Past Program

Jun 26 - Jun 29, 2014

Bridging the Rift: How can we reconnect youth to their future?


Every generation since the Ancient Greeks has moaned about young people, who have repaid the compliment by rebelling against their elders. But is this creative dialectic grinding to a halt as job prospects for youth worsen around the planet? Has pressure to conform overtaken the passion to drive change? Our Brave New World of 2014 idealizes youth along with celebrity, but the reality on the ground is often far less rosy.

As we mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I – which triggered the tag ‘lost generation’ - youth unemployment rates are sky high in large swathes of Africa and Europe, despite their radically different demographic profiles. Economic inequality is widening in industrialized and developing countries around the world, with knock-on impacts upon social cohesion and regional competitiveness. Too often, young people’s life chances are tied to social determinants which provide gloomy predictors of educational, health and professional outcomes. As the costs of college, medical care, pensions and planetary degradation spiral upwards, intergenerational justice will pose complex challenges in the decades to come.

If the ladder of opportunity has indeed broken, as President Obama suggested in his State of the Union Address to the US in 2014, what innovations and incentives do we need to kickstart a bolder vision, build the skills really needed and renew social mobility? What will it take to recharge youth and help them engage as productive members of society? And how can we better connect voices, votes and talents across all generations?

Salzburg Global Seminar – founded by visionary students, vested in intergenerational exchange and problem-solving for over 65 years – has a deep-rooted commitment to progress based on Imagination, Sustainability and Justice. 2014 sees the launch of our multi-year program exploring components of A 21st Century Social Compact, starting with a strategic reassessment of early childhood policies and with a macro-micro focus on innovation and equity in aging societies.

Invited guests join an extraordinary international mix of speakers and guests from different perspectives to contribute your ideas for an imaginative future roadmap. The dates are June 27–29 2014 and the place the enchanting Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg – an inspiring retreat for transformative dialogue.