This community of youthful changemakers is creating a more equitable world

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Natalie Pierce, Head of Global Shapers Community, World Economic Forum

  • The 2022 Global Shapers Annual Summit comes to an end in Geneva, Switzerland, after three impactful days from 2-4 September 2022.
  • More than 500 members of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community of activists and entrepreneurs under the age of 30 attended.
  • Global Shapers continue to take collective action to combat climate change, create more inclusive communities, and safeguard youth mental health.

It’s been nearly three years since this group of innovators, activists and entrepreneurs under the age of 30 met in person. From 2-4 September, 500 of them convened in Geneva for the 10th Global Shapers Annual Summit.

The World Economic Forum recognizes that young people are the most affected demographic when it comes to the world’s rising socio-economic, political and environmental crises. Yet, they are also the best placed to lead the transition to a more equitable world.

Who are the Global Shapers?

In 2011, young members of the Forum came together to establish the Global Shapers Community and harness the power of young people to create positive change. What then began as a small network in less than 15 capital cities now spans a global movement of 15,000 members and alumni driving dialogue, action and change in 500 hubs across 150 countries.

In each city-based hub, Global Shapers bring people together. Working with local stakeholders, our members volunteer their time to respond to disasters, fight climate change, safeguard mental health, build more equitable and inclusive communities and more.

While in Geneva, representatives of all city-based hubs came together to share experiences and lessons learned from their initiatives. They developed their ability to drive change, found new ways to work together and take their work to the next level.

We believe that global collaboration, intergenerational solidarity and investment in young people are needed to address the complex challenges that we collectively face. From addressing COVID-19 to climate change, we must have all hands on deck to build the peaceful, sustainable and inclusive future we need.

What is the purpose of the Global Shaper Annual Summit?

The Global Shapers Annual Summit is all about coming together to exchange ideas, imagine a better future and create partnerships that are capable of improving local communities and inspiring global action to address the pressing, complex challenges that we collectively face.

The summit focused on advancing youth-led solutions under the community’s main impact areas:

  • Protect the planet: reduce emissions, fight drought, respond to natural disasters, preserve biodiversity, conserve nature and promote sustainable consumption.
  • Strengthen civic engagement: empower minority leadership, mobilize citizen voting and inspire young people to run for local office to ensure representation in decision-making.
  • Improve health and well-being: address the social determinants of health, advance health equity and mental health support, and address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Deliver basic needs: respond to local disasters, take humanitarian action, end hunger, fight poverty and support the world’s most vulnerable communities.
  • Reskill for the future: increase access to quality education, skills and jobs and promote entrepreneurship, innovation, digital literacy and online safety.
  • Create inclusive communities: advocate for human rights and disrupt harmful stereotypes related to gender, race, sexuality, disability and homelessness.

What have past Global Shapers Annual Summits achieved?

Previous summits have been creative hotspots for launching meaningful projects and partnerships:

  • Responsible leadership: In 2017, we launched partnerships that permanently changed the course of our community. With Accenture, we have since seen Global Shapers come together on the topic of responsible leadership — growing our network, impact and thought-leadership around the world. With philanthropist Rosamund Zander and The Climate Reality Project, more than 800 Global Shapers have been trained as climate experts and over 400 volunteer-led climate projects have now been implemented worldwide.
  • Sustainable cities: In 2017, more than 100 hubs worked together on tangible solutions to foster city-based innovation, including projects targeting sustainable waste management, intelligent transport systems, strengthened civic participation and preparing young people for the future of work, as part of Shaping My Cities Future.
  • Diversity and inclusion: In 2018, the #WeSeeEqual social media campaign and $100,000 prize solution challenge offered in partnership with Procter & Gamble inspired activities around the world to disrupt harmful stereotypes related to gender, race, sexuality and disability in over 50 cities.
  • Circular economy: In 2019, Global Shapers sparked a connection with the Forum’s Scale360° Circular Innovation initiative that kick-started 24 circular economy projects around the world. The Bangkok Hub helps consumers choose businesses using alternatives to single-use plastics, the Mexico City Hub trains government officials in circular design, and the Turin Hub facilitates a circular innovation stakeholder alliance to advance critical climate goals and more.
  • COVID-19 response: In 2020, responding to COVID-19, Global Shapers joined forces to implement 158 public health projects. Of those, 102 mobilized collective action to support health systems, protect livelihoods and encourage inclusive community responses to the crisis, and 56 projects amplified access to trusted public health information around the world. Global Shapers’ efforts were recognized by the World Health Organization.

The Global Shapers Community is a scalable solution aimed at organizing and mobilizing the full potential of young people. Since 2011, Global Shapers have implemented over 2,200 projects reaching more than two million direct beneficiaries. This Global Shapers Annual Summit will help members expand their influence and desire to act.

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