This is not a science and technology post – which is a bit odd for a science and technology blog. But I wanted to introduce five people who together shake up the whole idea of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos as being an elitist and increasingly irrelevant gathering of middle aged balding guys in suits – the Davos Teens.
Rather than write a deadly boring post (which this was until a couple of minutes ago), let me dive right in:
The Davos Teens are a small group of teenage (or thereabouts) social entrepreneurs, selected by their fellow Global Changemakers to attend the meeting. The whole Global Changemakers shebang is organized and supported by the British Council, is committed to empowering youth to catalyse positive social change through Learning, Doing, and Advocacy, and includes over 600 young people from 110 countries.
This year’s Davos Teens are:
Anjali Chandrashekar (India) - a two-time national award winning visual artist and activist who has been using her artwork to raise funds and awareness for many national and international organisations
Dan Cullum (New Zealand) - a guy who has a vision to empower youth throughout the world to make a difference through simple act of wearing the same tee-shirt for a year – as well as working with underprivileged Maori and Pacific Island youth in South Auckland.
Mai Shbeta (Israel) – a young woman with Palestinian/Jewish parents, and living in a mixed religion/race village in Israel, who aims to bring Palestinian and Israeli youth together through peace camps.
Raquel Helen Silva (Brazil) – a social activist and community volunteer for the last decade, Raquel is working to improve the lives of girls and young women in Brazil.
Trevor Dougherty (USA) - an online activist since 2007, Trevor is dedicated to transforming the “me” on-line community into the “we” online community, through innovative uses of social media.
You can find out more about each of them here.
This morning, the five talked about their ideas and aspirations with Davos delegates in one of the most stimulating and worthwhile sessions of the conference.
Facilitator Nancy Lubin (CEO of dosomething.org) reminded us “old” people that we weren’t there to mentor these young people, but to work with them as equal partners in exploring new solutions to pressing problems. As a result, I found myself in a room full of energized and engaged business leaders, social/government leaders and entrepreneurs working with the Davos Youth to find new solutions to serious problems. No paternalism or teaching or training – just a partnership between great ideas and seasoned know-how.
The collaboration between everyone in the room was electric, and I guarantee that it led to many people – young and old – leaving with new ideas and new plans.
Here and in numerous other places, these five young people are providing input to the Davos meeting that not only enriches it, but has the power to touch and influence event the most aloof of world leaders gathered here.
In other words, this is a model of partnership between youth and experience that is proving its worth many times over, and is ripe for growth.
Pretty enlighteneding for a gathering of “middle aged balding guys in suits”
The Davos Teens are guest-blogging for the Washington Post this week
Read last year’s blog on Global Changemakers at Davos here.