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At a glance: Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel helps launch ‘Junior 8’ youth competition

© UNICEF Germany/2007
German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses with five UNICEF Junior Ambassadors to launch this year’s competition for potential participants in the ‘Junior 8’ summit.

BERLIN, Germany, 1 February 2007 – Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s National Female Soccer Team – including UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Steffi Jones – joined five UNICEF Junior Ambassadors to launch this year’s competition for the ‘Junior 8’ summit.

Under the motto ‘You are the summit’, UNICEF in partnership with the Morgan Stanley International Foundation is calling upon adolescents to deal with the fight against poverty and HIV/AIDS, the worldwide climate change and other topics which will feature during the G8 summit of industrialized nations to be held in Heiligendamm, Germany in June.

“Poverty and threats such as HIV/AIDS or the global climate change which are at the G8 agenda have a direct impact on the lives of millions of children,” said Ms. Merkel. “Therefore, it is important that young people take an interest in these subjects at an early age and tell politicians what they think.”

Youths to meet world leaders

Parallel to the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, 74 boys and girls from G8 countries and developing countries alike will have a chance to discuss urgent global issues and produce their own resolution.

In a unique one-to-one session, J8 participants will explain to the G8 leaders how they envisage a future world.

“The heads of government set the course for the future of the world. Children and adolescents have a right to shape this world, too. Politicians should listen to them and take their ideas seriously for children are concerned about the problems of our times,” said Ms. Jones, the soccer champion who is a long-time supporter of UNICEF.

Call for team entries

Adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 interested in joining the June 3-9 summit are invited to enter the J8 competition announced by Ms. Merkel and the UNICEF Junior Ambassadors.

To enter the competition, teams work together to come up with their own ideas on how to tackle the key issues being discussed by the G8. They submit these ideas online through the J8 website.

The entries are then judged by a specially selected panel in each country. The team with the best entry from each country is chosen to take part in the J8 summit.

“Adults do not always know what is best for us. That is why we have to intervene,” says 13-year-old UNICEF Junior Ambassador Paul Müller from Cologne, asking his peers to join the competition.

Sabine Dolan contributed to this story from New York.



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