Between December 2nd – 6th, the capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, hosted Youth Time International Movements fifth annual Youth Global Forum. The event saw 112 attendees from 42 countries gather to discuss both Industry 5.0 and Inclusive Development. The four day forum included a variety of workshops, masterclasses and panel discussions from leading global authorities with the event concluding with a projects competition that saw twelve young entrepreneurs showcase their projects in the hope of winning various prizes including Scholarships, Internships and the Youth Time Idea Grant worth up to 10,000 EUR.
Winter greeted more than one hundred attendees to the Youth Global Forum and the Dutch capital of Amsterdam as they arrived to the CASA Hotel to begin what would prove to be both an enlightening and enriching experience week for all.
After ‘breaking the ice’ as part of the forums Ice Breaking Session, attendees were transferred to the Amsterdam Startup Village which provided a unique backdrop for the Youth Global Forums first major event, the Welcome Reception.
Home to some of the nation’s most innovative tech start-ups, the Amsterdam Startup Village saw guests introduced to the first of three hosts of the event; Youth Time International Movement (YTIM) Advisory Board Member Mohammad Shaheed Khan who welcomed guests and shared a few kind words about his time with the organization before handing it over to the sounds of Jazz to play into the night.
“Be the change, the world needs today.”
The next morning, the Opening Ceremony took place to signify the official beginning of the Youth Global Forum. Representatives of the partner organizations for the event spoke of the importance of events such as this with YTIM President and Co-founder, Ms Julia Kinash, who placed an emphasis on establishing new bonds and becoming inspired to ‘’be the change the world needs today’’.
After the formalities had concluded, the first of a special series of short-films were unveiled that looked at previous winners of the Youth Time Idea Grant and how this funding helped them to realize their idea and what impact each project had on their communities. For the first short-film in the series, guests heard from 2012 winner, Rakesh Biswas and his project IYSER Energy.
Following the first of the short-film series, the events Keynote speaker took to the stage to lead the first session of the day. Dr Oualid Ali, Founder and CEO of the Future Platform future-is-here.com, who laid a foundation of the history of the industrial revolutions and gave an insight as to what we can expect in the fifth industrial foundation during his session ‘’Industry 5.0: Where we’ve come from, where we’re headed’’.
Immediately following the keynote, two masterclass sessions took the days program into the afternoon. The first session was led by Professor Liaoyuan Zeng, Associate Professor in the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, who presented on ‘’Artificial Intelligence: Development, Morals and Ethics’’. The second masterclass of the day was presented by long time YTIM event speaker Rob Van Kranenburg, founder of the Internet of Things Council, speaking on the matter of ‘’ioT (Internet of Things) : New ways to connect Business”.
Immediately after returning from lunch, participants were given an option of two exciting and engaging workshops for the afternoon.
The first was a session led by Theodoor Van Der Klaauw, IoT & Industry 4.0 Consultant at IBM, who looked to link Inclusive Development and Technology through a series of games that challenged participants and their problem solving skills in his session ‘’How to leverage IoT and AI to create great places to live in’’.
The second session was led by Ricardo Sanchez Marchand, Pentester, Ethical Hacker and MSC in Cybersecurity for Ernst and Young, who saw to prepare participants for the dangers they face online during his session ‘’Cybersecurity: Identifying threats and how to beat them’’.His session also included a series of live demonstrations, showcasing just how easy to for your social media accounts, email and other private information to be hacked and stolen.
Highlights from the 2nd day
Before the official program began on day two of the Youth Global Forum, the second of a special series of short-films about previous Idea Grant winners was presented. This time, it was 2015 winner from Nepal, Shwekshya Neupane.
The days first session began with a panel discussion which sparked a flurry of questions and curiosity from those in attendance. Featuring on the discussion panel, entitled ‘’Inclusive Development: Balancing Societal Economic and Social Interests’’, were Dr Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute; Dr Waleed Sadek, Co-chair of the Sustainable Development Commission – United Nations and Atif Shafique, Associate Director, Public Services and Communities for the RSA (UK) with session being moderated by former YTIM Project Manager, Rens Saat.
After a small intermission following the more than 2-hour panel discussion, Dr Waleed Sadek returned to the stage to lead his session entitled ‘’Inclusive Development: Driving Sustainability & Economic Growth Together’’.
Returning from lunch, before the next session began, the third film from Idea Grant short-film series was presented which took a look back at 2016 winner and Russian native, Olga Lakhnova.
