Y7 Statement on COVID-19
Editor’s Note: Young Professionals in Foreign Policy is acting as host for this year’s Y7 summit. Youth delegates from all seven countries prepared a statement for G7 representatives, published in its entirety below, articulating a strong call to action from their generation to the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations. You can read more about this and past Y7 delegations here.
We, the representatives of the Y7, call on the leaders of the G7 countries for a stronger and more coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We demand you respond with a renewed commitment to multilateralism and reaffirm your collective responsibility to promote health equity, protect human rights and minimize the economic fallout for all youth. With over 1 billion young people around the world confronting interruptions to their education and employment, we are suffering the repercussions of this crisis; facing uncertain futures. We are convinced that the G7 leaders’ statement overlooks both the negative impact of this crisis on every aspect of our lives, as well as the unique potential of young people to mitigate the long-term consequences of this pandemic.
We urge world leaders to empower and meaningfully engage young people in their response to COVID-19 and safeguard our future.
As the Y7, we are calling on the G7 leaders to:
I. Prioritize the specific needs of young people in an effort to address the economic and societal impacts of COVID-19
- Provide platforms for young people to share how this crisis is impacting their lives, involve them in decision-making, and facilitate the collection of youth-specific data on the impacts of this pandemic in order to inform future policy responses.
- Adopt a youth-sensitive approach by ensuring policies are informed through meaningful dialogue and engagement with young people, decisions guided by Child Rights Impact Assessments.
- Incentivize young people to adopt a resilience-based approach to designing local projects in key sectors and help young people to better disclose and manage risk.
II. Facilitate access to universal health services and mitigate risks for the health workforce
- Ensure young people and vulnerable communities around the world have equitable access to health services as well as clean water and sanitation.
- Invest in health system strengthening, at all levels of health care, to address adverse impacts of the outbreak and reinforce future prevention efforts.
- Increase investment in and facilitate access to mental health support for children and young people.
- Support all young people currently studying or working in health – who face increased workloads, skills gaps, higher psychosocial risks and burnout – by providing fair compensation, protective material and appropriate training.
III. Ensure the protection of democracy and human rights, paying special attention to the principles of non-discrimination and transparency
- Reaffirm that all restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms taken to curb the virus are proportionate, time-limited, evidence-based and strictly necessary.
- Ensure the continuity of national institutions and preserve the democratic system of checks and balances in order to guarantee scrutiny and evaluation of rapid decisions.
- Address social stigma, discrimination and xenophobia in policy and public messaging.
- Prioritize the poorest, most vulnerable communities and young people in resource allocation and include them in resilience planning.
- Undertake Gender Based Analysis on policies and collect gender-specific data, recognizing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on different genders.
IV. Protect the right of all young people to access quality education by enhancing technology and providing efficient solutions
- Promote access to and implementation of online tools and IT infrastructure; prioritize the digitization of education by promoting digital literacy, ensuring equal digital opportunities and access to affordable internet.
- Share prompt information regarding changes in teaching and examination arrangements, including for exchange and international students, and consult young people in shaping new timetables and alternative learning strategies.
- Provide teaching resources on infectious disease and disaster preparedness, and promote learning as an official part of the school curriculum.
V. Safeguard the socioeconomic environments of young and vulnerable people to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic and emergency measures taken
- Provide fiscal support to small and medium businesses as well as to families facing financial insecurity alongside the additional burden of providing education and childcare services at home.
- Guarantee economic bailouts and emergency funds to safeguard charities who are supporting vulnerable communities and are critical contributors to the economy.
- Limit the financial impact of the crisis on students by introducing economic relief policies such as student loan moratoriums and reduction/freezing of tuition fees, and consult with young people on the need for further measures to address job and income loss.
VI. Guarantee access to accurate information on COVID-19 and digital services that support quality of life during the pandemic
- Ensure that clear, reliable and youth-tailored information on COVID-19 reaches young people through appropriate channels to counter misinformation and reduce associated anxiety and confusion.
- Collaborate multilaterally with media organizations and social media platforms to tackle the current infodemic, through emphasizing responsible journalism and dissemination of COVID-19 content.
- Harness the digital expertise of young people and provide opportunities that empower young people to support their societies, particularly the elderly, in using digital technologies to access services and adjust to a virtual way of life.
