The Slovenia Times

Bled's Major Brainstorming



What was the initial idea behind the Bled Strategic Forum?
The Bled Strategic Forum was established as a new Slovenian brand in 2006 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia. The Forum was designed as an international conference - a mega brainstorming - to promote an in-depth strategic dialogue on the key issues faced by Europe and the transatlantic community. The Forum was set out to provide a relaxing discussion point for policy-makers, business people and experts, where we could address pressing and strategically relevant global issues. In the past six years we have welcomed participants from more than 50 countries around the world. This year we're expecting guests to come from India to Iceland, from Chile to the Czech Republic, from Rwanda to the Russian Federation, from Cape Verde to Qatar. We're happy that in just six years the Bled Strategic Forum has become an established brand and that our high profile guests enjoy coming back to Slovenia to attend it.

What are some of the topics the Forum has covered over the years?
The first Bled Strategic Forum took place in 2006 as a follow-up to the Slovenian chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Under the title "Caspian Outlook 2008", the conference addressed the geopolitical importance of the Caspian region regarding energy supplies. The second Forum took place just before Slovenia took over the EU presidency, the first of the new member states to do so. Under the title "European Union 2020: Enlarging and Integrating", participants discussed the future of the EU. The 2008 event, titled "Energy and Climate Change: Si.nergy for the Future", tackled questions of energy security and the impact of climate change. In 2009 the conference discussed the geopolitical consequences of the global financial and economic crisis. Last year's forum was dedicated to the global challenges of the next decade. On the basis of the success of the international conferences held to date, the annual Bled Strategic Forum has become one of the leading international conferences in the region.

The forum does not only focus on Slovenia and its immediate areas of influence. Discussions also address worldwide developments. Why is that the case?
Bled Strategic Forum is still a relatively young forum and is still growing, adding new panels and expanding its programme. It started as a regional forum, but evolved into a global forum. Slovenia is a smaller state, but it aims to be a smaller state with a global view. Being member of EU and NATO, part of the globalised world, we want to address the future challenges of international community. At the Bled Strategic Forum, we try to analyse some of the trends that lie ahead of us in order to better prepare ourselves and the international community for forthcoming challenges - how to face them and, even more importantly, how to avoid them. And Bled Strategic Forum has been very successful in attracting some of the most brilliant minds from all around the world to address the challenges of the decade.

What impact does the forum have in political and/or financial circles?
The Forum is traditionally well attended by politicians and business people from the region and beyond. In the relaxing atmosphere of Bled, business people and policy makers find good opportunities to meet and conduct informal bilateral meetings that often represent a basis for further cooperation. This year we're expecting a group of investors from the USA, business people from Western Balkan countries as well as representatives from multinationals such as Microsoft and BMW. Conferences such as Bled Strategic Forum are even more important at the times of the crisis since politicians and business people are all looking for fresh ideas from prominent experts all around the world and their analyses of the trends in the current situation in order to speed up economic recovery.

What is the main agenda for this year's forum and why?
This year's forum, titled "The Power of the Future", will take place on 9 and 10 September 2011 and will address power shifts in the international arena, including relations between states and economic relations, with an emphasis on emerging economies. The discussion panels will address a wide array of topics, focusing on new players, especially the BRIC countries; on European challenges in the Mediterranean; EU-China relations; Afghanistan; the future of energy; challenges and perspectives in the Western Balkans; the role of small states in global affairs; as well as food security and the role of innovation in economy. The Forum will thus again remain centred around regional and global topics. This year, an important addition has been introduced to the Bled Strategic Forum - the Young BSF, which aims to attract a younger audience; an audience of future decision-makers.

For more information on the Bled Strategic Forum, please visit


More from Nekategorizirano