#WFYS2017: Make the Festival the most memorable youth international event in the world!

The chairman of the Russian NPC Grigory Petushkov: “Our common goal – to make the Festival the most memorable youth international event in the world!”

It remains less time till the main youth event of 2017 that will be held in Russian city Sochi. Probably you wondered how the Festival is being prepared and who is engaged in organizational aspects. We want to tell you about those who create the Festival and create by own strength an event that will be one of the most bright and memorable ones. With this interview we are opening a series of publications on the work of the Russian National Preparatory Committee (NPC) WFYS 2017.

The Russian National Preparatory Committee consists of the leaders of the youth public associations of the country and, in fact, it is the main initiator and organizer of the upcoming Festival in Russia. In the structure of this collegiate body acts the Presidium consisting of the founders of the NPC – the member organizations of the World Federation of Democratic Youth of the Russian Federation and the National Council of Youth and Children’s Associations of Russia. The chairman elected at the first meeting heads the NPC.

And we decided to begin acquaintance with the work of the committee with the chairman of the Russian NPC Grigory Petushkov.

– Grigory, tell us when the NPC began its work and with what?

According to the tradition of the festival movement, the National Preparatory Committees in all countries, including the country-hostess of the Festival, are created after the I International Preparatory Meeting. The Russian NPC was established on July 4 this year, but after a couple of weeks at the Museum of Contemporary History of Russia was held an enlarged meeting, at which 22 youth organizations were admitted to the committee. Of course, preparation work began long before the official establishment. Since 2015 representatives of several youth associations supported by Rosmolodezh (Federal Agency for Youth Affairs – Russian executive authority responsible for the implementation of the state youth policy – Ed.) conducted laborious work on submitting an official application to host the Festival, carried the negotiation process, presented our ideas and opportunities, told about the benefits of the World Festival of Youth and Students to other youth NGOs. Already there is a lot to remember…

– And who became a part of the NPC? On what principle was made the selection?

– At the moment the NPC already consists of 37 different youth organizations, including most all-Russian youth organizations and youth wings of all parliamentary parties. At the next meeting we will consider a few more applications from youth NGOs. Any youth public association of our country dividing the purposes and problems of the festival movement can become a member of the Russian preparatory committee. To facilitate the implementation of regional public initiatives of preparation and holding of the Festival regional preparatory committees, which expand due to youth associations of regional level and offices of the all-Russian structures, are created.

– We wonder what duties are assigned to members of the NPCs? Whether they are fixed somewhere?

– As in any social structure, the primary responsibility of each of us – to be proactive in the implementation of the common goal: to make the Festival the most memorable international youth event in the world. And also to promote involvement in it of a wide range of youth, trying to provide realization of the idea of saving the heritage of the Festival-2017, and then – the current generation of young people, for their descendants. To fill WFYS with actual and interesting program, offer comfortable work and rest, show the best of our traditions of hospitality and, of course, make it a real holiday for the youth from all continents. That’s why it’s so important that different youth associations take part in the activity of the preparatory committee, with different interests and abilities, consolidating youth both on interests and on calling, with different experience and forms of activity. Preparation and holding of the Festival include a diverse range of work. The government and regional authorities are included in the process; parliamentarians, universities, various experts and scientific organizations help us. The immediate organizational work is conducted by the executive directorate of WFYS 2017, which operates in close collaboration with the NPC. It should also be said that with the NPC will be created the Expert Council, which will bring together, in the first place, “veterans” of the festival movement, leaders of youth associations and organizers of the Festival in different years, recognized experts in areas that are necessary for the work of the Committee.

– How goes the work of the NPCs in other countries participating in WFYS?

– At the II International Preparatory Meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, in the middle of November a question of establishment of the NPCs in different countries was discussed. According to preliminary data, the preparatory committees are created in three dozen countries. This work is constantly going on. Together with our international partners in preparation of WFYS we expect that such committees will be established in more than 150 countries. Their main objective – to select, prepare and bring the national delegations to the Festival. At the same time they work on the promotion of the Festival in Russia and the consolidation of the youth in their own countries on the basis of the main traditional principles of the festival movement. You know that the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students will be the third in our country: the older generations remember with great nostalgia the Moscow Festivals in 1957 and 1985. And these grand historical events at all stages were common for the youth of each republic of the former USSR. Therefore, in my opinion, the Commonwealth of Independent States, can play a special role. The youth of our countries is very close today, and together we are able to make the festival common and reflecting the interests of all Commonwealth youth again. For this purpose, on the initiative of the youth movements of member countries, the association of youth unions of the CIS in support of the Festival is created; in each country national preparatory committees are established.

– Realization of which ideas waits for us in the next year?

– In preparation for WFYS we thoroughly explore the archives of the previous festivals in our country, the work of youth organizations of that time. It becomes clear that in fact “everything new is well forgotten old”. Expressed ideas, initiatives, decision of various problems, current challenges – all this, in spite of the past decades, remained almost unchanged. And the new generation of youth organizations in many ways solves the same problems. The scale of values and vital interests, concerns and expectations, needs and desires – all this, after adjusting for progress, remains similar. And one of the innovations of the Festival: we want to make an appointment “in the fields” of former leaders of youth organizations from different countries and different generations with young people and with each other. Providing, thus, not only the communication of youth from every corner of the world, but also an opportunity for mutual understanding and communication of different generations of the people dividing the same principles of fight for peace, friendship and justice all these years!

– How interaction between the NPCs of the countries is arranged? And what collaboration is carried out during preparation for the Festival?

– Of course, a variety of the NPCs cooperate within their regions. For example, a number of African organizations are working together to solve some logistical problems: it’s much easier to arrange a joint sending of national delegations from one large airport than to solve these problems alone. At the wide international level the discussion on the development of the program is conducted. The national youth associations, which are more skilled in the festival movement, promote formation of the NPC in other countries. According to the existing tradition of the Festival, after the III International Preparatory Meeting, scheduled for March 2017 in Sri Lanka, it will be created the Permanent Committee of the Festival, which will include the representatives of the World Federation of Democratic Youth and national preparatory committees of different countries for elaboration of the different actual questions of preparation for the Festival.

– What will be with the Russian Preparatory Committee after the Festival?

– Already today the NPC became a unique platform for uniting the youth of the whole country. Despite the fact that the National Council of Youth and Children’s Associations of Russia as the association already unites most organizations of the NPC, in the modern history of our country the youth movement hasn’t so clear and common goal to consolidate. I’m sure that this form of interaction of all active youth NGOs will be demanded in the future for solving common problems, interaction with each other and with the government to represent the interests of all Russian youth on the international scene. A collaborative current work on the preparation for the Festival becomes a good school of meaningful collaboration.

– Thank you for the interesting conversation.

Within December, we will continue to publish on our official site interviews, notes and sketches about the organizations, which became part of the Russian NPC, their representatives and the main directions of work in preparation for the Festival of 2017.