Discussing Youth Issues at the Y20 in Córdoba, Argentina

By Luisa de Simone

¡Hola! My name is Luisa De Simone and I was the EU Head Delegate to the Y20 Argentina 2018. From the 13th to the 18th of August 2018, Mark Coles and I had the honour of representing the European Union at the Y20 Summit in Córdoba, Argentina. As mentioned by Mark in his blog post, the Youth20 is one of the seven engagement groups of the G20, aiming at connecting young delegates and professionals from different countries with the world leaders. It is a unique opportunity for youth to influence the policy debate, offering concrete solutions and recommendations to tackle the most pressing societal and economic challenges.

After a week-long summit – that felt like a month-long due to an agenda full of events and endless opportunities to engage in lively discussions around the future of work, the issue of sustainability, the skills and education essential for the 21st century and the needs of entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals – now that I am back to Europe, there are three thoughts I would like to share with you.

As you might expect, the Y20 is all about youth. It is a genuine platform for young people to share their knowledge and showcase their talents. It was indeed a great opportunity for me to learn from incredible individuals creating tangible impact in their communities. To say it in the words of Ilona Dougherty, one of the keynote speakers, ‘young people’s brains are “wired for innovation”’. And certainly many young delegates and special guests proved it right.

If you fancy getting involved in the Y20, get prepared for a lot of talking. I very much enjoyed being one of the speakers invited to discuss about the future of work – and the future of workers, most importantly – questioning the paradigms and predicting the future alongside other distinguished guests from the private sector and international development. In the same way, a lot of talking on gender, social entrepreneurship, social protection, sustainability – just to mention some of the topics debated – was involved in the negotiations that led to the final policy recommendations. And let me guess… Even more talking will be required for the promotion of the final communique, keeping the delegates busy for the rest of the year.

Moreover, the summit is a genuine opportunity for finding a good dose of inspiration. Spending a week with a group of young people – most of them in their early twenties – meaningfully engaged to create a better world, is like a breath of fresh air. I believe that a sparkling combination of energy, alfajores (☺), curiosity and willingness to take on new challenges was the secret ingredient of this gathering and what made it very special.

Finally, I would invite you to learn more about Young European Leadership (YEL), the organisation that made this experience possible and that is effortlessly providing opportunities to empower young individuals from Europe and beyond. Will you be the next delegate? Check the website and do not miss your chance!