Festival progressing well, says Youth president

2010-12-18 10:32

The 17th World Youth Festival was progressing well, the president of the World Federation of Democratic Youth said today.

“We are happy with the progress of the festival and we have seen delegates focusing on the topics that are outlined on the programme,” the federation’s president, Tiago Vieira, said in a statement.

Vieira also said delegates were getting serious about the issues that they were talking about.

“If you sit and listen to deliberations at the seminars you get a feeling that delegates understand that they have come for serious issues that affect the lives of the youth around the world,” he said.

Viera said there was an increasing number of delegates attending workshops and the quality of discussions was improving.

He said the most recent discussions focused on the continent of Asia.

“This festival affords not only countries from that region the opportunity to share knowledge, but also an opportunity to engage with and learn from their counterparts from all over the world.”

The festival – which apparently hosts 15 000 youth from more than 130 countries at the Tshwane Events Centre – continues until Tuesday.

Since it began on Monday it has been the centre of widespread controversy.

There was criticism of the festival’s budget, which was initially R400 million but was later cut to R69 million, with the Congress of South African Trade Unions calling for an audit on how the money was used.

The festival’s management was also criticised when several speakers, including government ministers, did not arrive. Buses carrying delegates arrived late and there was also a shortage of food.

Some media reported that delegates played “kissing games” while they were waiting for seminars to begin.

The theme of the conference is “Let’s defeat imperialism for a world of peace, solidarity and social transformation”.

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