We, the Y7, are open and willing to engage with G7 leaders in the coming weeks and months on the multilateral response to COVID-19, with the aim to integrate our perspective into G7 decisions that impact youth. We commit to continue working together to address the socio-economic ramifications of COVID-19, including through our work at the Y7 Summit in June 2020.
This year’s Y7 delegates are:
Kirtbir Chahal is an advocacy and policy specialist based in London, UK, and is committed to meaningful engagement of children and young people. In her current role as a Policy Adviser at Unicef UK, she works to center and protect every child’s right to health in domestic and international policies, including on air pollution, immunisation, nutrition and climate change.
Mojann Zibapour holds a Master of Global Affairs from the Munk School at the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Political Science in the bilingual program from the University of Ottawa. Currently, she is a National Program Officer at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) working on matters of inclusion, diversity, and active citizenship.
Passionate about international politics, green diplomacy, and technology, Carla Guillaume is dedicated to making our global village a better place for future generations. She is currently working as an Executive Assistant and lobbyist for the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium where she contributes to making Canada a champion in the advancement of low-carbon and smart technology eco-systems across North America.
Rahul is a master’s candidate in International Affairs and Global Cyber Security at King’s College London. He earned his BA in International Relations and Political Economy from the University of Calgary, where he participated in several international education opportunities to Seoul and Washington, DC.
Born in the Czech Republic, Karolina is an MA student of International Public Management at Sciences Po Paris. She graduated from the French-Czech section at Jan Neruda High School in Prague and completed her Bachelor’s degree at Sciences Po Paris and the University of Glasgow.
Adel Ramdani studied Political Science, International Relations and Human Rights in seven universities across three continents. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Brussels (ULB), and spent one year as a visiting student at Uppsala University (Sweden). Adel then integrated the Global Studies Programme (MA of Arts in Globalization) and spent each semester studying abroad in Germany (University of Freiburg), South Africa (University of Cape Town) and Thailand (Chulalongkorn University).
Enrico is a PhD candidate in Development Economics at the Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID). Trained in impact evaluation, his research and policy interests span from human capital, education and jobs to trade, energy and sustainable finance. Enrico has been a research economist at the WTO, a consultant for the ILO and in the private sector, as well as a research assistant at the think-tank Bruegel and at the Center for Finance and Development.
Magdalena has a bachelor’s degree in European Law from Maastricht University and is a final year law student at the University of Warsaw. During her studies in Maastricht, she participated in honours programmes such as the Maastricht University Law College – UMLC and European Corporate Finance Law Excellence Course. Moreover, she spent a semester abroad at the University of British Columbia.
Currently working as an Intern at the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Theo Bernini is about to complete a Master in Public and International Affairs at Sciences Po Lille. Twice Delegate then Faculty Advisor at Harvard National Model United Nations, Theo accomplishes himself in the heat of debates and negotiations, particularly when common good is at stake.
Khadija Ben Romdhane
My name is Khadija-El-Kalila Ben Romdhane, I am a 23 years old master student at Sciences Po Paris specialized in Public Affairs (social politics and social innovation stream). Committed to the reduction of social inequalities, I have founded in 2018 an association dedicated to disadvantaged young people.
Audrey Chloe Fontaine
Audrey is a globally-minded resident doctor. Originally from Reunion island, she completed medical school at the Catholic University of Lille in France, followed by residency training in psychiatry at the University of Lille. She currently works at the Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, in Paris, France.
Thomas Gasselin is a French student in business and trade at emlyon business school. Back in 2016 Thomas discovers diplomacy during classes of geography at high school. He decided to continue down this path in going to an international business school in order to be competent both in geopolitics and business.
I grew up in a small village in southern Germany. After graduating from high school, I did a European Voluntary Service at Fairtrade Lëtzebuerg, the Luxembourgish NGO advocating for fair trade. Being passionate about international politics and development due to my voluntary service, I started studying International Relations and Economics with a focus on development cooperation, feminism and peace and security at the University of Erfurt.
After growing up in Frankfurt, I have studied the Law and Economics in Munich and in Berlin. Alongside my studies, I have been involved in international and domestic politics for several years now. In 2015 I participated in the National Model United Nations in New York City.
I´m Michael Leyendecker, 32 years old, from Cologne, Germany. I´m working as a teacher for higher education for Sports and Biology and completed additionally a master studies in Public Health. In my leisure time I´m engaged as head of the German Gymnastics Youth Federation and as part of the board of the European Sports NGO ENGSO.
