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Report from the Y20 Summit

This summer I attended the Y20 Summit in Sydney, Australia, one of 120 young people, aged 20-30, from around the world who gathered to formulate policy recommendations on areas of strong interest and impact on global youth.

The Y20 is the official youth engagement arm of the Group of Twenty (G20), a major forum for international cooperation on global economic and financial issues. Summit attendees represented both the G20 and observing countries to voice the interests, passions and ideas of how policy can be developed to support youth. Our recommendations will be considered at the G20 Leaders Summit in November.

The four-person U.S. delegation did our best to represent the interests of our country’s youth by speaking on behalf of net neutrality, agricultural innovation, labor mobility, unemployment and entrepreneurship. After much debate and hours of editing, many of these issues were represented in different clauses that made it into the final communique document, our deliverable to the G20. Beyond working on the communique, the four-day summit included many Australian cultural-engagement opportunities, including visiting Aboriginal tribes, playing with koalas and baby kangaroos, visiting the Sydney Opera House and taking ferry rides through Sydney harbor. Although cliché, these experiences added to the incredible honor and experience that was the Y20 Summit.

The experience provided me an opportunity not afforded to most youth: engage in face-to-face discussions with more than 120 aspiring young professionals from 25+ countries about issues that not only affect me and my peers back home, but that will affect the future generations of global citizens. Whether it was talking about agriculture with Italy, global citizenship with Russia or entrepreneurship with Myanmar, the experience was of utmost value because of the global engagement it provided.

Edward J. Silva is program coordinator at the UC Davis Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center

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