Today, the world is like never before open to new possibilities and you do not need to pay a cent for them. The only crucial thing is your desire. I was convinced of this by my personal experience. Recently I came back from the Model G20 Task Force 2019 in Tokyo, that became, without any exaggeration, a life-changing experience for me.
The Task Force is a conference organized by Knovva Academy, Boston-based company, where twenty motivated teenagers from all around the world developed policy proposals for G20 countries (20 the most influential countries), became diplomats for twelve days and worked with real politicians on the international arena.
It is the only program in the world that invites high school students to actively participate in the Y20 Summit, the youth-engagement group of the G20, where youth discusses global issues and designs solutions to them. We experienced diplomacy in-action when we worked with Y20 delegates and real representatives of world organizations: World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
By joint effort, we independently wrote a position paper on current global issues:
- Future of work
- State of global teens
- Business and the environment
- International trade
I was working on the latter and represented our team’s final proposals.
You would think such a remarkable experience had to cost exorbitantly for me. Actually, no, I went to the Task Force virtually for free: Knovva Academy provided me a full $5,000 scholarship and covered my flight tickets.
What did I learn during the Task Force 2019 and how did it contribute to my future?
- The sole thing that matters about a person is his/her personality, not nationality. Before going to the Task Force, I had been biased about other cultures; not anymore. At the Task Force, there were 20 teenagers from 12 completely different countries: China, the USA, Japan, Australia, Greece, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Egypt, Columbia, the UK, and Ukraine. I learned about all of them during deep conversations with other fellow delegates. Varying cultures and governmental rivalries did not prevent us from becoming strong friends who still communicate every day after the summit. I understood that all national animosities are somewhere at the top, at governmental offices and embassies, not among ordinary people because we long for the same ideals of freedom, peace, and prosperity.
- The pivotal step in my career as a diplomat. In the future, I want to become a world-class diplomat, one of the reasons why I applied to the Task Force. Eventually, the program met my expectations and became my first step towards the implementation of my goal, as I developed policy proposals with other delegates from 12 different countries. I worked in International Trade team of four people, and we oft disagreed with each other. However, we learned how to find a common ground between our at first seemingly differing views and reach a consensus, generating new, better ideas. In addition, as diplomats’ routine dictates them, I dedicated myself to networking during the Y20 conference. I was holding conversations with the representatives of world organizations, learning about their fascinating experience. I am so happy to recall my interactions with World Bank representative who is originally from Ukraine but lives in Washington DC; or conversations with International Monetary Fund representative about Ukrainian tariffs on cars; or World Trade Organization representative’s explanation about peaceful settlement trade disputes to prevent trade war; or UNESCO representative’s stories about waterways and current preservation of cultural heritage in Crimea. Afterward, we exchanged contacts and agreed upon me sending all of them the Task Force's position paper for an expert review. These interactions both established strong connections between us and aspired me even more to become a diplomat.
My conclusions: I could never imagine I would be qualified to go to Japan, for 12 days, to a real diplomatic conference, for virtually free, while being only 16.
I did not do something special for that: I filled out an application, gave an interview and then got accepted to the Task Force. And I believe everyone can accomplish this; it is only the measure of one’s motivation, initiative, and spirit. Moreover, during the Y20 Summit, from my own and other 19 teenagers’ experiences, I understood that age is just a number in one’s passport and definitely not a measure of one’s abilities. We engaged in cross-cultural discussions with both older delegates and representatives of international organizations. If we can take part in such high-level events, then why should not we, teenagers, be active in expressing our opinions in our communities and directly impacting our own future?