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Students' Perspectives of the Youth Economic Forum 2020

27 January 2020

Youth for a Better Future

“How can we work together with the Youth (for a better future), when it’s constantly changing?” was one of the questions introduced to us by Keynote speaker Scott M. Weber, President of Interpeace, during the Opening Ceremony of the Youth Forum Switzerland, at the International School of Zug and Zürich. He and Student Keynote speaker Doga Usanmaz, talked about topics and issues that were going to come up throughout the day. One thing that amazed me was hearing him argue for fighting fear with anger; to get angry at all the things that are taken away from us, and use that feeling of unfairness to fight for our freedom. To make it possible for people to fight, we first need to give them the sense, that they can do something against world problems, that they do have the power to change things. 


Following this inspirational Opening Ceremony, were six sessions, one more mind-blowing than the other, but what stood out the most to me was one titled “Navigating Gender Roles.”


Inclusivity and Acceptance

Like all the other sessions, this one lasted for 60 minutes but had three separate speakers. Starting off was Issac Glover, a Senior from ISZL, who explained the difference between inclusivity and “just” diversity by using Marvel as an example. Characters like Ms. Marvel are inclusive since they have a background the audience/readers can relate to, to which the audience can feel included. When new characters, with different skin colors, replaced the so much loved characters, it wasn’t for inclusivity, but “just” for diversity. That means, that the change didn’t occur due to trying to make the characters more relatable to the audience, but just to be able to say that they too, had a diversity of characters in their comics. 


The second speaker, was Fiona Flintham, a driven woman informing us about the gender pay gap. She provided us with data, like “45 percent of the women blame themselves for the gender pay gap, for not arguing/fighting enough”, and that “it is going to take another 257 years for the gender pay gap to end.” We aren’t born thinking that it is ok to treat genders differently, but somewhere along the line, we just start to accept the unfair treatment towards females. Listening to her, I got a better insight on how important the environment you’re in is, for how you will act in your life and that you shouldn’t just accept what is thrown at you, but fight for your rights. Most importantly, it is not the woman's fault, that they are treated unfairly, but the society as a whole, which is what the next generation needs to work on.


Out of the three Keynote speakers of this session, Elly Barnes was the top audience engager. As soon she stepped onto the podium she started including us students by asking questions; giving out stickers to anyone who answered correctly. One of the themes was the difference between the sex and gender of a person. The sex of a person is what they are born as, but the gender is what they identify as. Other themes covered were heteronormativity, cisnormativity, intersectionality, visualising and social justice. The main message of all of them is that it is important to increase gender acceptance, so everyone can feel comfortable in their own skin.


The event ended with a closing ceremony then a train ride back to Montreux. Events such as this give Surval students ideas and communication skills which they are able to bring back to the classroom to enhance their learning experience.