learning Diary entry by Aida Bradauskaitė.
- “Baltic Sea Region Youth Tour” by Emilia Curyło, Isabella Glušauskaitė, Kristina Golubenko, Christian Neubacher.
- “The Baltic Sea Youth Expedition” by Ilja Belovolovs, Zuzanna Burzec & Justina Jemeljanovaitė.
- “Simo, the Baltic Seal” – an informational Instagram account by Nadine Sippach, Luiza Rakhmatullina, Joy Laubenheimer.
- Learning Diary entry by Josephine Alder.
- Research and project ideas by Lilybell Evergreen, Khira Strauß, Dayana Atazhanova.
- “Through the Baltic Eyes” – a project idea for a Baltic Sea “guest book” by Simona Jakaitė, Teresa Garcias, Andreas Schoop, Viktoria Xomiakova.
Due to the pandemic, the youth dialogue could not take place physically and the project was changed and adjusted to the situation. It took place as an online competition and award ceremony under the headline “Creating a sustainable future together”. Young people were creatively engaged in thinking about the region and their common future through delivering outputs in the form of posters, essays, children book chapters or project pitches. A jury decided on the winning contributions, and everyone came together for an online award ceremony with speeches, music contributions and introduction of the winners who had the opportunity to tell their peers about their work.
All of the contributions were published in a booklet (“Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2020”) as a result and the posters have a chance to be added to the catalogue of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art.
The BSYD under the heading “Getting Glocal – the Baltic Sea Region since 1989” was to deal with the past 30 years which also mark the starting point for the early years of Baltic Sea region-building after 1989. The fall of the Soviet Union and the following re-emergence of independent nation states was accompanied by tension, rivalry and struggles for regional hegemony in the region. At the same time, transitions opened the way for new forms of cooperation connecting the regions and countries surrounding the Baltic Sea.
The EUStory summit focused on transformation and transition having taken place during the past 30 years in Europe. A five-day long programme was implemented which gave an opportunity to 20 young participants from various backgrounds to meet in Berlin, Germany, 30 years after the fall of the wall that separated Europe and the Baltic Sea Region severely. The participants came from Russia, Latvia, Germany, Estonia, Denmark, Poland, Ukraine, Sweden, Finland and Belarus.
How do people live along national borders? How do they deal with ethnic minorities and immigrants? What is identity and is there regional identity of the Baltic Sea Region? 23 participants met in the Danish-German border region of Sønderjylland-Schleswig, an interesting example of co-existence and cooperation, and learned about the German minority in Denmark and the Danish one in Germany. During lectures and interactive group work they also discussed the Roma and Frisian minority, migration issues in the region, the experience of the region Sønderjylland -Schleswig and the work and cultural policies of the European Union. In a workshop regarding migration issues in the region participants developed their own policy recommendations. At the traditional part of the Youth Dialogue, the simulation game “Be a CBSS official for one day”, the participants discussed the Vision Group Report and future development of the CBSS at a simulated meeting of the CBSS Committee of Senior Officials (CSO).
The main part of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2016 was from 13 – 20 November 2016, 16 young aspiring journalists from the Baltic Sea Region and beyond met in Gdansk at the European Solidarity Centre for the Solidarity Academy – Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue. During the project the students from Belarus, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine, already working as freelance journalists in their home countries or abroad, were invited to deepen and share their knowledge during the workshops in Gdansk and Kaliningrad. In connection to this, an evaluation seminar and a panel discussion on the project were held at the ‘Felleshus’ of the Nordic Embassies in Berlin on 28 March 2017. During the evaluation seminar, the individual development, the people-to-people contacts, and emerging networks were pointed out as significant results by all the facilitators. To broaden one’s own horizons and having a chance to actively engage in artistic and social discourse was stressed as one of the most important achievements of the project by all the project participants.
One of the results of BSYD 2016 was a publication “Meanwhile in the Baltics” – which is a collection of stories from the participants of Solidarity Academy – Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2016 can be accessed here.
- Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue Engagement Roadmap 2022 with recommendation for a safe and secure region.
Funder and Partners
The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue is funded by the German Federal Foreign office in collaboration with the German Embassy in Stockholm.
CBSS organises the dialogue each year and implements it individually or in cooperation with a varying partner organisation from the region.
- Aline Mayr, CBSS Policy Officer for Youth, Regional Identity, [email protected]
- Franziska Seufert, CBSS Project Coordinator, [email protected]
* Russia was suspended from the CBSS in March 2022 and withdrew from the Council on 17 May 2022.