Taking part in the meeting were representatives of Russian organisations — members of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, Russia’s national youth unions and student associations from a number of major Russian higher education institutions.
The World Festival of Youth and Students (WFYS) was first held in 1947. It brings together around 160 youth organisations from more than 100 countries. The last festival took place in Ecuador in 2013. Moscow hosted the event twice – in 1957 and in 1985.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
Let me welcome you all and congratulate everyone who worked to prepare Russia’s bid to host the World Festival of Youth and Students, a major international youth and student event.
It is a pleasure to know that Russia received a unanimous vote at the WFYS General Assembly. This shows that everyone who worked to prepare our bid did a very good job and worked creatively to present our proposal in the best way possible.
We may recall here that the organisation was created in November 1945, as far as I remember, right after the end of World War II, and its goal was to achieve strong and stable peace. Its aim is to establish and develop relations between young people of various nationalities, race and religious beliefs, and all these years the organisation has been a great success.
This major international event is held every four years. In 1957, the Soviet Union hosted it rather successfully. I have to say that back then many saw this as a sign of the coming collapse of the ‘iron curtain’. Though this was yet far away, overall this country already managed to show it was open and ready for direct contacts between people at all levels. In this sense such events are of great significance.
This time I would like Russia to demonstrate its best features, its achievements, its aspiration for the future and its desire to cooperate on a new level, in a new capacity. I would like it to make its significant contribution to the development of the youth movement.
As you may know, this country has recently taken part in and hosted a large number of major international forums – political, economic and athletic ones – demonstrating that we are capable of organising everything at the highest level.
It is important to create conditions for the participants in this major event, but this is not enough. It is also important to fill it with the right kind of interesting content, organise discussions and events which you will plan in such a way that they help achieve the goals of such events.
This is what I suggest talking about today, to see what you think about this, how you intend to arrange your work to add substance to this major international event.
You might have some questions about the event’s organisation, or the creation of additional infrastructure. Though we seem to have everything necessary in Sochi, this is a specific event, so let’s talk about the organisational side as well.