The G8 Young Summit (YG8), held this year in Washington, DC from May 4th to 6th, is a collection of the best and brightest from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors worldwide. They came to prove that an entrepreneurial mind can be the most powerful tool in sectors such as global security, economy, infrastructure, health, and governance. Collected under these fields, they have collaborated to compile papers that will be read by the leaders at the G8 conference to be held at Camp David May 18th to 19th. However, the youth component of the summit is not only clearly defined in the focus of the issues being brought up, but also in the participants themselves – both physical age but also in the manner of discussions being carried out. For the leaders of this new generation, youth means spending less time on formalities, and more time spent in action. There was a loss of convention, highlighted by the assertive YG8 Moderator Amilya Antonetti who paced the entire room while posing questions to Saturday morning’s panelists Sandra Macdonald Davis, Senior Vice President of Meridian International; Dr. John Howe, President and CEO of Project Hope; Diego Phillipi of the Chile Innovation Agenda 2013; Raya Yusuf-Sbitany, head of the Quality Assurance and Investor Relations Departments at the Bank of Palestine; and Yael Cohen of FCancer.Org.
Largely emphasized during the discussion was the role and relationships between the public sector, private sector, and non-profit organizations. To characterize the budding, young generation however it was agreed that a fourth sector must be recognized: one that combines the strenghts of social media with the cause of nonprofits, backed by the business sector, all while demanding a right to contribute to social means. Mrs. Yusuf-Sbitany predicted otherwise however, claiming that while a fourth sector currently exists, the eventual result will again become a three-sector dynamic as for-profit businesses will be forced into social responsibility by consumers and eventually combine with non-profit organizations that are broke and require capital.
Also discussed was the idea of creating “Departments of Listening” within governments. Although originally a self-pronounced “crazy” idea by Mr. Diego Phillipi, the panel agreed that governments are indeed losing power and influence, and better attempts to connect with the population need to be made. This would create an entrepreneur-friendly environment and utilize currently unused human capital, getting them involved in issues such as poverty reduction and clean water. Despite the fact that young people make up the highest percentage of the population in most developing countries, the leaders representing them at the G8 conference are not likely to fully understand and express emphasis on these important issues. In response, the G8 Youth Summit, working off ideals of entrepreneurship and social responsibility, hopes to make the G8 more relevant to the contemporary global community.