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At Tokyo’s Global Festa, Young People Share Their Views on Environment, Ending Poverty

Ravi Kumar's picture

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On a rainy Sunday afternoon, a group of young people gathered near the World Bank’s booth at the 2012 Global Festa in Tokyo’s Hibiya Park. They shared their views on what it will take to end poverty, adding to hundreds of postcards dotting a wall at the exhibit.

The postcards are part of a global conversation launched by the World Bank in September centered around questions like “what will it take to end poverty” or “what will it take so all people have access to education?”  

The Bank’s booth was one among many at Japan’s Global Festa, an annual event for youth aimed at deepening understanding and awareness of international development issues. This year’s event took place as leaders and development experts gather in Tokyo for the IMF-World Bank 2012 Annual Meetings.

The theme of the 2012 Global Festa was Think Global, Think Green, Change the World, Make the Future.

“I recycle and use electronic vehicles,” said Masumi Ito, a 14-year-old high school student, about what she does to be environmentally aware.

With more than 100 exhibition booths—primarily of non-governmental organizations—the park was filled with information and energy. Masaki Matsukawa, a graduate student at Tokyo University, and a volunteer at the World Bank booth, said he learned more about development issues and enjoyed volunteering and meeting hundreds of people.

At the center of the park, many visitors wrote messages for victims of Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster on heart-shaped pieces of paper.

The World Bank Group and the Japanese Government co-organized an outdoor stage event on October 6 called “21st Century International Cooperation: World Bank and Japan.” The event offered ideas about the nature of international cooperation and how actors such as the World Bank play a role in international development.

At the event, Natsuki Yasuda, a Japanese photo journalist, showed her photos from Tohoku, an area of Japan hit by the earthquake in March 2011. It was followed by a panel discussion about how youth can work with large organizations like the World Bank.

Other organizations such as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), were among the organizations at the event.

Last year, the Global Festa had more than 100,000 visitors, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, which is also an organizer of the event.

What do you do to learn about international development and the environment? Tell us in the comments below.

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