UIC was invited to attend the 19th World Festival of Youth and Students (WFYS) in Sochi, Russia. The event brought together over 20,000 young leaders from more than 188 countries. The WFYS aims to consolidate the international youth community, strengthen international ties, as well as promote international and intercultural cooperation.
One of the main goals of the festival was to form a common vision of the future by the young leaders from different countries, trying to articulate responses to the most pressing challenges of the generation.
Young leaders from different spheres gathered on one site, including: the representatives of worldwide youth organisations (inter alia: two young UIC staff included), young journalists, creative youth, young design engineers, leaders of youth organisations, young university professors, leaders of student government, young scientists.
The main agenda of the discussion programme encompassed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations. Key topics included: Culture and Globalisation, Global Economy, Economy of Knowledge.
The WFYS 2017 programme included various platforms and panel sessions, with one focusing on the railways.
On 16 October, indoor of Sochi Olympic Park, a panel discussion titled “Global railway industry: trends and challenges” was organised.
Courtesy of Russian Railways (RZD) – the partner of the event, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC General Director was invited, but due to other very important commitments could not come to Sochi and was represented by Jerzy Wisniewski, UIC Fundamental Values Department Director and African Region Coordinator who sent apologies on his behalf.
Among the panellists were: Igor Levitin – Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation; Maksim Sokolov – Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation; Oleg Belozerov – President of JSC Russian Railways; Phil Shankley – GEFCO Group, Vice-president – Director-General for Russia, CIS and Baltic Countries.
The opportunity to be in the spotlight was given to UIC young representatives. Johan Marigny had the honour to give the opening speech on behalf of the youth of the railways. Matthieu Wojcicki was interviewed by RZD TV on the global trends currently faced by the railway sector.
About 600 participants attended the session which was organised in the form of an interactive panel where the panellists provided their points of view on global trends and challenges the railway sector should face.
Then the discussion from the floor was dynamic and spontaneous. The audience was interested in applications of modern technologies, digitalisation, freight logistics, competitiveness and opportunities for railways development.
In addition, Mr Wisniewski reported on UIC’s activities, as well as the development opportunities for African railways based on the results of the UIC study titled “African Railways Development – 2040 perspectives” which was acknowledged by the African Union during the African transport ministers’ session in Togo, 2017.
On 21 October, the results of the parallel discussion programmes (including the railway programme) were presented by a young representative of each session to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. The president commented on the performance of the young participants, encouraging them to keep moving forward as well as not to overlook past achievements and ethical values.