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Youth investing in Summit


JANUARY 23, 1995

Youth investing in Summit

By Ashali Varma

United Nations New York: Annette Folkmann is a 21-year-old student from Copenhagen.  She is representing the Association Internationales des Etudiantes en Sciences, Economiques et Commerciales, which has sent 25 representatives to PrepCom3 held before the Social Summit.  AIESEC was founded in 1948 and has over 55,000 members in 84 countries.  It is an international organization of students who are interested in business and economics.

“The goal of AIESEC is to promote international and intercultural understanding and in recent years we have also recognized our responsibility for social development,” Folkmann told The Earth Times last Friday.

“I am in the organizing committee for the parallel events that are taking place in Copenhagen during the Social Summit,” said Folkmann.  “Our main objective is to involve young people in the process as the Summit will affect their lives.  If you want social development in the future you need to involve the youth of today.”

The Youth Caucus has been quite active at the PrepCom and are preparing a document, which puts education as a priority and recognizes the importance of youth participation.

“We also want to ensure that all young people in every country have a choice between social service and military service,” said Folkmann.

David Cananesio from Italy added, “If you train people in the military you train them for wars in the future.  If you train them for social service you get social development in the future.”

At the Social Summit in Copenhagen, AIESEC plans to have activities ranging from press reports, panel discussions and a Youth Cafe at Rundetarn where participants can exchange views.  “One of our goals is to have a dialogue between delegates, NGOs, businesses and the people,” said Folkmann.

At the New World Forum which will be held at the NGO forum in Copenhagen, panel discussions will focus on three issues: the responsibility of the corporate sector in the field of social development; education and the 21st Century; and sustainable human development. “After the Summit we will publish three booklets.  They will also contain project ideas on how to implement social development globally,” said Folkmann.

One of the problems that face the Social Summit is a lack of media attention, Folkmann said, “In an informal survey organized by AIESEC in Copenhagen, in December, almost nobody knew about the Social Summit because there has been very little about it in the media, which is still a problem.” She feels that governments are responsible for this and should be more active in promoting the Summit to the media in their countries.