Leadership Academy
The Millennial Takeover: The Cryptopian Generation Saving the Online Space

Training Young Leaders to Take On “The Cyberworld”
Millennial Takeover 2022
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

In August FNF South East and East Europe in cooperation with FNF Turkey carried out the third edition of the Millennial Takeover program – for the first time physically after the pandemic. 25 participants from 9 different countries (Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, and Turkey) gathered in Bodrum, Turkey in order to tackle the most pressing issues in the digital era – from the question of whether we should break up tech giants to the problem of disinformation and online privacy or the connection between bitcoin and human rights.

After everyone had settled in on the arrival day, FNF Turkey’s Head of Office Beate Apelt, and Aret Demirci, Project Manager Regional Office FNF ESEE welcomed the participants to the 4-day program. Sven Gerst, Lead Facilitator of the Millennial Takeover Young Leaders Academy introduced the program and carried out various team-building activities in order to give the participants the chance to get to know each other.

Millennial Takeover 2022-2
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

The initial training day was packed with loads of different activities and group work. During the morning session, Sven Gerst addressed the problems millennials face nowadays like wealth accumulation and purchasing power. Building on these findings, the participants went into a discussion of the most pressing topics in tech, such as web3.0, privacy, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, and big data, and rated their importance in the future. During the art lab activity, the participants reflected in an artistic way on which ideas, thoughts, and feelings they project into the future in the scope of digitalization.

Guest speaker Handan Uslu gave the participants a deeper insight on the topic of big tech and monopolization and how this became a threat to our liberties. With this knowledge, the group was divided into two and debated about whether big tech should be regulated or not.

The day ended with guest speaker Aaron Michael Finnon giving a workshop on online privacy.

Millennial Takeover 2022-2
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

On the second training day, the issue of fake news was discussed intensively. After input was provided by one of the participants, they tested their knowledge in a fake news hackathon. Afterward, the group focussed on the issue of hate speech and cancel culture. One of the participants presented practical ways to tackle hate speech by using AI and pointed out the possibilities and limits AI can provide for the fight against hate speech.

Before the end of the second training day, Sven Gerst took a closer look at liberal values and freedom of expression in order to provide the participants with the necessary knowledge to argue about controversial cases of freedom of expression during the World Café activity.

Millennial Takeover 2022-3
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

On the third training day, guest speaker Nándor Tóth from Momentum Hungary focused on the topic of data-driven online campaigning and gave real life examples of how he uses data in the most effective way. Equipped with this knowledge, the participants got the chance to do some hands-on work to develop their skills on how to run a campaign. The final session of the Millennial Takeover 2022 program was dedicated to the relation between crypto currency and human rights as well as inclusive finance. The program ended with a certificate ceremony and a farewell party where the participants brought specialities from their respective countries.

Millennial Takeover 2022-4
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

Summing up, during the 4-day program, the participants had the chance to debate about “everything digital” from different perspectives with people from different countries and fields of expertise. They were able to form opinions about the most important tech questions that need to be addressed by young leaders and, apart from the program, the relaxed environment away from daily life was a perfect opportunity for the participants to get to know other bright young minds working towards the same goals.