Thursday, May 30, 2024

Experience meeting passion in Cross-generational Leaders’ talk: Challenging Days for Multilateralism

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Diplomat Magazine
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Following successes of the similar programs in Europe (Vienna and Geneva notably), the Istanbul-based International Organization along with its European (think-tank, academia, cultural diplomacy, and media) partners decided to launch the special executive program for future leaders on its own.

Hence, by the Program’s launch on 24th February 2023, this format gathered participants of diverse professional backgrounds and varied geographies, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East – largely the emerging leaders from the government, international organisations or industry. The Future Leaders Executive Program’s concept is rather simple: Participants are spending a whole day with top level speakers – mainly the world leaders that shaped events of the past decades (two per month, last Friday-Saturday in month) in an open, Chatham House rules-based atmosphere, all situated within the historic premisses of the city on two continents.

On the 25th of March 2023, Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, former Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, spent a full day with an eagerly anticipating audience at the Future Leaders Executive Program. Worth mentioning is that Ambassador Zannier holds a Doctorate in Law, an advanced degree in International Relations from Societa’ Italiana per le Organizzazioni Internazionali in Rome, and an honorary doctorate in International and Diplomatic Sciences (2016) from the University of Trieste, Italy.

Ambassador Zannier’s exceptional career includes previously serving as the Representative of Italy to the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague (2002 -2000), Chairperson of the negotiations on the adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (1999 -1998), and Head of Disarmament, Arms Control, and Cooperative Security at NATO (1997 -1991). Prior to these senior positions, he served in Rome, Abu Dhabi, and Vienna, dealing with economic affairs, development, disarmament, and security. From 1976 to 1977, he worked at the Legal Office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome on issues related to international river basins and the shared use of internal waters.

Throughout the day-long exchanges with the Future Leaders Executive Program (FLEP) participants, Excellency Zannier elaborated on his experiences as the former Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (second largest security mechanism right after the OUN), particularly his work on multilateralism, conflict prevention, and crisis management. Prevaling cultures, passions, drives and interests in international politico-military and socio-economic arena have been also toughly examined. Unavoidably, Ambassador Zannier generously and enthusiastically shared his views on the ongoing Donbas Crisis and Ukraine-Russia conflict, the Minsk Agreement, climate change, and food security, as well as on other issues that represent serious challenge for our contemporary multilateralism.

In addition, he discussed the role of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in promoting regional security and stability, as well as its efforts to address emerging threats such as cybercrime and terrorism. The day was filled with vivid exchanges of views and opinions, inspiring reflection, and a farsighted yet amicable atmosphere, with direct, personal access to the notable guest.

As the event draw to a close, Lamberto Zannier and President of ICYF, Taha Ayhan (as a principal host to the event) jointly encapsulated what all participants had already concluded throughout the day: that the Future Leaders Executive Program offers a unique setting. They both agreed that this particular format – in which an established experience meets new passions and drives through cross generational leaders’ talks – represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for emerging leaders from the state, intergovernmental, and corporate sectors of all meridians.

The day-long talks with Excellency Zannier was an enlightening and engaging experience for all who participated. It left a lasting impression on the attendees and imprinted a high standard stamp for the Program’s forthcoming rounds.

The magic ship of knowledge and wisdom sets its sail once again. Its next fascinating port of call awaits in just a few short weeks, with a former Secretary General of OPEC, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin and former EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Fishery, Dr. Franz Fiischler (on 28th and 29th April).  

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About the author:

Feyza Nur Başkaya Osmić

Feyza Nur Başkaya Osmić, is an Istanbul-based lawyer, with a profound academic background from the Istanbul University (Faculty of Law), University of Zagreb, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and international projects throughout the Netherlands and France.

She is attached to the international organization, the ICYF (Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum).

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