"We, the next generation of young leaders, inheriting this world, ask that you allow us to help you help us shape a better world. We are disrupting industries and countries -- listen, pay attention, integrate us; we want to get involved! We are committed to our future and will continue to reshape this world, so please let us join together in collaboration and innovation!"
Those were the closing remarks that Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, co-chair and founder of the G8 Young Summit delivered to White House and State Dept officials in Washington, D.C., early morning on Sunday, May 6. Filling the room, 100 delegates from 20 countries and six continents working around the clock since early Friday, May 4. The weekend was a nonstop blur of networking, brainstorming, debating issues, plotting strategies and identifying innovative solutions to address the world's biggest current challenges. The goal: create a Framework for Action that encompasses recommendations the young leaders can implement, and in turn form global partnerships within and across nations, Heads of State, and networks of entrepreneurs, innovators, investors.
The final 22-page communiqué outlined a series of pressing issues with recommendations and commitments of support from the delegates eager to join elected, appointed public sector officials around the world in action.
Common themes that emerged included:
1. The need for more strategic partnerships between public and private entities and stakeholders at all levels -- the idea that inclusion, more equitable representation of the people, in every country or region is essential for progress and stability
2. The global unemployment crisis, particularly as it is affecting the 1 billion young people who are entering the world of work, and its impact on education, economies, competitiveness, governance and security -- as is evident with the Arab Spring
3. Access to capital -- the global economic crisis has been detrimental to businesses large and small, nonprofits and government programs alike. Small businesses in particular, the backbone of all societies, are in dire need of investment support and partnerships with national and global economies to spark job creation and near-term employment
4. The need for integrity at all levels of the private and public sectors and increased transparency -- core values of this younger generation of leaders
5. How critical it is to leverage technology to disseminate information across global networks, while activating systems and networks to address these global challenges and more
The 72-hour intensive workshop included formal and informal dialogues, panels and think tanks, which lead to the recommendations and commitments offered in the final communiqué, all focused on creating solutions and framework for near term action.
Summit attendees were divided into five think tanks focused on global security, global infrastructure, global governance, global health and entrepreneurship, and charged with the task of identifying top priorities in each area, exploring possible solutions, generating recommendations, and committing to action plans. Come Saturday afternoon, the mood became intense as teams raced to finish drafting their documents to present to the group. Later that night, working well into the early morning hours, a small group of representatives from the different working groups sewed the final document together.
Early Sunday morning, the delegates gathered for the final time to formally present their findings and recommendations to Matthew Vogel, special assistant to the president for economic policy at the White House and Shelly Porges, who leads the State Department's Global Entrepreneurship Program. Vogel's immediate response to the reading of the communiqué:
"The themes you have identified ... cutting across all the areas of mutual interest ... measures of impact, accountability, public-private partnerships, are in the areas we have tried to accomplish in over 100 hours is shorter and less comprehensive ... and you are to be congratulated for the level of detail and commitment..."
Porges, who is spearheading an effort to help build out entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world observed:
"this confirms that Secretary Clinton and our team are moving in the right direction as we are working in many similar areas of interest, and are about to launch several of these recommendations, but we need your partnership, your global reach, and most importantly your thinking on how to expand our horizons ... congratulations!"
To de Cordova's response:
"Our generation is committed to education and universal economic prosperity as the basis of long term and sustainable growth. We commit ourselves to continuing the dialogue, recommendations and actions of our Young Summit delegates and encourage our leaders to call upon and engage our generation and those that follow to support them in accomplishing our mutual global goals."
What made the G8 Young Summit so special was that the collective voice of its delegates was symbolic of that of thousands of other young leaders emerging in countries around the world, eager to play a significant role in the global community, take on bigger responsibilities, and invest their lives in the greater good. More and more, leaders of the next generation are looking for a seat at the table -- in governments, industries, corporations and communities. This past week in Washington, some big people were listening. Hopefully this is just the beginning.
For more information on this and future summits visit http://www.G8YGL.com or follow them on twitter: @g8ys
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