International youth summit kicks off in Berlin
Ahead of next month's G7 summit, young people from around the world are meeting to discuss their perspectives on key G7 issues. They are set to present their views to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday.
Determined to make a difference
Berlin is playing host to 54 young delegates for the J7 Youth Summit, designed to mirror the meeting of heads of state of G7 countries that will take place in June. Teams of young delegates from the G7 member states Germany, France, the UK, Canada, Italy, Japan and the USA are joined by representatives from African and EU countries to exchange their ideas on key topics on the G7 agenda.
An inspiring opportunity
Antonio and Jovana are two of the young people representing Italy at the J7 summit. "I'm not expecting to change the world, but I hope to help change it!" said seventeen year old Jovana. "I think we have a lot of work ahead of us, but I couldn't be any more excited," said her teammate Antonio, 18. "The atmosphere is very stimulating; I'm very motivated," he told DW.
A healthy future
"Diversity is really an advantage here as we are going to hear different perspectives from different people, " said Pranav from Team USA. "I feel the most pressing issue is health: accessibility to vaccinations and health education," he said, adding that he hopes the G7 countries will work towards sustainable solutions for global health problems.
Keen to cooperate
"I'm expecting to view different perspectives on issues that are occurring in the world and I hope to see how we can resolve them," said Gurujot, 17, from Team Canada. Amira, 17, added that she was looking forward to cooperating with kids from other countries. Their teammate Renee, 18, agreed. "I want to let people know that Canadian youth really cares about these issues!" she said.
As part of Team Germany, Jessica didn't have to travel as far as some of the other participants to attend the summit. Nevertheless, the 18 year old was excited to show her international counterparts around her country's capital. "We have so much to talk about!" she told DW. "I hope the discussion will bring us some good ideas and we can change something together."
A shared passion for female empowerment
"There is a very low female participation rate in Japan's workforce, so I'm planning to find some solutions to that by discussing it with students from other countries," said Chihiro from Japan. Zeynep from the UK added that women's rights issues affect men, too. "If we find the root of these issues, that can really improve our quality of life and make our society happier," she said.
Protecting the planet
"Many African countries are facing the consequences of climate change, ranging from water scarcity and drought to unbearable warmer temperatures," said Brighton from Zambia, adding that he would be advocating the sustainable development agenda during the summit. "I want to see that the world responds to this challenge and tries to adopt more sustainable lifestyles," he said.
"I want to see how youth in countries outside of Africa view the different issues that are going to be talked about," said Beakal from Ethiopia. Gina from the Dominican Republic is interested to see how decision makers will react to their ideas. "Hopefully they are going to take us into consideration when they make the big decisions that concern us as young leaders," she said.
An African perspective
Nombuso, 18, has traveled from her hometown Matsulu in South Africa for the summit in Berlin. She is one of five young Africans who have been invited to the J7 to represent the countries the G7 aim to reach out to. "If we put our heads together we can really come up with great ideas!" she told DW.
"I've made so many friends that I don’t think we will be able to do any work because we will be chatting all the time!" laughed Nikos Pavlos from Greece. He is part of Team EU at the J7 summit. "I think it's really important that we have the opportunity to influence the future," he said. "It's very uncommon today for young people like us to have our voices heard and taken into consideration."