G200 Youth Forum 2015 Opening Ceremony

April 30, 2015

G200 Youth Forum 2015 

Official Opening Ceremony

The G200 Youth Forum 2015, the tenth annual such event organized by the Swiss-based G200 Association, began today in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany and will continue to May 3. Over 500 young leaders; members of parliaments and young parliamentarians; students and academics; and representatives of the business world, governments, and international organizations are participating. These individuals have gathered to present their unique points of view on the ways to resolve the most pressing economic and social problems of the times with the ultimate goal of contributing to the development of their communities, countries, and the world. 

The first-day activities began with the Official Opening Ceremony at the Congress Center. Participants filed into the room this morning, seated at row tables before a stage on which state flags stood, while the music matched the mood of the room: excitement. Ms. Ksenia Khoruzhnikova, Founder and President of the G200 Association, opened the Forum. In her opening remarks, Ms. Khoruzhnikova congratulated the participants, who praised the students on their defining qualities of leadership, talent, and enthusiasm that she feels are vital to a successful forum. She noted that these characteristics of the participants, their eager interest in peaceful communication and cooperation, and their endeavor to develop cooperative projects has throughout the decade turned the Forum into a truly global event with delegates from around 200 countries attending it. 

Demonstrating to the crowd how, even in a globalized world, we still often remain unconnected, she entreated them, “I encourage all of you, please do not miss this chance to see a new world, to interact with unknown cultures, and expand your horizons.” Ms. Khoruzhnikova also expressed confidence in the participants’ capacity to bring concrete ideas and projects on which they would elaborate during the Forum to their own countries in order to implement them in their homelands.  She hoped this would channel their knowledge, experience, and focus to make lives and communities happier and our world a better place to live. 

Following Ms. Khoruzhnikova, Mr. Wolfgang Bauer, Deputy Mayor of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, greeted participants and welcomed them to the city. The focus of this year’s forum is “Perceiving Happiness” and the Plenary Session featured an impressive panel of five individuals from industry, academia, and international think tanks.  The first panelist, Med Jones, President at the International Institute of Management, Las Vegas, USA began with an anecdote from India that produced laughter from the crowd, Mr. Jones’s presentation “Initial Findings from a 10-year study on Gross National Wellness, Public Policy and the Top 10 Causes of Happiness & Unhappiness” challenged the concept of measuring by GDP, explaining its shortfalls and setting the tone for later presentations as well.  His study revealed some surprising theories, including a new ranking that replaced the expected top ten lists with primarily small states.

Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Assistant Professor of Political Economy and Behavioral Science at University College London, Visiting Professor of Economics and Political Science at INSEAD, and Senior Research Fellow at Centre for Economic Performance (LSE), presented “The Economics of Human Well-Being”, and explained that we need to rethink our measures of success and progress. Using graphical representations of all world economies, Dr. De Neve pointed out that the economist who created the measure of GDP considered it an imperfect measure of the human factor.  A high point of his speech was his enumeration of the benefits of happiness, highlighting why time should be invested in constructing a new, more precise science to measure this concept.

Representing Jacobs University, Prof. Dr. Song Yan, Professor of Psychology, Psychology & Methods, and Focus Area Diversity; Dr. Klaus Boehnke, Professor of Social Science Methodology and Vice Dean at Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS); and Prof. Dr. Klaus Schömann, Adjunct Professor of Sociology, joined the panelists to present three quite different approaches to this topic.

“Perceiving Happiness across Cultures”, as presented by Prof. Dr. Yan, shone light on the cultural factors that play into the very definition of “happiness”, stemming from its origins in many cultures - the ideas of luck and fortune - to its evolution as an ideal to be pursued.  Prof. Dr. Yan used examples from America and East Asia to illustrate the many differences that exist between perceptions.

Dr. Boehnke’s “Societal Cohesion: The Pathway to Global Happiness?” questioned how we form modern societies.  With a measure of humor, he focused on what pulls a society together and what pulls a society apart.  Dr. Boehnke went on to explain how it is possible to predict and measure this social cohesion and how it influences each society’s sense of identity and, subsequently, happiness.

