Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue

The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue was carried out 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 are interested in the history of the Baltic Sea Region. Organising programmes in border areas of the region, the young participants get to know each other’s cultures, in order to reflect, discuss and explore their shared identity. Last year, in 2016, the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue was realised in partnership with the European Solidarity Centre (Gdansk, Poland) and the “Solidarity Academy”, exploring new types of cooperation and formats of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue project.

In 2016, the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue was realised in partnership with the European Solidarity Centre (Gdansk, Poland) and the “Solidarity Academy”, exploring new types of cooperation and formats of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue project.

The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue is important for building a discussion on Baltic Sea regional identity among this generation. The Körber Foundation’s history network for young Europeans EUSTORY has for years created such space for encounters and facilitated dialogue on shared history and future of Europe in regular international gatherings for young people.

This collaboration strengthens the work of both organisations. In the words of Gabriele Woidelko, responsible for European activities at the Körber Foundation: “For the Körber Foundation, the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue is an innovative concept to help young Europeans transcend national frontiers and understand Europe and its varying narratives of the past as an opportunity for intercultural dialogue. By exchanging with peers from more than 20 countries, representatives from public life, journalists, eyewitnesses and experts, they come to terms with the underlying patterns of European identity and citizenship. We are particularly happy to organize the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue together with the Council of the Baltic Sea States and in partnership with the Warmian-Masurian Voivodship; this cooperation supports us in our mission.”

The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue has been a flagship within the EUSBSR Horizontal Action Neighbours until 2017.

Read more past events and BSYD programmes:

From 16 to 21 November 2018 young people from the Baltic Sea Region gathered at Akademiezentrum Sankelmark (Oeversee, Germany) for the 5th edition of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue to explore identities and to discuss questions on borders and culture, cooperation, minorities and more. During these days they got to know the Council of the Baltic Sea States and its work and increased their knowledge of and participation in the decision-making processes in our region.

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).

Read more about it here!

Find the full Programme here!

CBSS: Martins Legzdins – 

Academia Baltica: Dr. Christian Pletzing

Fourth Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue

From 20 – 26 November 2017, the CBSS invited 15 young teachers from the Baltic Sea Region and beyond (Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Russian Federation; Belarus and Italy) to Finland and Russia for the fourth edition of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue. The first half of the programme took place in Helsinki, hosted by the Aleksanteri Institute of the University of Helsinki, and highlighted the changing context, the country of Finland experienced during the past 100 years.

During the days in Helsinki, the participants also had the chance to be a CBSS Senior Official for one day and simulated a CSO meeting “under the BSYD Presidency”. The meeting started with a presentation by Marianne Lehtimäki from the Secretariat of Baltic Region Heritage Committee (BRHC) on cultural heritage in the Baltic Sea Region which also introduced the ‘issue’ on the agenda of the BSYD CSO meeting: a shipwreck, assumed to be the “Anna Maria”, a Dutch sailing vessel type Fluyt and sunken in 1705, was found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea where an energy pipeline connecting a BSR and a non-BSR country was planned to be placed. The participants were then asked to reflect on possible solutions to the problem and actions to be taken, considering the national standpoints and legislation of the member states they represented. “The CSO simulation game gave great insight into the real work of intergovernmental organisations – it was an experience which was more worth than the only theoretical courses in International Relations at university,” one participant explained. Read more about it here.

The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue continued in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and was hosted by the NORDEN Association. Here, the participants explored the cultural and historical relations and roots in the Baltic Sea Region – but most importantly, had the chance to show the outcomes of the group work done during the programme week. The three groups presented their insights, reflections and lessons learnt in different creativeways: a “CBSS TV” news programme, a theatre play dealing with the challenges of international organisations’ work, and an interactive analysis of regional cooperation in the BSR using the Golden Circle concept by Simon Sinek. 

You can find the detailed programme for the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2017 here and more photos on the CBSS Flickr.

The Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2017 was run by the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat in partnership with the Aleksanteri Institute (University of Helsinki), and NORDEN Association St. Petersburg.  Financial support had been given by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

public debate by participants

Solidarity Academy –  Third Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue

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. 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. The theme of exploring various journalistic tools and methods was also reflected in the seminars of the Dialogue – for example on media ethics and gender issues, led by Urður Gunnarsdóttir from the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Forming four different groups, the participants were asked to develop a project idea focusing mainly on politics, culture, society or history at the Academy. Moreover, they had the chance to organise a panel discussion, which was open to the public and took place in Gdansk, on 17 November 2016, entitled ’Is solidarity still relevant in the 21st century?’. Amongst all four innovative projects, which were presented at the closing of the programme, the jury eventually decided to award the ‘Politics Group’ with 500 EUR in order to realise their project until the end of this year. Having a coffee to go in the Kaliningrad region will then also be educating: the group plans on producing and distributing paper coffee cups with facts about the Baltic Sea Region, promoting culture, traditions, history and commonalities of the different countries.

