Indian voices to echo global concerns at youth meet

Mamta Posted: Jul 07, 2009 at 0131 hrs
New Delhi Sanjukta Pangia, a 16-year-old girl from Koraput, Orissa, and Samuel Venkatesana, a 17-year-old boy from Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, will represent India at the Junior 8 Summit, to be held in Rome from July 5 to 12. They will get an opportunity to meet the leaders of the G8 countries and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and also talk about the issues concerning children and climate change. The J8 Summit, now in its fifth year, takes place parallel to the G8 Summit of world leaders.

They were picked through a selection process spread across 15 states and 17 districts of the country. The children are part of a group of 56 young people from all over the world who will work together on youth-oriented solutions for this year’s three main G8 topics — climate change, the global financial crisis and development.

The youth event will be organised at the Instituto Superiore Antincendi in Rome, the central training centre for Italy’s firefighters, who are also Italian Goodwill Ambassadors.

Next week, one of the selected Indian youth delegates will share the recommendations with the G8 leaders, in L’Aquila on July 9.

Likewise, a representative from each of the 14 country teams will have the opportunity to engage with their respective leaders on concerns identified by the J8 Summit.

Talking to the media, before leaving for Rome, they said they had got the chance to participate in this unique platform all because of UNICEF.

Samuel said, “The government has several schemes for SCs and STs, but not for children.” His mother works in Bangalore, while he lives with his uncle. When asked about his future plans, he said he wanted to bring about a change in rural India. The hardships he has faced in life have steeled his resolve to study.

Sanjukta, who belongs to a tribal area in, Orissa says she wants to go in for higher studies and eventually become a district collector. She also wants to work for a pollution-free world. Throughout her life she has had to battle stigma and deprivation.

What is J8?

The Junior 8 Summit, or J8, is an annual forum where young people from around the world meet to share their concerns and recommendations on how to solve global issues with G8 leaders and the world community. The Summit is a parallel youth event to the annual Group of 8 (G8) Summit of world leaders. This year’s J8 Summit will be held in Rome from July 5 to 12, parallel to the G8 meeting in L’Aquila, Italy.

At the J8 Summit, a team of four young people represents each of the G8 countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US. This year they will be joined by teams from Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico and South Africa.