Giving a voice to children

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Junior 8

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‘Junior 8’ delegates prepare for meeting with G8 summit leaders

© UNICEF Russia/2006/Svirid
Former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov congratulates Junior 8 youth delegate Marion Gasperment of France, whose team achieved a draw at simultaneous games Mr. Karpov played with all the youth delegations.

By Thomas Nybo

PUSHKIN, Russia, 13 July 2006 – Inside the Junior 8 Youth Summit here, 64 young leaders are debating and discussing the recommendations they will deliver to G8 leaders on 16 July.

With the help of translators and radio headsets, the ‘J8’ delegations representing all of the G8 countries bridge five languages to focus on the key issues of education, energy and HIV/AIDS.

One of the most outspoken delegates is also one of the youngest, 13-year-old James Goodall of the United Kingdom.

"The J8 Summit is important to me because I believe in the past we have exploited many of the poorer countries, yet have given nothing in return, and because of this, their economies are not as strong as ours,” asserts James. “And I believe it's time to give something back to them, because it's not fair that we're so advanced, yet they're so far behind." 


© UNICEF Russia/2006/Svirid
US youth delegates with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman at the Junior 8 Youth Forum in Pushkin, outside St. Petersburg, Russia.

Statements on the issues

After hard days focusing on the issues, the children are treated to nightly cultural presentations put on by each team. They're also seeing a bit of Russia, including a whirlwind tour of the Hermitage Museum.

For many, the highlight of this week’s activities so far was a chance to play chess against former world champion Anatoly Karpov, who carried on nine games simultaneously. The French delegates managed a draw.

Back at work, youth delegates like 17-year-old Elena delle Site of Italy prepare statements on the issues they want to raise during the upcoming G8 meeting.

“I think the J8 is important because it can probably help create a platform between children and G8 leaders, so children have an opportunity to speak about the same themes as G8 leaders,” says Elena.

Many here have voiced strong opinions about the challenges facing the world. “The main problem for me is HIV, because we know how to solve this problem and it’s such a big cause of death,” observes French youth delegate Xavier Atwell.

Throughout the day on Friday, the youth delegates will exchange ideas with other children from around the world via a series of international video conference calls linking them to their peers in Thailand, Egypt, South Africa and Mexico.

After this day of discussions, the J8 participants will convene on Saturday to prepare for the climax of their trip – the all-important meeting with the G8 leaders.

While their detailed recommendations are still to be completed, these 64 young voices from eight countries are joining together with one basic message: Help and protect children.

Sabine Dolan contributed to this story from New York.


Junior 8 Summit - St. Petersburg, Russia - 2006
Impressions from the Junior 8 Summit in St. Petersburg where young people met with the leaders of the G8 nations to voice their opinions on the future of the world.
[Photo Essay]





Videos and Audios

President Putin’s visit to the J8

July 13 2006: UNICEF correspondent Thomas Nybo reports on the ongoing ‘Junior 8’ Youth Forum in Pushkin, near St. Petersburg, Russia.

French youth delegate Xavier Atwell shares his thoughts on the Junior 8 summit.

Italian youth delegate Elena delle Site discusses her experience at the Junior 8 summit.

UK youth delegate James Goodall comments on events at the Junior 8 summit.

7 July 2006: UNICEF correspondent Sabine Dolan reports on the start of the Junior 8 Youth Forum in Russia.

Related links

Read the 'Address to the Leaders'

Press releases

14 July 2006: Girls and boys from Latin America ask leaders of the G8 to combat violence
13 July 2006: At Junior 8 Youth Forum, delegates strategize to put intolerance in check
10 July 2006: Children of Junior 8 gather to share views with G8 world leaders
10 July 2006: ‘Junior 8’ Youth Forum opens in Russia

Children to be given voice at G8

Stories, by John Varoli
Day 1: St Petersburg 
Day 2: Touring the sites
Day 3: Working day
Day 4: Working day
Day 5: Delegates strategize to put intolerance in check
Day 6: President Putin's surprise visit to J8

7 July 2006: ‘Junior 8’ delegates arrive in Russia
5 July 2006: ‘Junior 8’ Youth Forum prepares to meet
UNICEF in Russia

Junior Summit J8 2006
J8 competition
Voices of Youth – Junior 8 2006: Russia
Interact with Junior 8 2006 participants


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