YT Global Forum 2018

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In December Paris, France hosted the Youth Time International Movements fourth annual Youth Global Forum. The diversity of the world was on show as distinguished guests, experts and participants from over forty nations gathered to discuss Impact Investment & the Role of Entrepreneurs. This three day forum saw attendants participate in various workshops, masterclasses and key-note speeches from the some of the world’s foremost experts in the field. The event culminated with fifteen project presenters getting the chance to showcase their projects with one ultimately winning the coveted Youth Time Idea grant to turn their project into a reality!

As the European Winter broke, participants arrived from across the world into the French Capital to attend this year’s Youth Global Forum. This year the Dolce Chantilly fittingly played host to this year’s event as the essence of France could not have better been captured than at this location in the Paris country-side.

After settling into their new home for the next few days attendees for this year’s forum were treated to the best food, wine and music that Paris had to offer at that evenings welcome reception.

The sounds of Jazz & soul rang out as guests arrived into the banquet hall. This set a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that really helped to ‘break the ice’ amongst guests as they exchanged greetings and pleasantries.

It was here that guests were introduced to their Master of Ceremonies for the 2018 Youth Global Forum & 2018 Youth Time International Ambassador, Mr Mohammed Shaheed Khan.

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2018 Youth Time International Ambassador, Mr Mohammed Shaheed Kha
 

He briefly told of his wonderful memories from pervious forums and previewed what was to come in the following days. Words were kept brief as a stunning feast awaited guests following Mohammad’s welcoming remarks. A truly great way to kick off the proceedings for the event.

The following morning the official Opening Ceremony took place signifying the start to formal proceedings for this year’s Youth Global Forum. Ms. Julia Kinash, Founder and President of Youth Time International, opened this year’s forum reflecting on the success of previous events and also the success of previous winners of the ‘Youth Time Idea Grant’.

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Julia Kinash – Founder and President of Youth Time International

Her remarks were quickly followed by Mr Jimmy Ganai, CEO of IPMI International School of Business and Youth Time International partner, who had kind words for the work of Youth Time International. The Opening Ceremony was finally concluded by Naveen Chaudhary, Youth Time International Ambassador, whose words served to inspire the participants who had travelled from near and far to take part in this year’s Youth Global Forum.

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Mr Jimmy Ganai

>With the formalities completed it was into the first of two Keynote speeches to be delivered on the first day of the programme. The first Keynote was delivered by Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, Former President of Russian Railways & Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute. Following on from Dr. Yakunin was Robert Rubinstein, Founder of TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investing) Group, who spoke of ‘Attempting to Demystify Impact Investment’.

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Dr. Vladimir Yakunin

On their return from lunch participants were treated to their choice of a number of fantastic workshops covering various aspects of Impact Investment.

Dr Rieki Crins, Founder of the Learning Exchange Foundation and Author of ‘Blacklisted in Bhutan, spoke on ‘Impact Investing in Education: Case Study of a Social Enterprise in an Emerging Market’. Ardo Ryan Dwitano, Finance expert and faculty member of IPMI International School of Business, led a workshop discussing ‘The latest trends in Impact Investment’. The final workshop was led by Mr. Mohammed Shaheed Khan, Senior Islamic Banker and Harvard alumni, who educated participants on ‘New Financial Instruments in Impact Investment’.

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 Dr Rieki Crins

After a short break participants were then treated to a Masterclass from Ekkehard Ernst, Chief Macroeconomist for the International Labour Organization, which was entitled ‘Impact Investing in Combatting Unemployment’. The day’s program was brought to an end by Dr. Waleed Sadek, Co-chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Commission Post 2015, who spoke of ‘The Role of Impact Investing in SDG’s.

The next morning brought one of the world’s foremost experts on Profitable Impact Investing, Anne-Louise Thon Schur, to the stage who presented on the topic of ‘Social Investment: Gaps and Opportunities in Emerging Markets ‘.