I am 24 years old and currently studying for a master’s degree in political science. Here I am focusing on international relations, sustainability and human rights. Next to university, I am working in different volunteer organisations such as refugee support, sport youth organisation and Amnesty International, where I am also dealing with this topic.
I am graduated in international relations at Luiss University in Rome. I had the possibility to work in the international institutions in Italy as the Embassy of Afghanistan, where I was an intern. After that experience I stared working for a local NGO called Global Action, that offers to young people free education programs in the field of diplomacy.
Sergio Nova is a Young Energy engineer passionate about engineering and committed to the challenges that issues like population growth, industrialization on the rise, and climate change have brought about in the energy sector, among my interests stand out power production, renewable energies, energy policies, and electricity markets
Passionate about security and international relations, Francesca currently works as a cybersecurity Consultant in Government and Public Sector at Deloitte Risk Advisory (Italy). Her focus areas are National Cybersecurity Strategies and cyber capacity building. During her University career, she has worked in the staff of a former Italian Ambassador and Minister of Foreign Affairs, supporting him in the research and drafting of documents and speeches for public interventions on topics related to cybersecurity, European security and defence, and Human Rights.
Nicola Bilotta is currently researcher at IAI where he works on international political economy, digital economy and geo-finance. Prior to this he worked as a research analyst at the Banker Research Team (Financial Times), with which he still collaborates as consultant analyst.
Takahisa Ogawa is a master’s candidate in public health at Harvard T.H. Chan school of public health. He has been working as a family doctor then an orthopedic surgeon for ten years. He worked in from the countryside where the life expectancy was longest with lower medical cost to the urban city in Japan before studying public health.
Shinri is a member of the Japan delegation and a passionate advocate for STEM education and diversity. Shinri was previously a management consultant with McKinsey & Co., where she advised clients in both the US and Japan on a variety of strategic topics.
I am currently in my final year at Keio University in Tokyo, majoring in International Relations. Since middle school, I have been passionate about promoting cultural exchange between Japan and other countries, which has led me to participate in more than 10 international programs/student conferences.
Shikoh Hirabayashi is a youth activist campaigning for youth empowerment in Japan. He has founded a bipartisan political organization devoted to raising political awareness amongst Japanese youth and has achieved in getting student-made policies incorporated into actual party manifests.
Virginia is an EU Negotiations Advisor in the UK Civil Service, a Digital Ambassador for global children’s charity Plan International, and an Ambassador from two One Young World summits in Johannesburg and Dublin.
James is an adaptable and technically capable consultant with a varied background in detailed engineering design, consultancy and project economics experience. Vast experience in the Infrastructure sector, trained Civil Engineer with proven technical ability in design and analysis of systems, led on many major Infrastructure developments in the UK and in overseas.
Zoe is a first year apprentice economist in the Government Economic Service, currently working in the Ministry of Justice. She works within Youth Justice and is driven to provide young people across the country with the best opportunities, regardless of their background. She is a technically capable and adaptable young person, who is always striving to go above and beyond to meet her goals.
Mohamed Hashim Abdelrhman
Mohamed Abdelrhman has a keen interest in the economic development of third world countries, poverty alleviation and inequality reduction. He is a Management Consultant for a boutique consultancy, specialising in Digital Transformation, moving companies forward parallel to technological advancements.
Samantha van de Ven
Samantha van de Ven is a current Master’s student at Harvard University studying International Relations and International Security. Samantha received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. As Communications and Engagement Chair of the Behavioral Insights Group at Harvard Kennedy School, she increases awareness and engagement with behavioral science as a body of evidence and tools to increase impact.
Dai Wei “Diane” Tsang
A daughter of Taipei and Los Angeles, Diane comes to Y7 from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs, where she works in research management. She is fluent in Mandarin, English and French, and wishes she had time to learn more languages.
Giovanni Bruna is a Program Associate for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, tasked with developing and managing National and Regional SDSNs with a focus on Latin America. Giovanni holds a Master’s degree in Global Governance, with a concentration in Globalization and Human Security, and a B.A. in International Relations, both from Florida International University in Miami.
Josh Goldstein is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the University of Oxford. His doctoral dissertation aims to better conceptualize the challenges posed by influence operations through survey experiments, historical case studies, and legal analysis. More broadly, his interests lie in international security, political psychology, and great-power competition.