The Y20 Youth Summit 2020 kicked off on Sunday with a launch event at the Misk Foundation in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter.
The Y20 is the only officially recognized platform for young people to engage with the G20, and the most influential international diplomatic forum for young leaders.
The Misk Foundation is chairing the Y20 in partnership with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).
The first working meeting will be held at the ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York City on April 1-2, the second at the VIVATECH conference in Paris on June 11-12, and the third at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Jakarta on July 7-8, before the Y20 Youth Summit itself, which will be held in Riyadh from Oct. 10 to 18.
Saudi Arabia’s Y20 sherpa and initiatives manager at Misk Foundation, Sarah Alkhedheiri, started the event by introducing Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, for a fireside chat with the young people in the audience.
Fore highlighted some of the biggest issues that the young were facing today, in particular the problems of climate change and mental health.
She also talked about what UNICEF was doing to engage today’s youth and provide more jobs for them.
“At UNICEF, we’re trying to think about how our programs are structured. We would love to see more young people working with us. It’s a different way of thinking, but if we think it together, we’ll get there,” she said.
Saudi Arabia’s G20 sherpa, Fahd Al-Mubarak, who was one of the event’s keynote speakers, told the audience that the G20 leaders were working hard on the agenda.
“In Saudi Arabia, we are proud, privileged and humbled that we are leading the most important world economic forum, the G20. Therefore, since we started we have to decide what the priorities are that we want to address,” he said.
He stressed the importance of youth in society and stated that the G20 leaders wanted to hear from them.
“We in the G20 look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. We could not find a better team,” he added.
Saudi Arabia’s Y20 chair, Othman Almoamar, welcomed the audience to “the coolest of the G20 groups” and spoke about the organizers’ research efforts, their objectives and outlined the process of preparing for the summit.
“This is what we’re giving as a gift today to the future Y20,” he said.
The Y20 youth summit is a youth-led event that brings together young leaders from across G20 countries to discuss and debate the G20 agenda.
The core objectives of the Y20 are to deliver the voice of the young to the G20, to include the younger generation in the G20 countries and beyond, and to increase sustainability, knowledge sharing and collaboration.