J8, Day 1. St. Petersburg. Introduction and Atmosphere
By John Varoli
St. Petersburg: Russia's Cultural Capital; the Venice of the North; the Northern Palmyra. This city is indeed as grand as these epithets
Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, St. Petersburg served as Imperial Russia's `Window on the West,' a showcase city where the vast and multi-cultural Eurasian continent could find a comfortable place for contact and dialogue with Europe. The stern Czar Peter opened up Russia to the outside world, and for over 200 years St. Petersburg gave birth to great achievements in nearly every area of human endeavour that have helped define the modern world.
Today, almost 90 years since the Bolsheviks seized power in St. Petersburg and abandoned this city on the Neva River to make their
The G8 leaders, however, will be getting advice on how to lead the world from some of their youthful constituents. With the astonishing White Nights as backdrop, a time when the sun only sets around just after midnight, from July 8 to July 18 St. Petersburg is also hosting the Junior 8, a meeting of youth from the G8 nations.
Courtesy of generous support provided by the Morgan Stanley International Foundation, teams of eight youths, ages 13 to 17, from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have made the journey to join their Russian counterparts.
From their well-furbished residence in the lush town of Pushkin, once known as the Czar's Village and home to the lavish Catherine Palace, the J8 are spending the next 10 days discussing some of the most important issues facing the planet today --- education, HIV/AIDS, and energy policy --- all of which will impact their generation, and generations to come.
13 July 2006: At Junior 8 Youth Forum, delegates strategize to put intolerance in check