After a small break it was time for this year’s Project Presenters to put forth their projects in the hope to win ‘The Youth Time Idea Grant’. The projects would be evaluated by a Jury Panel consisting of Ms. Julia Kinash, President and Co-Founder of Youth Time International Movement; Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, Former President of Russian Railways & Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute; Robert Rubenstein, Founder of TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investing) Group; Dr. Rieki Crins, Founder of the Learning Exchange Foundation and Author of ‘Blacklisted in Bhutan; Dr. Waleed Sadek, Co-chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Commission Post 2015 & finally Mr. Jimmy Ganai, CEO of IPMI International School of Business.

Following each round of presentations, a Q&A session commenced whereby the audience and members of the jury panel were invited to delve into further details for each project. The presentations were followed by a voting process whereby each participant was asked to vote for an overall winner and state the reasons behind their choice. The results of the voting would be announced during the closing and awarding ceremony the following day.

The day concluded with two enlightening workshops led by both Rakesh Bisawas, Chairman of IYSERT ENERGY RESEARCH PVT LTD as well as the founder of International Youth Society of Eco friendly & Renewable Technology & Khalid Garba Mohammed, Executive Member of the International Pharmaceutical Foundation.

On the final day of Youth Global Forum guests were treated to day of cultural excursions; taking in all of the sights and sounds that Paris had to offer. The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe were just some of the many highlights of the day’s adventures.

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Participants of the Youth Global Forum by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

Night time broke and guests were carried away to one of Paris’s hidden gems. The simply stunning Royaumont Abbey provided the backdrop to the Closing Ceremony for this year’s Youth Global Forum.

Closing remarks were made by many of the events distinguished guests, led by Youth Time International Co-Founder and President Ms. Julia Kinash. The previous night the jury panel spent hours dissecting each of the projects presented earlier that day to determine who would be the successful recipients of the awards and prizes on offer.

First to receive his award was Ghanaian born Samuel Afadu who presented his project ‘Light My World’. The Light My World project seeks to provide a clean, safe and affordable source of light to children and students living in Ghana with no access to electricity. Samuel would now receive an Internship to IYSERT ENERGY RESEARCH PVT LTD with all flights and accommodation included.

Next to receive her award was Peru-native Nicole Morveli, whose project WEEDS won her a Scholarship to the IPMI International School of Business.

Jose Molinelli Gonzalez’s project, The Urban Hanging Gardens Initiative (UHGI), was so unique that the jury panel saw fit to create a brand new award for his Initiative. The award saw Jose receive the funding necessary to turn his dream into a reality that is set to benefit many in his home country of Puerto Rico.

The winner of this years coveted ‘Youth Time Idea Grant’ was Shinelle Bayrd, whose project ‘The Wellness Centre’ brought tears to the eyes of many in the room. The Wellness Centre will seek to raise awareness and provide support for persons dealing with mental health illnesses in her home nation of Guyana.

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The winner of the 2018 ‘Youth Time Idea Grant’ – Shinelle Bayrd, with the project ‘The Wellness Centre’

As the guests enjoyed their final moments together and danced the night away to the sounds of live band ‘The Dynamos’ you couldn’t help but reflect on the success of this year’s event.

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Closing Ceremony of 2018 Youth Global Forum in Paris

The 2018 Youth Global Forum saw the most diverse group of experts, honorary guests & participants brought together with over forty nations represented. In 2019 The Youth Global Forum will celebrate its 5 year anniversary and if it can achieve the success that it did in Paris then it will continue to achieve success in aiding in the development and promotion of youth and youth initiatives next year and for many years to come.

 

International movement Youth Time extended applications deadline for the Youth Global Forum 2018 to October 7th! The event will take place in Paris, France from December 2nd -6th and will gather together more than 100 participants, experts and trainers from all over the world with the aim of discussing ideas and solutions to some of the most prevalent youth issues. The topic of the annual event is Worldwide Impact Investment: the Role of Entrepreneurs”. Participation is partially funded. 

Main criteria

  • Young people 20-35 from around the world;
  • Master’s/PhD students, social entrepreneurs, young professionals, persons working at/with startup incubators and/or accelerators;
  • Fluent in English (reading, writing, speaking).

