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On September 15, the 2011 Boao Youth Forum (Hong Kong), co-sponsored by Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) and the Y.Elites Association, commenced at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The third session of the youth forum, this year’s meeting was themed “Asian economic remodeling: What we can do.”
The initial idea of the youth forum originated from young leaders round table conferences held at BFA’s previous sessions. Leaders from professional and youth organizations joined educators and students from universities and other institutions at BFA to share research on major issues related to Asia’s economic and social development and discuss possible solutions. Later, the Y.Elites Association led a push that gained support from a variety of organizations, and the small-scale dialogue between young leaders evolved into the present Boao Youth Forum, expanding from about 30 people to nearly 2,000 participants. As a theme conference under BFA, Boao Youth Forum strives to deepen understanding between Asian youths, set a solid foundation for future cooperation, and ultimately realize BFA’s goal of “promoting Asian development through regional cooperation.”
After its inauguration in 2009, Boao Youth Forum was deemed one of the most influential international forums in Asia. The theme of the 2009 session was “China’s role in diplomacy, economy and culture during the financial crisis,” and the 2010 session focused on challenges and opportunities for Asian countries in post-crisis recovery.
In early 2011, the world economy was swirling in the winds of change. Symptoms of the international recession remained and debt crises in developed countries broke out successively, creating a prelude for restructuring the world economy. Since some developed countries are debt-ridden, international financial and trade modes which dominated several decades remain on the verge of transformation. Consequently, Asia’s emerging economies need to find the best ways to cope with the new situation.
Since financial systems of developing Asian countries are comparatively primitive, the malfunction of developed countries’ financial sectors only impacted them mildly. However, this doesn’t mean that emerging Asian economies could relax and wait it out. During global economic restructuring, Asian countries face new challenges and cannot rely only on export-driven growth. A new mode for economic growth needs to emerge, and more focus must be placed on domestic market development to hedge against decreasing demand from developed countries.
Many Asian countries were already on the path to transformation by the turn of 2011. Issues related to the rise of the culture industry, increasing necessity of internet in daily life, and new needs from higher education have become hot topics in Asia, as well as the global stage. Amidst all the diverse changes, one constant is emerging with every issue: young people are playing increasingly important roles.
During this year’s youth forum, speakers and representatives shared thoughts and discussed several topics, including “Creative Asia: The new champion of global culture and entertainment,” “Revitalizing the Asian financial sector for sustainable economic development,” “Education in Transition: Bridging gaps between higher education and emerging talent demand,” and “Internet in Transition ¨C The road ahead.”
“Admirable young people energized with activity, creativity, and innovation must shoulder compelling responsibility during the economic transformation of various Asian countries,” remarked BFA Secretary General Zhou Wenzhong in a speech at the 2011 Boao Youth Forum. As usual, this year’s forum gave birth to many innovative concepts, which will continue to provide insight for Asian economic transformation and world economic recovery.