International Youth Conference for Peace in the Future is moving online

In August 2020, Volgograd was planning to host, for the third time already, the International Youth Conference for Peace in the Future (IYCPF), that is – gather in its territory half a hundred of energetic young leaders to elaborate and discuss the projects aimed at peace building and the cementing of mutual understanding between nations. However, the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed these plans: due to the concerns about the youths’ safety, there will be no IYCPF in 2020. However, its participating cities refuse to give up: they decided to meet online instead, and more than once.

Their first Zoom meeting on July 4 united over 40 people from Volgograd, Saint Petersburg (Russia), Bangkok (Thailand), Grigny (France), Hannover (Germany), Hiroshima (Japan), Tehran (Iran), Daegu (South Korea), Muntinlupa (Filippines), Chongqing (China), including the IYCPf’s organizing committee and the potential participants.

The first to address the Zoom-meeting participants was the coordinator and Chair of the IYCPF, Dr. Kouki Inai, who encouraged everyone not to lose their spirit due to the lack of “live” communication, but respond to all the difficulties with friendship, creativity and new meetings online.

Volgograd, as a city that has nearly hosted the IYCPF in 2020, was represented by six participants, three of whom delivered PowerPoint presentations. Ivan Toftul, who had attended 5 conferences in Bangkok, Hiroshima and his native Volgograd, spoke about the soft skills that the IYCPF helped him develop and which, as Ivan (a professional theoretical physicist) believes, got him a six months long scientific internship in Okinawa.

Chair of the Volgograd branch of the “Russia – Japan” Society Elena Samigulina, who in 2018 did an internship in the “Mayors for Peace” organization in Hiroshima, and in 2020 became the chief coordinator of the “Japanese Spring” festival in Volgograd, spoke about her lectures, master-classes and projects dedicated to the history of Hiroshima and Volgograd.

Volgograd City’s international relations officer Maria Deeva spoke about the master-classes and cultural events that Volgograd intended in include in the IYCPF’s program next year.

Hiroshima Youth Association – them, too, experienced conference participants themselves – introduced their idea for a flashmob, which will allow the meeting attendants to symbolically commemorate the 6th of August together and pay tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing. To take part in it, you had to record yourself folding a paper crane and send it to Hiroshima (until July 20). All attendants agreed that it was a doubly meaningful idea: a paper crane is not only a symbol of tragedy, but also that of a wish fulfillment – in our case, the wish about the end of the pandemic that does not let us meet in person.

The video recording of the Zoom-meeting can be viewed at:
1) the City of Hiroshima website (in Japanese) - www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp
2) at the YouTube channel (in English) - https://youtu.be

In August the new flashmob video will, too, be published on social networks, and in September the videoconference participants will meet again.

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