The majority of almost 150 participants of the conference was built by university students, mostly from the University of Economics, Prague, Charles University and Metropolitan University Prague. As in previous years, we were honoured by the presence of representatives from various embassies in Prague and the University of Economics, Prague.
Opening ceremony of the JDI Youth Dialogue 2015 Conference began with remarks given by Michaela Ptáčková (Project Coordinator, Junior Diplomat Initiative, Czech Republic) and a keynote speech given by Petr Drulák (Political Secretary of the Ministry, Director of Minister’s Cabinet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic).
The first panel „The Concept of Preventive Diplomacy from the European Perspective“ featured three speakers from the academic sphere, who voiced their views on preventive diplomacy. After the panel was opened by its moderator, Jeremy Garlick (Lecturer, University of Economics in Prague, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), the floor went to the first speaker, Evangelos Fanoulis (Postdoctoral Researcher, Metropolitan University Prague, Greece), who explained the concept of preventive diplomacy and presented three perspectives of preventive diplomacy. The second speaker of the panel, Nona Mikhelidze (Senior Fellow, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Georgia), contributed to the discussion by describing preventive diplomacy actors, tools and instruments and emphasizing the need for practical guidelines for conflict prevention. The third and last speaker of the academic panel was Ida Manton (Consultant, Trainer, Lecturer and Researcher in International Negotiations, Republic of Macedonia) who focused on obstacles and challenges of preventive diplomacy.
The second, diplomatic panel, introduced four speakers who presented three major actors in the field of preventive diplomacy – UN, OSCE and EEAS. This panel, with the theme “Challenges of Successful Engagement in European Preventive Diplomacy”, was moderated by Tomáš Szunyog (Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic). The role of UN in preventive diplomacy was discussed by Michal Mlynár (General Director for International Organisations, Development Assistance and Humanitarian Aid, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Slovak Republic) who had returned from the meeting of General assembly of the United Nations in New York only few hours prior to the conference. The second speaker of the panel, Jan Plešinger (Head of the Prague Office of the OSCE Secretariat, Czech Republic) described the importance of monitoring missions and early warning system. The third speaker to present her opinions in the diplomatic panel was Michèle Pranchère-Tomassini (Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to the Czech Republic, Estonia and Ukraine, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg). The topic of the speech of Her Excellency was “The EEAS: Peace Building as a Key Objective for the EU Strategy”. The last contribution to this part of the conference was made by Silvia Costantini (Team Leader at the Conflict Prevention, Peace-building and Mediation Division, Security Policy and Conflict Prevention Directorate, EEAS, Italy), whose presentation contained key information about the EEAS conflict prevention.
Moderator of the third and final panel entitled „Reflection of Preventive Diplomacy in the European Context“ was Jitka Znamenáčková (EU Policies and Structural Funds Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic) and she was joined by three young professionals in the field of international relations. First, the participants had the opportunity to listen to Evelien Borgman (Training and Research Fellow, The Clingendael Institute, The Netherlands), who dwelled upon the topic of refugee crisis and clarified whether it can be considered as a failure of European preventive diplomacy. After Ms. Borgman had finished her speech, the floor was given to Benedetta Berti (Fellow and Lecturer, Ben Gurion University, Institute for National Security Studies, Italy) who spoke about the European engagement in the Middle East and about the obstacles in using preventive diplomacy in this region. The last speaker of the conference was Václav Lídl (Research Fellow, Association for International Affairs Research Center, Czech Republic) and he gave a presentation on European neighbourhood policy and the effectiveness of preventive diplomacy in Ukraine. After Mr. Lídl’s speech, the audience took the opportunity to ask the panelists many interesting questions.
Immediately after the end of the third panel Michaela Pešková (Project Coordinator, Junior Diplomat Initiative, Czech Republic) and Júlia Miklasová (Allianz Alumni, Slovak Republic) gave final remarks, summarized the course of the event and expressed their thanks to the conference partners – Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Faculty of International Relations at the University of Economics in Prague and Allianz Cultural Foundation – and all who contributed to the organisation of the event.
Based on the positive feedback after the conference, Junior Diplomat Initiative will be keen on organising the JDI Youth Dialogue Conference in the following years as well and thus strengthening the established tradition. We already look forward to JDI Youth Dialogue 2016!
Authors of the photographs are Ivana Ihnátová and Jan Kotík.