You can either apply as a project presenter or a basic participant. 

As a basic participant you can expect to:

  •  Participate in educational and interactive talks and become inspired through workshops conducted by esteemed honorable guests.
  • Gain valuable new skills, knowledge and experiences that will serve as a solid foundation for your future entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Have a fruitful working and learning experience in the beautiful city of Paris.
  • Have a unique opportunity to meet with 100+ likeminded people from across the globe.
  • Network with renowned professionals in the fields of business, entrepreneurship, finance, science and technology.
  • Take part in a fantastic cultural exchange program which includes trips to see some of Paris’s’ most iconic attractions.
  • The program, food, and twin room shared accommodation are partially covered by Youth Time International Movement. Please take into consideration that travel costs are at your own expense.
  • Join each other in celebration at our welcome and closing dinners and attend the projects awarding ceremony.

As a basic participant you are expected to:

  • Inspire and evaluate all projects that are presented to you during the event and vote for a winner.
  • After invitation pay a participation fee of 300€ (foreign participants) or 150€ (local participants) or 1000€ (non-subsidiary). Only after payment is your participation guaranteed. See below for more information on participation options.
  • Take part in all components of the program and practice punctuality.
  • Follow Youth Time’s Code of Conduct (see below).

As a project presenter you can expect to:

  • Have the opportunity to present your project with the chance of being awarded a grant to realize your idea.
  • Work on your project proposal with the supervision of an expert (in setting up business initiatives) before the event.
  • Participate in educational and interactive talks and become inspired through workshops conducted by esteemed honorable guests.
  • Gain valuable new skills, knowledge and experiences that will serve as a solid foundation for your future entrepreneurial endeavors.
  • Have a fruitful working and learning experience in the beautiful city of Paris.
  • Have a unique opportunity to meet with 100+ likeminded people from across the globe.
  • Network with renowned professionals in the fields of business, entrepreneurship, finance, science and technology.
  • Take part in a fantastic cultural exchange program which includes trips to see some of Paris’s most iconic attractions.
  • The program, food, and twin room shared accommodation are covered by Youth Time International Movement. Please take into consideration that travel costs are at your own expense.
  • Join each other in celebration at our welcome and closing dinners and attend the projects awarding ceremony.

As project presenter you are expected to:

  • After invitation pay a project presenter participation fee of 200€ (foreign participants) or 150€ (local participants) or 1000€ (non-subsidiary). Please note that only after payment will we take your project into consideration.
  • Hand in your project proposal before Youth Time’s set deadlines.
  • Present project in front of all participants, experts and journalists at the event.
  • Gather 30% of the total required project budget yourself.
  • Take part in all components of the program and practice punctuality.
  • Follow Youth Time’s Code of Conduct (see below).

Information about participation fees

The complete program is covered by Youth Time International Movement, but please take into consideration that travel costs come at your own expense. Hotel accommodation is partially sponsored by Youth Time International Movement. Participation fees will go toward the budget which will support the grant awarded to the 1st place project winner. Below you will find more details on the participation fees.


Subsidiary Basic Participation
 

  • Registration fee excludingaccommodation (only available for residents of Paris): 150€ (Includes attendance of opening and closing/award ceremonies, gala dinner, tea breaks and meals, cultural activities, educational program, participants kit).
  • Registration fee includingtwin room shared accommodation: 300€ (Includes attendance of opening and closing/award ceremonies, gala dinner, tea breaks and meals, cultural activities, educational program, participants kit).
  • Payment details will be provided to the selected participants in the official invitation.
  • Only after payment will your participation be guaranteed. 

