Yakunin and the Youth

News from India:

India Youth Forum was organized by The International Youth Time Movement at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The forum saw 130 international delegates and experts from 34 countries participate in dialogues on 5 key issues through Open Roundtables and interactive discussions. The conference opened with the plenary session Chaired by Mr. Imran Mukhtarov, the representative from the Ministry of Education, Azerbaijan.

The Session saw Mr. Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations and Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways, co-founding President of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”…

A quote from Yakunin follows:

Being associated with the Youth Forum, I am delighted that the youth of today are challenging themselves to break the barriers and work together for a better future. The World Public Forum and I personally support the Youth Time international movement as the initiative of young active people from all over the world.”

In fact, Youth Time International, which is headed by a certain Julia Kinash, appears to be a youth off-shoot of the World Public Forum (previously blogged by me here) – it was founded as the “Rhodes Youth Forum” in October 2010, days before a World Public Forum event on the island, and the WPF looms large on the YTI website; a report from a meeting in Prague relates that

…The next day participants had the honor of meeting and accompanying Mr. Vladimir Yakunin to the round table, where they went through the draft of conference’s resolution and analyzing each task we believed should be included into the official resolution of «Youth Time» movement. The result of our two-day meeting was an official resolution where our movement has shifted from ideas to action. Furthermore, the adopted resolution, signed by all participants of the conference, was presented at gala dinner in “Troya Castle”. The event organizers have also reminded us about the success of “Rhodes Youth Forum” (3-6 October 2010) and all other past activities related with World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”.

The site’s most recent posting is a call for “Traditional Family Values”, and there is an interview with Don Feder of the World Congress of Families – last summer, Yakunin’s wife (President of the Sanctity of Motherhood Program) joined Feder and Larry Jacobs at a WCF event in Moscow.

The website also carries a statement calling for the release from prison of Archimandrite Ephraim, the Abbot of Vatopedi on Mount Athos; as I blogged here, Ephraim was arrested for suspected fraud shortly after his return to Greece from a tour of Russia with the Mother of God’s belt. The visit had been organised by Yakunin to promote family values in Russia, and the statement on behalf of Ephraim was composed by Yakunin’s St Andrew the First Called Foundation. Yakunin’s efforts on behalf of Ephraim and in relation other matters (such as funding the building of a church in Estonia) can be seen as part of wider efforts by Russian Orthodoxy – and the Russian state – to position itself as the international defender of Orthodoxy.