During their stay in Kaliningrad, the participants also had a chance to get acquainted with local youth projects. Tatjana Vasileva, Head of the Regional Department of Youth Affairs, presented a wide spectrum of initiatives, while the editorial board of the student journal SWOT presented information on academic life in the region’s technical university. The state-of-the art-fashion initiative “Pudr” beautifully presented the spirit of the Baltic Sea Region, while young people in the project “Green Front” are focusing on sustainable development. The Chairman of the Kaliningrad Branch for the ‘’Green Front’’, Oleg Ivanov attended the guided tour to the Russian Part of the Curovian Spit – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and introduced to the group the current developments in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development. Based in the Tuchheimer Gate, the people behind “Art Vorota” are using the spirit of a historic place in Kaliningrad to present exhibitions and other culture projects, while offering a meeting point for young people in the coffee shop connected to the gate. While small, Art Vorota is a favourite among the young Kaliningraders. EUSBSR flagship label cmyk

Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue publication- Meanwhile in the Baltics net (dragged)The project links to the CBSS Long Term Priority ‘Regional Identity’ and is supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the goal to foster Baltic Sea Region identity, increasing collaboration and understanding among the future generations. The regional cooperation partners of the project included the Russian Consulate General in Gdansk and the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce in Kaliningrad.

Access the publication “Meanwhile in the Baltics” – a collection of stories from the participants of Solidarity Academy – Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2016 here.

Some of the articles of the Solidarity Academy – Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2016 participants have been moreover published in Europe&Me (E&M), an award-winning online magazine at the forefront of independent European media. See here  and here.


In 2016, the project “Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue” consisted of three separate parts: Solidarity Academy-Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2016, a concert of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic in Gdansk and the Bridge it! -programme; supported financially by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

In connection to this, an evaluation seminar and a panel discussion on the project as a whole was held at the ‘Felleshus’ of the Nordic Embassies in Berlin, on 28 March 2017.

At the seminar, members of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic, coordinators of the transnational Bridge It! –programme, organisers of the 2016 edition of the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue-Solidarity Academy and representatives of the CBSS Secretariat discussed the benefits and challenges of the different youth projects: what are the main values that youth projects can bring? How can youth cooperation projects shape the future of our region and the future of young people in the region? In particular, the individual development, the people-to-people contacts and emerging networks were pointed out as significant by all of the facilitators. To broaden one’s own horizons and getting the chance to actively engage in artistic and social discourse was stressed by the project participants.


Second Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue in Olsztyn

From 2 to 9 September 2015, the Polish city of Olsztyn welcomed fifty young Europeans from 19 countries for the Second Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue. “Homeland reconsidered – new loyalties and redefined identities in Europe” was the topic of the youth dialogue, in which the Körber Foundation and the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) continued the cooperation they successfully started with the First Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue in Estonia and Russia in 2014. The 2015 programme in Olsztyn was run in partnership with the Warmian-Masurian Voivoidship and has been implemented by the Borussia Foundation in Olsztyn. The 70th anniversary of the end of WW II was at the core of the Second Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue. Seventy years ago, due to the aftermath of the Second World War and the decisions of the Potsdam Conference, borders of European countries were redrawn, forcing millions of people to move. Olsztyn, a city in the North-East of Poland and the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodship, exemplifies the major challenges of border regions in post-war Europe. What strategies did the new and former inhabitants of Olsztyn develop in response to the resettlement? How did it influence their national, regional and personal identity? Which challenges did cities have to address in the process of integrating people with different patterns of backgrounds and traditions? Is it possible to foster new identities, for example with regard to the Baltic Sea area? 

The programme featured lectures and tours that shed light on a Warmian-Masurian identity on the background of its multinational heritage. 

The participants were invited to take part in various workshops in film-making, photography, and storytelling. On colourful posters, they illustrated their understanding of a regional identity with quotes from Olsztyn residents, mottos, and personal reflections. Employing digital tools such as cameras, tablets and smartphones, they interviewed locals who embodied the Warmian-Mazurian regional identity, and engaged in a follow-up discussion on the collected material.

On the last day of the intensive week, the participants presented their projects at a closing exhibition attended by representatives of Polish and European institutions, including the Polish Chair of the CSO, Ambassador Michał Czyż.

The exhibition is now online too here.

Photos from the Second Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue can be seen here.

    EUSBSR flagship label cmykInterreg logo

First Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue

25 Young Europeans Explore Borders and Identities in Narva (Estonia) and Ivangorod (Russian Federation)

From 10 to 17 September 2014, 25 young Europeans from 10 countries of the Baltic Sea region met in Tallinn, Narva and Ivangorod for the first »Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue«. By invitation of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Körber Foundation, they discussed and explored the history and future of borders and identities. Tallinn and especially the twin cities of Narva in Estonia and Ivangorod in the Russian Federation set the scene for their venture.

Read the full press release here and see images from the week in Estonia and Russia here.

In addition to workshops and roundtable discussions on history and identity the participants also worked on an Instagram exhibition of the event titled “Balticeye” (#balticeye). The exhibition, which opened on 1 October 2014, documents the participants views on their generation, shared past, life on borders and identities. The exhibition is viewable via this link

The works of the participants was also exhibited in the premises of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission in Brussels in January 2015. Read more about the event here.

bsrp_EU-supplement_horizontal_60pix_height_rgb[1]EUSBSR flagship label cmyk

Strengthening the Youth Dialogue On 24-27 June 2015, the event „The Future of the Baltic Sea Region in 2040 – Strengthening  the Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue 2014” gathered 17 young Europeans to Genshagen, Germany. The group, consisting of participants from the 1st Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue back in 2014, met for a follow-up module to discuss and reflect on the history and future of the Baltic Sea region. Through a combination of workshops, round table discussions and presentations, the event aimed at providing knowledge and experience about the joint Baltic Sea region history and present day situation, as well as to create a common ground for the future and form part of the region’s identity. To symbolise the participants’ journeys in the Baltic Sea Region in the future, they designed personalised suitcases over the module and presented them to the group.

See here for more images of the gathering.

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