Subsidiary Project Presenter Participation 

  • Registration fee excludingaccommodation (only available for residents of Paris): 150€ (Includes attendance of opening and closing/award ceremonies, gala dinner, tea breaks and meals, cultural activities, educational program, participants kit, presentation of the project during event).
  • Registration fee includingtwin room shared accommodation: 200€ (Includes attendance of opening and closing/award ceremonies, gala dinner, tea breaks and meals, cultural activities, educational program, participants kit, presentation of project during event)
  • Payment details will be provided to the selected participants upon acceptance of the project proposal and will be sent in the official invitation.
  • Only after payment will your participation and opportunity to present your project be guaranteed.

Non-subsidiary Participation 

As an NGO we will be glad to receive any kind of sponsorship. If you wish to support Youth Time International Movement, you can choose the non-subsidiary option which covers 100% costs of participation. Registration fee is 1000€ which will include: accommodation in a single room, attendance of opening and closing/awarding ceremonies, gala dinner, tea breaks and meals, cultural activities, educational program, participants kit, presentation of project during event (in cases where you are a project presenter). 

Participants Code of Conduct

  • Respect the culture and tradition of the hosting nation and organization. Avoid insulting people by bringing up sensitive topics and refrain from political statements for the harmony of the event.
  • Refrain from showing discord and causing disorder based on religious, sexual or national identity, political point of views, or social status differences.
  • Participate in ALL activities organized during the event, except for the parts that are marked as optional. The program of the event is designed is such a way that you will have free time for relaxing, shopping, sightseeing etc. We’re kindly asking participants to maintain a working frame of mind.
  • Maintain a proactive attitude as well as punctuality. This especially in regard to all transfers. Departure times are fixed and will not be altered for individual preferences. Organizers are not responsible for any other transport arrangements as well as any costs involved.
  • Dress code is casual/smart casual and cocktail dress/smart suit for opening and closing/award ceremonies and gala dinner. No short trousers and flip-flops are allowed while working at the event.

Participants that do not follow the code of conduct, will be immediately removed from the event and will be hold accountable for 100% of the costs made by the organizers. 

In order to apply for 2018 Youth Global Forum you must: 

  1. Be aged between 20-35
  2. Be able to communicate in fluent English (reading, writing, speaking)
  3. Be either a Master’s/PhD student, social entrepreneur, young professional, or person working at/with startup incubators and/or accelerators;
  4. Fill out the Youth Global Forum Participant Application form.
  5. Submit your up-to-date CV
  6. Make a one-minute video answering the following questions: 
  • What is your motivation for applying for the Youth Global Forum?
  • What do you understand by the term “impact investment”?
  • How do you plan to use the knowledge and skills gained during the Youth Global Forum?

For more specific information, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Find out more about the event.

From July 15th – 20th, Youth Time International Movement in collaboration with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation hosted its eighth Youth International Summer School. This was to be the third event of its kind held in China. While the previous two had taken place in the capital, Beijing, the destination of choice this time around was one of the world’s most populated city and technologically advanced hub of Shanghai. As has become customary at Youth Time events, participants and experts from different countries, cultures and backgrounds travelled from all over the world to attend. A rich variety of keynotes, masterclasses, case studies and workshops took place, all centered on the event theme, “The Smart Revolution: the Interconnection between City and Society.”

The evening of Sunday 15th July marked the opening of the Youth International Summer School. Following official registration for the event and enjoying a jovial ice-breaking games session facilitated by Youth Time Ambassadors, participants who had journeyed from all corners of the globe sported traditional clothing as they joined together at the official welcome reception. As participants fragmented into smaller groups, they gathered around the Lazy Suzans and feasted upon local cuisine whilst enjoying a range of musical performances.

 

Julia Kinash

On the following morning, the formal activities commenced. The day was entitled, “Smart Society Day” and began with the official opening ceremony, moderated by Ms. Yin Lee and Youth Time Ambassador, Mr. Mohammad Shaheed Khan. The ceremony included a number of speeches including those made by the leaders of both organizing partners, Ms. Julia Kinash , President of Youth Time International Movement and Mr. Hang Yuanxiang, Executive Deputy Chairman of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation. During her opening speech, Ms. Julia Kinash chose to take the opportunity to define the purpose of the event by stating, “While the Summer School aims to provide participants with new information and ideas related to areas including smart infrastructure, transport and technology, it has also been strategically composed to encourage them to consider the importance of a smart society.” She continued by posing the question to all attendees, “Increased urbanization requires many technological innovations, but what about social innovations?” Her message was that for a city to be considered truly smart, it must begin with the evolution of its citizens.

