Earlier this month, the World Economic Forum invited 350 Global Shaper representatives to Geneva to share their perspectives on a range of global and local issues with senior representatives of international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. The Global Shapers Community which was established in 2011 has brought together over 6100 young people between the ages of 20 and 30 in over 170 countries across the world. I was one of 20 Global Shaper representatives from India who attended the meeting.
Several topics were discussed, including economic growth and social inclusion, healthcare, natural resource scarcity, gender, education and the digital economy. The meeting gave a platform for youth voices to be heard and to integrate our perspectives with the initiatives of the World Economic Forum in these areas. The meeting was also significant because it brought together young people from all over the world to share their experiences and open up avenues for collaboration.
Young people are under-represented in global affairs. Platforms such as this help to close the gap between millennial perspectives and global governance.
Even though we live in an inter-connected world, global efforts to solve some of the most pressing challenges are mostly fragmented. We are all affected by corruption, poverty, inequality and terrorism, yet the solutions that are developed are often in silos. Interacting with fellow Shapers from India and other parts of the world, I realized that we could come up with solutions that are far more robust if we collaborate. There are also numerous good practices that we can replicate when grappling with similar kinds of challenges in our communities.
On the final day of the meeting, the Global Shapers Community presented the results of its second Global Shapers Survey. The survey on technology, governance, social issues, values and working life has been answered by more than 25,000 millennials from over 181 countries, and was available in nine languages.
The Survey provides several interesting insights into how millennials around the world are thinking. While there are inter-country differences in responses, there are many similarities as well. For instance, most of the respondents felt that corruption and lack of transparency in governance is one of the most serious issues affecting their countries. Respondents from India also echoed this sentiment. Climate change and destruction of natural resources were recognized as among the biggest challenges facing the world. Abuse of power was perceived to be the most frustrating aspect of government leadership. It is also noteworthy that an overwhelming majority of respondents would welcome refugees into their country, city and even their homes.
As socially conscious individuals, digital natives and those who are most impacted by policy decisions taken today, young people deserve a seat at the table.
Overall, while there are several concerns about the state of the world, there is optimism about the future amongst the youth. It also became clear to me from participating in this meeting, that empathy is highly valued. Young people from all over the world care about their communities and are motivated to make a difference.
Despite making up 50% of the world's population, young people are under-represented in global affairs. Platforms such as this help to close the gap between millennial perspectives and global governance. As socially conscious individuals, digital natives and those who are most impacted by policy decisions taken today, young people deserve a seat at the table.