The year was 2006. It was a hot day at the end of August, when the story of the Bled Strategic Forum began. It began, as all stories do, with an idea. Back then, Slovenia was already a member of the EU and NATO and had just completed its chairmanship of the OSCE in 2005. The air was filled with positivity and the expectation of our upcoming EU Council Presidency in 2008. Slovenia was establishing itself as a responsible actor in the European and global context. Yet there was a sense that we needed to do more, to find a context in which we would be able, as a small country, to project our soft power to the outside world and to gain additional visibility. Enter the Bled Strategic Forum. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since 2006, the Bled Strategic Forum has established itself as one of the biggest and most important strategic forums in Central and South Eastern Europe. We have hosted more than 10,000 participants from more than 100 countries. We have held important discussions together with heads of state and governments, foreign ministers, members of civil society, and representatives of academia and the business world. We excelled and we grew. In parallel, we started to think – about the future and about the idea. About our mission.
While it was and still is fundamentally important to organise a forum of this magnitude every year at the end of August in Bled, we felt that we could do more, that we could do better. What we wanted was a platform which would be able to produce events, discussions, roundtables, projects, analyses and publications throughout the year, every year. Why?
Since 2006 we have witnessed a global community that has been slowly drifting into a permanent state of crisis. Each and every crisis has left the world a little more wounded, each and every one has left a scar that has been getting deeper and harder to heal. Time is a priceless commodity. In this fast-moving international arena it is very hard to just stop…and think. Everything needs to be done fast and it needs to be published on social media even faster.
While this is the way of the world and it is going to be hard to turn back the hands of time, the Bled Strategic Forum wanted to create something new, analyse and set the trends and bring together as many different stakeholders as possible in order to build up a community, a platform of inclusivity and diversity. We firmly believe that only with the ability not only to listen but also to hear, not only to discuss but also to understand, can we distil the abundance of information and provide at least an educated guess as to what may happen in the decades to come and influence public opinion. One thing is certain and it is not merely conjecture – there is no planet B and we need to live and survive together.
With this in mind the Bled Strategic Forum started to partner with various organisations to try to capture the zeitgeist of this new global reality and offer strategic ideas and predictions or at least suggestions to the most pressing issues of today and tomorrow.
Our journey to become a platform has only just begun, but we have a solid vision, we know the road ahead and we know where we want to go. Join us and become a part of the growing BSF community. It all starts with a good idea.
Peter Grk, Secretary General, Bled Strategic Forum