Following on from this, attendees were treated to another special panel discussion. This time the topic of conversation was Entrepreneurship. Moderated by Florent D’Souza, the entrepreneur’s panel discussion saw two very special guests welcomed to the stage. The first of which was former YTIM Ambassador and Youth Time Idea Grant Winner, Raksh Biswas, who is now the founder and Chairman of IYSERT Energy (India). Completing the panel was the Founder of Globals Inc. and Co-founder of HappyEMI, Suhas Gopinath who, at the time, was recognised as the world’s youngest CEO at the age of just seventeen.
Concluding the days program was a workshop led by Atif Shafique, Associate Director, Public Services and Communities for the RSA (UK) and former lead researcher of the UKs Inclusive Growth Commissio, with the session entitled ‘’Inclusive Development: Examples, Ideas and Trends’’.
Highlights from the 3rd day
The following day began with the final film in the series of short-films about previous Idea Grant winners with 2018 winner, Shinelle Bayrd, showcasing her project ‘The Wellness Centre (Guyana)’’ before returning to the stage to give the audience an update on her project.
Following Shinnelle’s update, it was now time for the 2019 edition of the Projects Competition. Moderator Jonathan Hendrickx began by introducing the Jury Panel members which included Dr. Vladimir Yakunin, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute; Dr. Waleed Sadek, Co-chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Commission, ProfessorAman Wirakartakusumah, Executive Director of IPMI International Business School; Goran Luburic, Head of Marketing at Zagreb School of Business; Mohammad Shaheed Khan, CEO – Neo Digital Bank; Rakesh Biswas, Founder and Director IYSERT Energy; Suhas Gopinath, Founder Globals Inc and Co-founder of HappyEMI; Co-founder and President of Youth Time International Movement (YTIM), Ms Julia Kinash.
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 later that evening.
Later that afternoon, guests were treated to a ‘tour’ of Amsterdam Central as part of the events cultural exchange program. Youth Global Forum partner organization, The City Hunt, led participants through the sights and sounds of Amsterdam through an unconventional but exciting city quest.
The forums final major event was its most spectacular. The official closing and awards ceremony was held at the famous Rode Hoed which was first established more than four-hundred years ago.
Final remarks from some distinguished guests that evening were given including Ernst and Young Corporate Responsibility Consultant, Katarina Sajinovic and Youth Time International Movement President, Ms Julia Kinash.
Following their remarks, the winning projects of the Youth Global Forums Projects Competition were announced.
First to receive their reward was Sherine El-Wattar and her project ‘youththinkgreen (Egypt)’, receiving a scholarship to study at the Zagreb School of Business. Youthinkgreen seeks to ‘‘Educate and empower youth to apply sustainable ecological solutions to tackle most pressing sustainability challenges’’.
Next was Kanatip Sriratanobhas and Zeenat Mahamad and their project ‘Smart Farming Hub’, receiving a scholarship to study at the IPMI International Business School. The Smart Farming Hub looks to provide guidance, training and promotion of farmers in their country of Thailand.
Receiving a fully-funded internship at IYSERT Energy in India was Mahmoud El-Deep and his project the ‘IDE Acadamy’; an Egyptian tech startup which seeks to provide training in the field of Egyptian Engineering and IT.
Before announcing the winner of the Idea Grant, there were three additional prizes announced due to the interest generated from these special projects.
The first of two ‘Investment/Mentorship’ prizes gifted was from Mohammad Shaheed Khan who earmarked Indonesian project ‘Postlr’ (an online merchandising business), presented by Nasreen Anisputri Daud and Sandika Panji Bramantio, for success.
The second of these prizes came from Suhas Gopinath, who wanted to help grow and incubate Anahit Andriasyan’s project SHE(FF), a women empowerment program, based out of Armenia.
The final of these special prizes came from Dr Vladdimir Yakunin, who was so blown away from the progress achieved by 2018 winner, Shinelle Bayrd, that he chose to award her project, The Wellness Centre, with a $5000 grant so that she may continue to positively affect her community with the important mental health services her project provides.
Finally, it was time to announce the winner of this year’s 2019 Youth Time Idea Grant Winner which went to Anza Tshipetane and Nnditsheni Netshimbupfe for their project ‘The Bright Young Leaders Initiative’. Not only did their project receive 10,000 EURO in funding but in addition, they were also awarded with 10 funded internships with the event co-organizer IYSERT Energy in India.
Emotions in the room had reached its peak with attendees in the room overwhelmed with the amount of good and joy felt across the course of this week in Amsterdam. Youth Time International Movement celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Youth Global Forum in style and whilst a great amount of success had been achieved at this event and the previous forums before, the organization hopes that this is merely just the beginning.