Grad student represents Canada at international forum

ybsfA York University graduate student was selected as a “prominent young leader” and invited to contribute to the Young Bled Strategic Forum (YBSF), part of the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF), in Slovenia on Sept. 4 and 5.

Kristen Csenkey, a PhD candidate in social anthropology, was the only Canadian representative at YSBF. She collaborated with other young academics, diplomats and entrepreneurs to address current global concerns on an international platform.

The Young BSF is a platform for young leaders to exchange ideas about the global challenges and opportunities before us. Csenkey was invited to the forum to provide a Canadian perspective on these matters, with a special focus on multiculturalism.

“Canadian values of multiculturalism, inclusion and diversity are important to be discussed on a world platform,” said Csenkey, who has international relations experience through her work as an intern at the Embassy of Canada to Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as at Global Affairs Canada.

Her research at York focuses on exploring immigrant integration, diaspora identity and celebrating a facet of Canadian multiculturalism by studying the Hungarian diaspora in Ontario.

Every year, YBSF attracts aspiring young politicians, activists, diplomats and academics from Slovenia and abroad. Engaging in interactive discussions, they develop arguments and ideas through creative approaches that take into account diverse views. This dynamic and creative group of young leaders generates innovative solutions, looks for answers and formulates proposals on how to cope with the challenges that generations and societies alike are facing.

Together, participants worked on formulating solutions to current issues in international relations, building partnerships and exploring new ideas relating to global citizenship. The themes of discussion were: smart cities, youth mobility, political participation and intergenerational cooperation.

“During the BSF, I contributed to roundtable discussions held in partnership with the Global Diplomacy Lab, entitled ‘Ordinary Radical(s): In Search of a Meaningful Response,’ which focused on how to combat the increasing radicalization of youth around the world,” said Csenkey. “I also led a team in a case study competition to find strategic solutions for a sustainable and eco-friendly business model for the city of Ljubljana.”

The forum was attended by high-level government officials, including the speaker of the Senate of Canada, presidents, prime ministers and ministers of foreign affairs from around the world.