Closing the presentations, in “Happiness: Interaction of Biology, Psychology, and Social Context”, panelist Prof. Dr. Schömann explained the methods to subdivide happiness.  With a focus on the Scottish Englightenment, Prof. Dr. Schömann began with a quote from Adam Smith, moving from economics to politics and pointing out that in fact happiness is a stated goal of many national constitutions.

In a Q&A section at the end of the closing ceremony, participants had the opportunity to share their own thoughts on the Plenary Sessions.  Questions and comments centered on other factors that may contribute to happiness and undoubtedly demonstrate the sorts of discussions that will continue across the four platforms this week.

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Photo Album

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G200 Youth Forum Press Office
G200 Youth Forum 2015 Official Opening Ceremony, Ms. Ksenia Khoruzhnikova, G200 Association Founder and President
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
G200 Youth Forum 2015 Official Opening Ceremony, Ms. Ksenia Khoruzhnikova, G200 Association Founder and President
G200 Youth Forum 2015 Official Opening Ceremony, Ms. Ksenia Khoruzhnikova, G200 Association Founder and President
G200 Youth Forum 2015 Official Opening Ceremony, Mr. Wolfgang Bauer, Deputy Mayor of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Welcomes Participants
G200 Youth Forum 2015 Official Opening Ceremony
G200 Youth Forum 2015 Official Opening Ceremony, Plenary Session Perceiving Happiness
Plenary Session Perceiving Happiness, Dr. Yan-Emmanuel De Neve, University College London, presenting The Economics of Human Well-Being
Plenary Session Perceiving Happiness, Dr. Song Yan, Jacobs University, presenting Perceiving Happiness across Cultures
Plenary Session Perceiving Happiness, Dr. Klaus Boehnke, Jacobs University, presenting Societal Cohesion: The Pathway to Global Happiness?
Plenary Session Perceiving Happiness, Dr. Klaus Schoemann, Jacobs University, presenting Happiness: Interaction of Biology, Psychology and Social Context
Plenary Session Perceiving Happiness, Q & A Section
Plenary Session Perceiving Happiness, Q & A Section
Plenary Session Perceiving Happiness, Q & A Section
G200 Youth Forum 2015 Official Opening Ceremony, Group Photo

Video

 

Testimonials

Bongiwe Pricilla Mbinqo-Gigaba
Member of Parliament, South Africa
Bongiwe Pricilla Mbinqo-Gigaba

It’s a great opportunity for young parliamentarians all over the world to meet and share views of how to deal with issues in different places.

As a participant of G20 Youth Forum I’ve got information from others, what views, what people are doing, how best can we practice in our places and how we can improve our society.

It was a good experience and I think for next Forums it will be better to get more countries to share their ideas together.

Jenny Mikakos
Member of Parliament, Australia
Jenny Mikakos

I think the main purpose of the G20 Youth Forum is to bring together students, academics and young parliamentarians around the world to share ideas as to how we can make a better world. It is very important to have an understanding of the views of each social group fora successful policy.

It has been a very successful Forum. I wish to congratulate the organizers. I thought it was very interesting to be able to learn more from my colleagues at the International Young Parliamentarians’ Debate about the respective nations and native societies. We have decided many important questions and we will try to implement them in our countries.

Liv Holm Andersen
Member of Parliament, Denmark
Liv Holm Andersen

I expected to come here, to share a lot of ideas with representatives from parliaments and also from academic institutions. First of all I met some incredible people and second of all most importantly I got a lot of inspiration on my field which is social issues.

In our section we have very interesting papers and point of views. The greatest thing is to notice how really different systems and societies we representing. And at the same time we can agree on so many goals and aims for this world and for our countries to work on together. And that is very incredible, great.

I hope that Denmark will make really priority and send more not only MP but also representatives from local parliaments and more Universities because I think it’s a great opportunity to our young parliamentarians, youth and students to be inspired and to inspire others.