 

Dr. Vladimir Yakunin

After an inspiring start, the working component of the program began with Dr. Vladimir Yakunin’s interactive masterclass on the topic, “The Evolution of Education in the Time of Smart Development”. Participants discussed the different types of learning techniques in the present day whilst also considering the importance of understanding people from different cultures in order to find solutions to the global challenges that face humanity.

 

Chen Zongnian

Dr. Yakunin’s session was followed up by local expert Mr. Chen Zongnian who presented on the topic, “Innovation: Theme of the Times for Global Youth”. During his presentation, he discussed the importance of creativity as a characteristic for young people during the technological revolution.

 

Cheng Weidong

In the afternoon, the first round of workshops took place. Youth Time expert and long-term friend of the organization Mr. Sven Anger presented on his topic, “The Ecology of Smart Leadership” whilst local expert, Mr. Cheng Weidong went into greater detail on the smart society topic with his workshop on, “Diversity and a Community of Shared Future for Mankind”.

 

Hrishabh Sandilya

With participants feeling a little fatigued from a combination of jetlag, a long day’s work and the oppressive Shanghai summer heat, the day was capped off with an energizing game conducted by Dr. Hrishabh Sandilya. The interactive session was designed to encourage participants to consider and discuss which values are necessary for a successful smart society.

The game on smart values seemingly gave the participants a much needed energy boost, as that evening they headed out into downtown Shanghai to explore a little more of the Chinese culture.

 

Dr. Oualid Al

The following day’s programme was focused on smart business and technology. A combination of interactive masterclasses and workshops took place which included trending topics such as smart energy, demystifying blockchain technology, and the role of big data and IoT in smart cities. The final part of the working programme took place in the form of a case study, whereby Youth Time expert, Dr. Oualid Ali presented on the topic, “Utilizing Innovation Labs, Startup Incubators and Accelerators for Entrepreneurial Success.”

 

Mohammad Shaheed Khan

The day’s events were concluded with yet another cultural excursion; This time to the theatre to observe an acrobatic show. Already serving as moderator, expert, and Youth Time ambassador at the Youth International Summer School, Mr. Mohammad Shaheed Khan had already established himself as a seasoned “Jack-of-all-trades”, but it was his contribution during the acrobatic show that impressed more than any other. During the spectacle, a knife-throwing routine took place with a member of the audience later asked to volunteer as the assistant who would be put in the line of fire. Mr. Khan wasted no time in putting himself forward and raced toward the stage quicker than a greyhound. True to form, he had the audience rolling with laughter during the performance and completely stole the show!

The final day of the working programme centered on the infrastructure that makes up smart cities. Topics of the masterclasses and workshops included climate smart agriculture and urban farming, smart transportation and autonomous vehicles, intellectual design, and smart cities vs smart villages to name a few.

 

Julia Kinash 02

As the formal part of the International Summer School drew toward a close, the day was completed with a concluding session. Both local and international participants conducted speeches expressing their thoughts about lessons learned during the event before Ms. Julia Kinash, President of Youth Time International Movement and Madame Song Jian, Deputy Director of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation Department of International Cooperation and Exchange made their concluding remarks. Further, each expert was also awarded gifts as tokens of appreciation from both organizing parties during the ceremony.

 

Madame Song Jian

On the final day of the programme, participants rose early and jumped on busses headed for the International Peace Maternity & Child Health Hospital of China Welfare Institute where they gained insight as to the general running of a smart hospital. They then headed for lunch at the Sea Palace Floating restaurant before venturing on to the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone. Here, they would learn more about the efforts being made to develop an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, emerging industries, talented people from around the world, and reform policies.

