Crafting European Solutions - Commitment in Digital Ages

Turbulences and challenges are characteristics of our times – times that can be changed for the better by actively crafting new ideas to confront today’s challenges in Europe and abroad. About 80 young leaders from Germany, France, Europe and beyond came together in Berlin from 11 until 14 May 2017 to exchange on new solutions and to create a new base of cooperation and mutual understanding right in the center of Europe.


For the GFYL Conference 2017 the former German and French Presidents Christian Wulff and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing accepted patronage. As one of the most important promoters of European Unity, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing - along with Ilja Skrylnikow (Co-founder and President of GFYL), the French Ambassador to Germany Philippe Etienne and the Secretary General of the Franco-German Youth Office DFJW/OFAJ Dr. Markus Ingenlath - opened the conference on 11 May 2017 sharing his hopes for the future with our participants.


As it our strong belief that only a proactive and dynamic approach can help secure a prosperous future, the GFYL Programme focused on addressing some of the most prominent questions of today. Believing in the creative and energetic potentials that our generation offers, the 2017 edition of the GFYL Programme bundled them together in innovative workshops and TED-like talks by and with our participants. This underlines the “grassroots” character of the programme: it is made by participants for participants.

The group raised issues like "Digital Citizens", "Urban Mobility" or "Demography and Democracy" and made fellow participants think about solutions for fake news and the Brexit. Furthermore, they explained the concept of design thinking and reflected together on how to include the non-profit sector in the digital transformation.

The great diversity of participants ranging from for instance psychologists, film producers, government officials, lawyers and startup founders allowed for an interesting diversity of topics during this not only Franco-German, but European Conference. 

For the panel discussions for example, the Conference had startup and data experts Gunnar Graef (Deutsche Ventures) and Dr Matthias Roggendorf (McKinsey) exchange with Billy Wagner, the owner of a restaurant solely using local ingredients, on "Global and Local Economy". In addition, different keynotes gave participants insights into topics such as "Religion and Digital Age" by Prof. Werner Jeanrond or "The Future of the Campaining DNA" by Julius van der Laar, former member of Obama’s election campaign team.


Since in a digitalised society such as ours, offline and online perspectives enrich each other, an important focus was put on real-life exchange, on networking and on joint and cultural activities. For the latter for instance, participants listened to talented musicians from the highly successful jazz combo The Gur Liraz Quartet and from the Berlin Philharmoniker. They also had the opportunity to let their mind wander during a visit to Museum Berggruen in Berlin.

Our Partners 2017

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