Russia is hosting the festival for the third time. This year, the main events will take part in Sochi’s Olympic Park and will bring together around 20,000 young people from more than 180 countries – the best representatives of the student community who achieved success in science, art, sports and politics. The festival offers comprehensive programmes in science, education, culture and sports.
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Speech at the opening ceremony
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
Let me welcome you all at the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students, a forum of the planet's youth, the most comprehensive one in its history.
Some 30,000 participants, guests and volunteers from more than 180 countries across all continents have gathered here in Sochi. Here we also have young people from all across the vastness of Russia, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok.
The first festival took place seven decades ago. Back then, young men and women just like you were united by the power of dreams and the belief that young people and their sincerity and kindness can break the ice of distrust and help rid the planet of injustice, wars and conflicts.
Back then, young adults of your age achieved a lot. They proved that barriers have no power against true friendship and that the warmth of human contact does not yield to political, ethnic, religious, cultural or any other differences.
Our country is proud to have hosted this world youth festival twice. In 1957, the 6th festival was warmly greeted by all the people of Moscow. In 1985, Muscovites gathered on the city’s streets and building rooftops to cordially welcome the guests of the 12th World Festival of Youth and Students. Now you can experience the hospitality and openness of the sports capital of Russia, the city of Sochi.
Sochi is a city of Olympic brotherhood and hope. Five rings, just like the five Festival chamomile petals, have become a symbol signifying the solidarity of all the earth’s continents.
I am certain that young people of all countries, nationalities and faiths are united by common feelings and values, by their yearning for freedom, and their hope to achieve happiness, peace and accord on our planet. By a desire to create and achieve greater things. And we will make every effort to ensure you achieve success.
The energy and talent of young adults possess astonishing power. Younger generations always bring innovative ideas to the world. You strive to try new things, engage in debate and display your ability to disagree with the status quo and how things are done.
Be bold. Create your own future. Strive to change the world and make it a better place. It is all in your hands. Just be sure to never look back. Meanwhile, the festival brotherhood will certainly help you bring your boldest and best dreams and plans to life.
I declare the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students open.
I wish you a happy journey!