 

Dinner

Finally, the event was capped-off in style as all attendees joined together for the official gala dinner which took place on a spectacular river cruiser on the Huangpu River. The event began with leaders from the partnering organizations expressing their thanks to one another and all that had helped make the event possible. The group would then dine in style in front of a live jazz band as the boat made its way along the river with Shanghai’s standout landmark, the Bund lighting up the night sky.

The International Summer School in Shanghai set out to inspire and educate young people from all over the world about the importance of smart cities and societies during the time of increased urbanization whilst also creating and environment for them to establish new friends and partnerships. In their mission, Youth Time International Movement and the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation duly delivered and it is now up to the participants to take up their civil responsibility of initiating positive change within their communities.

 

What does IT offer today’s urban citizens? A group of experts from around the world discussed this simple and at the same time very broadly focused question on Day Three of the Youth International Summer School, which is being held from the 15th to the 20th of July in the city of Shanghai. Read on to find out how Smart Technology is being implemented in modern urban areas and learn about the innovations that we can expect in the near future.

Discussion about perhaps the most debated and widely-followed topic related to Smart Revolution – Smart Cities and began with a master-class led by Ni Linda, founder of Mai Tan Consulting Limited. She has worked in the Chinese transportation industry for over 15 years and has witnessed the rise of smart technology in one of the most developed local industries. According to Ms. Ni, during the past 20 years Chinese high-speed rail and the urban environment have developed quickly, in many respects putting improvements in place that some countries will need the next 100 years to do. In 1995, only Beijing, Shanghai, and Tanjin had traditional subways.  Today, urban railway transit in China comprises 6 railway systems: metros, automatic people movers, trains, mono rails, maglevs and suspended monorails.  


Ni Linda

Also, during last four years, advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and face recognition, now in use in the Chinese railway system, make the Chinese rail network one of the most innovative railways in the world. "Nowadays China's railway systems have their own standards, and our key technologies are based on domestic research and production», stated Ms. Ni. 

To conclude, Ms. Ni asserted that local railway system plans for the next few years are quite ambitious – including a driverless train operation and a super speed train projected to achieve a maximum speed over 1000km/ h. 

George Molokal, CEO of ALCOR Fund, continued the topic with some general rules about transforming cities into smart cities. Molokal brought up the example of Singapore and derived from the Singapore experience essential benchmarks for making a city truly smart:

Policy Framework and National government participation: what is the main sector in which the government plans to concentrate its efforts? The Singapore government started developing its framework plan in the year 2000. It defied the challenges it had to contend with, including the local weather conditions, and transformed Singapore into one of the smartest cities in the world.


George Molokal

Technology, systems and sensors integration: Singapore has integrated adaptable Technology and IOT (Internet of Things) to respond to urgent problems in education, telecommunications, and transportation. Social media and E-services are among the most integrated tech systems in Singapore, with the G-Cloud government cloud and Cube now in place as government-based platforms where local governments and local officers can share potential social issues and discuss their plausibility. On the other hand, the OBLS, which is business-oriented, was designed to make the investment process smoother and more efficient. 

Community participation: Data.sov.gov as well as the Oneinbox E-services enable citizens to receive the most up-to-date information from the local government and authorities. In consideration of all that has been mentioned, "the social benefits of living in Singapore are ranked number one in the world," says Mr.Molakal. 

According to Molokal, many cities in the world are implementing the Singapore model and adapting it to local conditions, including Chicago and San Francisco (USA), Seoul (South Korea), New Delhi (India) and Santander (Spain). "It is not replication. It is looking at the model and adapting it to each city. Each city is unique, education, structure, demographics of the population are unique. So local entrepreneurs have to consider those factors. But the core principals are the same", - explained Molokal. 