Maria Magdalena Matthys
Member of Parliament, South Africa
Maria Magdalena Matthys

I think it’s a very good cause for young people. In my vision the purpose of G20 Youth Forum is to encourage young people to learn and educate themselves, to unit them. I also think that it’s good opportunity for academics to come and share their experience. And also for young parliamentarians to be an example for the countries, they can encourage more youth, young people to participate in this program.

I talked about professionalism of women in South Africa and I’ve learnt a lot from other countries about agenda issues.

Alvin Botes
Member of the Executive Council, South Africa
Alvin Botes

One of the objective things of G20 Youth Forum is to insure a comprehension of network, to exchange intellectual and societal ideas among current youth leaders, formal youth leaders and those working on the youth agenda across the world.

One of my colleagues on the International Young Parliamentarians’ Debate presented me kangaroo – I’m from South Africa, I was in Russia and received an Australian kangaroo. It’s the exchange of ideas and network. So this little kangaroo symbolizes this.

It’s a good platform for intellectual debate and it should be held annually.

Bing Ren
Professor, Nankai University, China
Bing Ren

According to my understanding, G8 and G20 originally focused on the finances and economic issues. But through out of the years and particularly my personal participation this time I think the issue animation becomes broader than that. It is not only economy and finance, but social issues, environmental issues and arts, history. Very different areas comes together to discuss and make dialogue together.

I hope to involve myself in different kinds of platforms – I can speak out my opinion and suggestions – that makes my exchange here more meaningful.
I work in education, I pay attention to educating young people – so I find a lot of common problems around the world. That makes me inspired with the idea that we should participate in these meetings and thanks to G8 and G20 Alumni Association for inviting me hear.

And the other impressive thing is: I think G20 Youth Forum have made great efforts in organizing many people together and try to collect the ideas and also to make this activities more interesting and alive. That is also good impression for me.

Shinya Hanaoka
Associate Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Shinya Hanaoka

When I go back to Japan I would like to inform about G20 Youth Forum other faculty members, also international division of our University. Then I will recommend some students from our faculty to join this Forum over the next two years.

Xinghua Liu
Assistant Professor, Nankai University, China
Xinghua Liu

This is very famous, impressive and huge youth forum, and also well organized. My first impression was that we can meet with different people from other countries. There are different cultures, different national dresses – for me it is good experience to meet new people from all over the world.

G20 Youth Forum is very good instrument for public all over the world in different countries to learn about G20, especially for the young leaders and youth elites in different countries. I think it will play very important role in the media, in the mobilization, press mobilization in different countries.

Hai Tao Huang
Lecturer of Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, China
Hai Tao Huang

Firstly, it’s very precious experience for me. I can meet people all around the world more than 60 countries. It’s very good opportunity to speak with them and to exchange ideas. And, secondly, communications is not enough – we can understand each other and then we can understand ideas of the whole world; especially I’m very happy to see that the future young leaders they gather together. This may be a good guarantee for the development of the world. They have fresh ideas – and this is very important.

Marçal Avelino Salazar Marques Mendes
Jurist, University of Minho, Portugal
Marçal Avelino Salazar Marques Mendes

The purpose of the Forum is very well constructed. I think it makes us like a prototype of government. It develops a capacity of communicating with people and with some ministers and with the government itself. It’s important for participants that they go home and make there some kind of experiments and be reasonable and capable to understand the solution to each country and for the whole world.

Connell Wise
Founder, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive, United States Youth Chamber of Commerce, USA
Connell Wise

In my understanding of the main purpose of G20 Youth Forum it is the international cooperation between different countries of the world to basically bring a global understanding how the leaders economic and financial crisis are facing in the world and how to avoid those crisises.

Meaghan Anne Williams
Teaching Assistant, Queen's University, Canada
Meaghan Anne Williams

The networking opportunity is incredible and it’s very encouraging to meet young people from all over the world who are interested to talk in same kinds of issues, answering the same kinds of problems, working together, collaborating. Not just making new friends but hopefully making new peers, colleagues to work in these issues in future.

