J8 Day 5: Delegates strategize to put intolerance in check
By John Varoli.
Pushkin (St. Petersburg), Russia. On July 12, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and former Russian chess champion, Anatoly Karpov, paid a visit to the Junior 8 summit to speak with youth delegates about the issue of intolerance, and his work fighting iodine deficiency among children.
``We are all one family,’’ remarked Mr. Karpov, a 16-time world chess champion, about why youth must strive for greater global cooperation and tolerance.
``Memory is very important for chess players, and iodine deficiency can lead to memory impairment and many other health problems,’’ he added, explaining why he chose to support UNICEF’s campaign on this issue.
After fielding questions from delegates, Mr. Karpov invited them to the backyard for a friendly game of chess under the sunny blue sky. He took on all the teams simultaneously, defeated seven of them, while only the French forced Karpov to a draw.
``I really felt the importance of who I am,’’ said Xavier Attwell, 15, a member of the French delegation. ``It’s incredible that we finished with a draw against a guy who was world champion. My Dad will be so proud of me.’’
The remainder of the day was dedicated to the issue of intolerance. The delegates broke into small groups, and came forth with strong positions and suggestions how to tackle this issue.
``Intolerance poisons the atmosphere in society,’’ said Shingo Horibe, 17, a delegate from Japan who has grown up in Hong Kong, and only moved back to Japan six months ago. ``Intolerance is an issue that each one of us must face and struggle with personally; it’s not just an issue for governments.’’
Delegates commented that children are growing up in a world increasingly beset by barriers, which are dividing people and negatively impacting the way we view each other.
``We are one world, and we can’t go on separating the world into rich and poor, North and South, black and white,’’ said Janusch Krasberg, 17, a delegate from Germany. ``And by taking on the issue of intolerance we can contribute to solving other problems, such as HIV and terrorism.’’
Among some of the youth’s suggestions to offset the negative consequences of intolerance:
1) educate how intolerance can lead to violence and war
``The G8 leaders are the most powerful men and women in the world, but I don’t think they always see the urgency of the problems facing the world,’’ said Janusch. ``We see the urgency in solving all these issues because we want to build a better world, and so we want a say in the decisions made now that will impact our future.’’
Audios and Videos
13 July 2006: At Junior 8 Youth Forum, delegates strategize to put intolerance in check
Stories, by John Varoli