Mark Bradbury

Mark Bradbury, managing director of Vertical Thinking, raised the specific topic of smart agriculture, which can be integrated into an urban environment. He began by stating that "Smart is about looking backwards as much as it is about looking forwards". So he proposed thinking about smart technology in agriculture beginning with the very root question "Where does our food come from, and why do we eat it?"  He claimed that people do not eat to get nutrients any more, people are eating more than they need to without getting nutrients. "We are a growing population that relies on other countries, so to get food modern cities need to start cultivating their own food", he said. Mr. Bradbury mentioned the "Growing underground" project that is currently being implemented in London, UK. City bunkers that had not been used since the end of the Second World War have been converted into plants 33 meters underground.  With special lights and constant temperatures, vegetables grow there the whole year and ripen in 14 days instead of the 3 months required in a normal, above-ground environment. Bradbury emphasized that the food is not exposed to any random weather changes, which is quite an issue for the UK. "It is relatively simple technology, but it is the way it's been combined. A lot of innovation is taking stuff that is already here, but in different ways or in different combinations, and that's what we have done. We found a place which was unused and cheap, which was warm, then used a technology to make the plants", - emphasized Bradbury.  

With the Smart Cities topic, the study program of the Summer School in Shanghai is concluded. Stay with us to keep up with the latest updates from other Youth Time events. 

We would like to thank Hayet Bourki for her assistance in preparing this blog. 

From Institutions to Technology

Could governments be replaced by governance the same way that currency could be replaced by crypto? Are we already on the way from insitutions to technology? How might those changes benefit businessand what should be considered as a potential threat? These are the questions that were discussed on Day Two of the Youth International Summer School that is being held from the 15th to the 20th of July in the city of Shanghai. Read on to find out how Smart Technology integratewith business today.

 

Li Guoneng, professor of Science and Technology atZhejiang Univeristy, opened our consideration of this topic with apresentation on Smart EnergyHe pointed out that the interconnection of business and technology has already brought significant results in the development of both the commercial and the public sectors in China. “Basically, developments in software allow us to connect many things together, collecting data and making more effective decisions based on the complex analysis of those data. For example, we have had a big issue with traffic management in Chinese megacities. Today we have automated and synchronized traffic lights based on the Internet of Things, and traffic conditions are becoming much better, people can feel it”, explained Mr. Li.


Li Guoneng

The expert sees the increasing efficiency of solar power generation as one of the most important fields for future investment and development. Mr. Li is convinced that there are tools available now for research and further implementation of smart technologies in solar energy. “The main source of our energy is the sun, if we learn to use it effectively, then the energy problem can be solved. I think that within five years, it can be solved”, he concluded.

After wide-ranging discussion, the program at the Summer School continued with broader Blockchain Technology. Mohammad Shaheed Khan, a board member at the Harvard Business School Club, emphasized that there are a lot of myths surrounding blockchain. Some think that blockchain is an equivalent of bitcoin, others that this technology can be used by financial people only. His main aim was to demystify those myths by telling participants how blockchain can be used as a service and embraced by governments and companies. To illustrate the difference between, for example, traditional and smart financial systems, Mr. Khan pointed out that it takes four hours to go from Dubai to Oman by car, and it takes at least two days to transfer money from Dubai to Oman using a traditional bank transaction. “In blockchain you remove the need for intermediaries and trust in one another and have it as a source of truth. The technology is hack proof, cyber proof and much faster than any of the alternatives. Of course there is permissioned and permissionless blockchain. For crypto transactions, moving money from one party to another is decentralized, so bitcoin doesn’t need an entity to control it. But for record keeping you still need a master record keeper like a government or a company that says yes, the transaction actually happened”, explained the expert. 


Mohammad Shaheed Khan

According to Mr. Khan, blockchain is not a revolutionary technology, but a foundational technology upon which things are going to be built. It is not, however, an overnight sensation that is going to change things immediately. But quite soon, big differences in terms of efficiency, costs, ease of doing business, and so forth will be seen. “For example, in Dubai local governments are giving themselves a target date of 2020 when the entire government will be entirely on blockchain. Identity can go through blockchain, as well as vehicle records, records of land registration, supply chain management, and the medical sphere”, said the expert. 

