The world is rapidly changing, with globalisation and digitalisation significantly increasing the pace of our lives and bringing us closer together than ever before, as well as presenting profound challenges to our self-perception, politics, economy, security, and society. The annual Bled Strategic Forum will address the “New Reality” we live in and seek for the answers to the pressing issues of today’s globalised world.

Providing a high-level platform for discussions, the 12th Bled Strategic Forum will take place on 4 and 5 September 2017 addressing the challenges posed by the “New Reality”. As a leading strategic conference in Central and South East Europe it offers the room for exchange of ideas and concepts through the panels, round tables and one-on-one interviews in the idyllic environment of Bled, Slovenia.

Established political, economic and social elites are losing ground. Populist, nationalist and extremist movements are on the rise. It is difficult to keep up with the vast amount of information that bombards us daily, let alone evaluate its true value or meaning and put it in a proper context. Wars and conflicts in Europe’s immediate neighbourhood and in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia challenge our views on morality, norms, and values. Terrorist attacks fuel fear in our lives and societies, and the fact that there are millions of refugees worldwide deepens our sense of insecurity.

With the world order possibly at breaking point, we need a strategic vision, strong democratic leadership, and perseverance. We need to adapt to the new reality, but always remember the foundations on which our modern societies were built. It is vital to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy, and the rule of law continue to be respected, as well as everything else we have built through the decades.

Pressing regional and global issues bring forth also the questions of the role of the business sector. Since it no longer suffices to understand the changes solely on the basis of past experience and to adapt to a new reality with traditional approaches, we need to create and implement new business, economic and social concepts and new approaches. The search for such approaches will be at the core of the Business BSF, an integral part of the Forum, organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration, the American Chamber of Commerce in Slovenia, and the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry, under the title “Innovating New Reality”.

The challenges of the younger generation in their aspirations for a better future will be traditionally incorporated into the Young BSF. Taking place on 1‒3 September 2017, it will tackle the “(Dis)connected Reality” and give visionary young leaders an opportunity to form real, connected, or virtual partnerships and networks.

Attracting around one thousand participants, including heads of state and government, ministers, diplomats, business people, scholars and the media from around the world, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the Centre for European Perspective put a unique emphasis for the bilateral and multilateral meetings with the regional and global stakeholders and the leaders of today and tomorrow.

Photo: STA, BSF 2016 Archive