The Inter-Parliamentary Union report of 2021 on Youth Participation in National Parliaments places at least 50% of the world’s population at under 30, yet only 2.6% of the world’s parliamentarians are under 30. This clearly shows that youth are under-represented in the decision-making process within their local communities and globally, and yet it is crucial to give them platforms to pursue engagement and make their voices heard. The World Bank Group (WBG) Youth Summit is one way to do it.
The World Bank Group Youth Summit is the largest annual gathering of youth organized by youth at the WBG to engage globally in the most pressing issues facing our generation. Back for the tenth time now, this year Summit’s theme From the Ground Up: Local Solutions to Drive Global Impact wants to bring local solutions, local voices, and local changemakers onto the global scene to focus on three critical development challenges: Fragility, Conflict, and Violence; Climate and Energy; and Jobs and Skills.
Within this theme, the Summit wants to honor the perspectives of indigenous people, marginalized communities, and rural women by demonstrating how their knowledge and expertise can play a role in addressing some of the most critical global challenges we face and reinforce the role of youth in leveraging these local solutions and making them global to help achieve the WBG’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and fostering shared prosperity.
When I first attended the Youth Summit as a delegate in 2019, I was struck by how empowering and inspiring this event was for youth. It not only promoted dialogue between the youth, the WBG, and other key stakeholders, but it also encouraged us to dream big and explore innovative ideas to address development challenges and change the status quo. Every single delegate I met, from the Republic of Congo to Australia, was inspired and driven to develop ideas that would make an impact in their communities and globally as well.
Each segment of the summit is tailored with this objective in mind from the Case Challenge, a facilitated workshop that invites delegates to work in teams to develop solutions on cases based on real WBG projects to the Pitch Competition, which gives young innovators a platform, regardless of their professional background, to submit action-oriented solutions to address development challenges. And many more segments, including a live artistic performance and Lightening Talks, a new addition to this year’s summit, that gives the floor to our delegates to pitch their ideas to a global audience.
Last year the Pitch Competition winner, Stanley Anigbobu, who presented a renewable energy project powering rural communities and schools in Nigeria (LightEd), went on to win the Diana Award and other prestigious prizes. There are many more success stories stemming from the Youth Summit, including my own. I, who joined the Summit as a delegate wishing to make an impact within my community and learn from my fellow delegates, ended up building long-lasting friendships and working with a team of stellar young professionals to make this event a success and bring even more youth voices to the global stage. With the Youth Summit, the WBG shows its unwavering support for youth and empowers them to be actors of change.
This year’s Youth Summit will take place, online and in person, in Washington DC on May 25 and 26. Between 300 and 500 delegates aged 18 to 35 are expected to attend and more than 5,000 to participate online. And, with some of the sessions due to be live streamed on World Bank Live and social media in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish, more than 265,000 people are expected to be tuning in this year.
To learn more about the 2023 World Bank Group Youth Summit or register to attend, visit our website or send an email to email@example.com.