The Global Diplomatic Forum continues to reach global audiences amongst the diplomatic and international affairs community. As the founder and brainchild of the GDF, Younes El- Ghazi had the overall vision of what the Global Diplomatic Forum needs to deliver and achieve.
With successful programmes launched in London, the GDF has expanded its global footprint through programmes across the globe. The GDF reach expands from senior international affairs professionals to Young Professionals. Younes has personally championed youth engagement as he has ensured that it remains a cornerstone of the organisation with the Young Diplomats Forum. The flagship programme takes place twice a year- once in London and one in an international location.
In addition to London, previous editions took place in Ankara (Turkey), Mexico City /Querétaro (Mexico) and Athens (Greece). This year it is set to take place in Zagreb (Croatia). The Young Diplomats Forum has alumni of over 400 alumni people from more than 100 countries.
Each edition has welcomed participants from every part of the world - every continent and region has been represented. The GDF offer few scholarships to ensure representation of every region in the world. This is a weeklong programme that engages young participants on some of the major global issues that challenge the international community with established diplomats and policy makers.
Each YDF brought together between 75-100 participants and more than 20 tutors that collaborated in different workshops, where they exchanged perspectives, experiences and stories.
The YDF has proven to be an excellent opportunity for international friendship and appreciation of differences. The programme serves Younes' vision of expanding access to expertise and knowledge in international affairs to delegates who eventually share it with their colleagues in their home countries and extend this cycle of learning.
Delegates learn about differences in perspectives regarding different issues from people from different countries, which is in itself valuable knowledge. Delegates have access to unique expertise from the host country, for example; local governments and Foreign Policy in Mexico, Greece’s efforts on the refugee crisis from the Hellenic Police and Hellenic coastal guard and Turkey's perspectives on its EU membership from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Judged by post-forum shared stories, testimonials, surveys and the way delegates have promoted YDF in their countries, this programme is certainly delivering the impact it aimed to have as per Younes vision to expand knowledge and expertise in international affairs, to create international
friendship and promote appreciation of differences. This impact goes beyond the delegates as it is extended to their communities in their countries.
One of the participants from Israel (David) stated after the forum in Turkey in 2013:
“As an Israeli, it was inspiring to meet young leaders from countries like Pakistan, Morocco, Libya and Iraq, and discover that everyone had a common dream of peace and of a better future for our region”.
Another participant from Pakistan referred to David in his Article in a Pakistani Newspaper: “Being an international conference, there were ample opportunities to witness cross-cultural bonding. Thus, we had an Israeli delegate taking good care of his Pakistani roommate when he fell ill”.
All delegates are requested to complete a detailed survey once they have taken part in the YDF. A participant who was a Chevening scholar from Jordan wrote, “I have huge admiration and respect for the YDF. The 444 characters left are not enough to comment on the experience :) in short (it was the most insightful and enriching forum)". I have enclosed the testimonials and also some of the supporting statements from delegates who participated in this programme.
The programme is a fast paced connection exercise for delegates from across the world with major aspects of the UK's global engagement. It links delegates with decision makers, institutions, history and people of the hosting place, which creates lasting relationships and memories.
The impact of this programme is continuing through these international friendships created and through a growing community whose members carry on meeting and developing joint projects in different parts of the world and sharing their stories with their counterparts.