In the next session,the issue of Smart Revolution was raised to the level of a theoretical framework by Rob van Kranenburg, founder of the Internet of Things Council. He started his master-class on The Role of Big Data and IoT in Smart Cities with a reference to Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci, who back in the ‘30s of the last century forumlated the theory of cultural hegemony, according to which one needs to have cultural institutions in order to have political hegemony. Nowadays, thinks van Kranenburg, this logic has shifted towards technology. «It is not anymore about culture,  but about technology. Technological agency is what you need to maintain power. This shift is not only positive, there is also some loss there», he stated. 


Rob van Kranenburg

The shift is related to software mainly.  According to van Kranenburg, it is what people somehow lose control over. He stressed that in most places across the globe,just a few big corporations and governments are making decisions based on this process, but the publicmust struggle for its right to be involved.  «And this is exactly the moment when humans feel that they are losing full control over the environment. Because this is no longer mechanical (you see what you get, you get what you see), there is some kind of intelligence that may run in the systems, and we can't really control it or can't really know what it is. Before our systems go semi-autonomous or autonomous, this has to be negotiated with a lot of stakeholders. We have to have a clear understanding that this is the moment when humans may have to share decision-making with machines», explained van Kranenburg. 

As to future developments,according to van Kranenburg there are three possible scenarios: 

  • 500 gatedcommunities, smart cities,and mad max inbetween
  • Internet of neighborhoods, where people use all the open source technologies and all progressive things that are going on in the world, like sharing food, sharing cars, sharing energy
  • Model of pragmatic cybernetics

«In China, for example, the government as engineers have basically turned politics into  engineering and architecturing of the systems, clouds and platforms and have created a kind of intranet in which all the data stay within this intranet and the value of that data is enhanced, enriched within clouds and platforms that are in Chinese hands and then pay back to people where people pay taxes», that is how the expert explained the third option.

According to van Kranenburg, this third option is what should be technologically implemented in Europe. «Basically we want to create a 5 million zone in which data of 5 million European citizens are being hosted in our own clouds, our own platforms and are not only in thehands of big corporations such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple as they are now. This is a very dangerous situation in which zones lose agency and they need to get this agency back. In Europe we are in a position where we need to find ways to get that agency back», concluded the founder of the Internet of Things Council. 

The last session of the Summer School’s second day broughtparticipants back to smart technologies in business. A case study on Utilizing Innovation Labs, Startup Incubators and Accelerators for Entrepreneurial Successwas moderated by Dr. Oualid Ali, Founder and president of the Future Cities Council. He started his session with the claim that humanity today is living in the fourth industrial revolution, which is shaped by technology. As futuristic as this seems, there are many challenges to deal with. According to Dr.Oualid, by the year 2050, 75% of the world’s population will be living in cities – “the 21st century is the century of cities”, he asserts. Some of the challenges that we will have to deal with in the future are very basic: energy consumption will increase, meaning that there will be more CO2 in the air that will lead to serious health problems, and robots will have a monopoly on most of the jobs. Yet if there’s one thing that robots cannot do, that would be innovation. “Robots cannot innovate”, says Dr. Oualid Ali. 


Dr. Oualid Ali

From this point of view, individuals who wish to be successful in this age will have to be technically innovative, will have to come up with tech solutions to problems and will have to build tech startups like Airbnb or Uber. «Most successful startups are now built on technology», claims Ali. 

He admitted that there is currently a big gap between opportunities in cities and villages, as most of the eco systems of startups, incubators, and accelerators are based in big cities. However,he pointed out that lately a few virtual accelerators have emerged, so entrepreneurs basically can be based wherever they like. «You can just go online and get all the supportyou need. They get you connected to venture capital online. So I think, this a virtual accelerationandincubation startup ecosystem which is online and which will establisha lot of equality between villages and cities, and will reduce this gap», he concluded.

The program of the Summer School in Shanghai will continue over the next day with a deeper analysis of the Smart Cities narrative. Stay with us to keep up with the latest updates from one of Youth Time's major events of the year.

 

We would like to thank Hayet Bourki for her assistance in preparing this blog. 

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