Khadija Niazi, 13 years old student from Pakistan, wrote in her blog about her impressions as the participant of the 10th Yalta Annual Meeting.

08 October 2013

I went to Yalta European Strategy to speak on the panel "Next Generation + Education + Innovation = CHANGE"  I was there with Daphne Koller and Michio Kaku and a few more!  I left my house on 17th and headed for Tashkent. I had a one & a half day transit there. We exchanged 100 dollars for their currency and guess what, we became millionaires. Do you know why? Because 100 dollars is 214,670 soums!!! Thus it was not fitting in my father's wallet and it was tiresome to count it again and again and again. Even the shops had counting machines, I mean is it easy to count millions while shopping. Just remember 1 coke is 4000 soums. Why can't they have giga soum note. That would be awesome. I wonder why their currency is so de-valued.
The prices are still high. So it makes no difference. You don't become rich there by having millions. Instead of wallets they have briefcases. Strange and silly. A woman bought four tops and she gave wads of notes to the shopkeeper and he put those in a machine because it is humanly impossible to count those without making a mistake and people don't seem to be bothered. After 1 and a half day we left through a rushy airport where there were millions of queues. Finally we made it to Simferopol. A van picked me and my family up and took us on a 1 & a half hour drive to Yalta. Yalta in four words: beautiful, amazing and breathtaking. Then we went to Welcome dinner. So next day I was supposed to speak at the panel. I was very inspired by the views given by Daphne Koller and Michio Kaku. Daphne Koller is a really remarkable lady and the work she is doing is really amazing. And who else knows the worth of her work like I do, because I have completed 10+ courses from Coursera and got a learning experience which I could not have gotten at my age(if I used the normal school system, which I didn't). One thing I really liked was how Michio showed the importance of English, an international language.
No wonder that Ukraine's overall literacy rate is 99.7% and this clearly showed in their culture and in their country. You can see the progress of Ukraine by looking at the condition of their country. Even though I didn't see many people talking in English but still they were talented and educated in their own unique way. As far as Pakistan is concerned, it is still struggling to cross 60% in their literacy rate and yet we call ourselves a nuclear power. And still the electricity we produce by nuclear power is 5.3% whereas Ukraine produces 46.2% of electricity by nuclear power. This is strange because we have an extreme power shortage here, we have 12-13 hours of load shedding(time when electricity is out). And here we are, not even utilizing our nuclear resources for the production of electricity. Maybe our country's motive is to put that nuclear power ability in a museum for show-casing. Our country is supposed to invest in research and develop new ways to meet the electricity crisis.
The most interesting talk apart from mine(it was the best =D, just kidding) was the panel "UKReative- A suggestion on economic perspectives". It was overall great but the exciting part came when Petro Poroshenko and Sergey Glazyev had what one would call "THE GREAT DEBATE". Petro was talking in English but every time Sergey spoke, I had to quickly(at the speed of light) put on the translator so that I wouldn't miss his reply. They were debating on CHOCOLATE! :) Petro reminded him that Ukraine's chocolates are the best but then Sergey begged to differ and said "But if someone can find cocoa in Ukraine, it will be a new word in botany". And I can very well imagine Petro's anger when Russia stopped importing his chocolates. It was really interesting to hear Sergey warning Ukraine about joining EU and hearing Petro's optimistic replies about his country's future with EU. It was a peculiar sight when Stephen Sackur, The presenter of Hard Talk, tried to mellow down this debate. I am sure this Hard talk between Petro and Sergey exceeded his expectations of Hard Talk.
I was very glad to see people from various countries including china. And I am hopeful that next year people from African countries will be invited there to give their point of view. I was very proud that I represented my country Pakistan. I hope Pakistan will strengthen their ties with Ukraine. There is so much they can achieve together. I have heard that many students from Pakistan go to Ukraine to study. This already a beginning of strong ties between our countries. Pakistan should work with Ukraine on the education sector and seek advice on how to achieve above 90% literacy rate.They can also help in building power plants. Pakistan already has close ties with China and Turkey and they can extend these ties to Ukraine. And I have seen some time ago that they have already started working together. We need to keep our ties strong and co-operate with each other and share our ideas which will be beneficial for both countries.


Khadija Niazi

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Robert Gates
Robert Gates
U.S. Secretary of Defense (2006-2011), 14th YES Annual Meeting, 2017
«Putin is trying to do everything he can to delegitimize and undermine Western institutions. The weaker the West is, the stronger Russia is.»