The conference has been incredible for learning more about what the academic world can do to facilitate change in the real world. Sometimes academia is so theoretical that you lose sight of what is actually going on. But this conference has proved that there are a number of individual academics working to harmonize that view.

Melina Djulancic
J.D. Candidate, University of Manitoba, Canada
Melina Djulancic

It is the nice opportunity to get together with the young people from around the world. For me it’s important that people discussing their ideas. Our group was concentrating on the young entrepreneurships and all important things around this field. Basically entrepreneurship in schools is one of our recommendations and easier access to capital for businesses.

Abraham Johannes Swanepoel
Student, North-West University, South Africa
Abraham Johannes Swanepoel

Thinking that we are the future leaders of tomorrow G20 Youth Forum gives as an opportunity to start to get used to discuss things, used to live in them and exchanging points of view with other people.

I think it is awesome opportunity just to meet other people, get up different points of view from different countries. As I’m from South Africa and we are still developing country to get point of views that is from developed countries. It gives me lot of knowledge that you can take back to your country and try to employ it in your country system.

Aya Fujita
Student, University of Tsukuba, Japan
Aya Fujita

G20 Youth Forum is: A lot of people from international society build a partnership, leadership and friendship.

I got a lot of intellectual involvements, we discussed about health care, child care and women empowerment. Each country has different background and situation; it’s very great to know about what country has the same and which are different.

Fei Yang Qi
MA Student, University of Birmingham, UK
Fei Yang Qi

The main purpose of G20 Youth Forum is young leaders working together and think about how to push the world by the small steps.

I think there are a lot of benefits in participating in G20 Youth Forum, for example team work variety, especially to make others think about your points and change your views in discussions.

Floris Busscher
Student, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Floris Busscher

I think the main purpose at our level – at a Youth Summits and at a Conference, is to bring together young people with ideas, with creativities and with innovations. To bring together, to exchange ideas and maybe together come to enhance ideas to create a synergy between the creativity of young people. Opportunities is to meet always amazing young people which enhance your network in international level and also to be inspired by people from other countries and to increase and enhance your own prospective, how you see things in a multinational way with different cultures and different political system influencing its positions.

The most interesting moment is an Opening Ceremony – lovely discussion between people from all different kinds of fields, from different countries who exchange ideas on education which is of course the kind of thing that applies to all of us. So to see it and try to feel the G20 spirit on the ceremony was the highlight.

Italo Ribeiro Alves
Student, President of the International Business Society, Quinnipiac University, Brazil
Italo Ribeiro Alves

One on my career paths that I have been potentially exploring will be diplomacy. I believe that dialoging with young people from all other the world I can practice my cultural and communicational skills and learn how to debate and understand the social issues.

Lindsay Ann Markle
Student, Purdue University, USA
Lindsay Ann Markle

The purpose of the Forum is to exchange ideas between other countries. It’s such a unique opportunity because everyone here comes with an open mind and it’s really interesting learn about other cultures. It’s really a unique experience – I’m really glad I came here.

I expected to hear different prospectives about government’s role and society and it met my expectations.

Megan Eleri David
Student, Cardiff University, UK
Megan Eleri David

The main purpose of G20 Youth Forum is sort of empowering young people to feel like they can make a change.

I was a moderator on my committee. And I’m very proud of the document which we were working on. I had a team who I’m really excited about. We have three main ideas on our recommendation: one about child care, one about women’s empowerment in work places with an education and one about social security in developing countries.

Stefan Vasilev
Student, Wageningen University, Netherlands
Stefan Vasilev

Definitely the main purpose is to communicate with a lot of people, to exchange ideas with the experts in your field, and also to send a message about our ideas.

Governments always appreciate opinions from young people who are thinking out of the box. I hope they will appreciate our recommendations too.

Victoria Pilbeam
Student, Australian National University
Victoria Pilbeam

I think it’s really great to bring a lot of young people together to talk about important issues. It’s always a good idea. Mostly it's important to meet amazing people who really like to be engaged and are really passionate about different issues.

We looked on the questions: young women’s’ careers and family. We made some pretty concrete recommendations.

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