One hundred youth from six continents and 28 countries were brought together by world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, to attend Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit. The first annual event, which took place at Walt Disney World Resort® from April 19-25, mobilized the young leaders to address the critical issues facing the planet. At the Summit’s end, the attendees headed home with a commitment to make positive change happen and the hope that – together – they can make the world a better place.
Participants were hand-picked by Dr. Goodall, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and partner organizations to take part in the all-expenses-paid, first-of-its-kind event. All attendees were outstanding young people with a strong history of community service and demonstrated leadership qualities.
Over the course of the Summit, the young people were able to dialogue with a dynamic panel of experts, share cross-cultural ideas, strengthen their leadership skills and create messages through digital media. Perhaps most unique, they identified key issues and developed self-led workshops and discussions to tackle the topics that concerned them. They decided what they wanted to focus on whether it be species conservation, conflict resolution or some other pressing issue.
Working in small groups, the participants broke down transnational boundaries and gained firsthand knowledge about the cross-cultural collaboration needed to solve the world’s greatest problems. Each of these extraordinary young leaders left the Summit equipped with a ‘toolbox for changing the world’ and individual action plans for protecting the future. In the year following the Summit, the participants will work to implement their plans within their respective communities.
JGI’s core competencies in community-centered conservation and youth education made it particularly well-suited to organize the Summit. Dr. Goodall, who founded JGI in 1977, is inspirational “proof” that one committed individual can make a world of difference. And her message of hope speaks directly to young people. Roots & Shoots, JGI’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program, has a proven track record of engaging young people in service-learning projects that benefit people, animals and the environment. Dr. Goodall began Roots & Shoots in 1991 with just a small group of Tanzanian students. Today, Roots & Shoots involves nearly 100,000 youth in almost 100 countries and it’s growing every day. The strength of the program is its unique methodology that highlights a youth-driven assessment process and identification of actual community needs.
Dr. Goodall, JGI and all the participants expressed their gratitude to the Summit’s partners and corporate sponsors who share their commitment to the leaders of tomorrow. Without the support of Disney, Whirlpool Corporation, Delta Air Lines and the Mobile Learning Institute, the Summit would not have been possible. Working with these and other organizations, JGI hopes the Summit will grow in size and prestige to become the premier annual gathering for young leaders across the globe.
For more information about Jane Goodall’s Global Youth Summit, please visit www.globalyouthsummit.org.