As part of the 2017 IMF and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Washington DC, Ideas For Action organized a summit in order to encourage and celebrate youth engagement in the financing and implementation of the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Corporate professionals, scholars, and young people came together to discuss the critical role younger generations play in bolstering innovation in the development ecosystem. The summit also featured the official launch of the third Ideas For Action book comprised of a compilation of the proposals of the top placing teams of the 2017 Ideas For Action Competition.
The first part of the Ideas For Actions Summit brought together various stakeholders from the sustainable development sector to discuss the role of education and research in driving innovation in STEM fields. Throughout the talks a common thread was the critical role youth play in coming up with innovative solutions aimed at tackling the issues outlined by the SDGs.
Pr. Petkoski from the Wharton School took the floor to talk about the Ideas For Action competition, stressing the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to ideas and the value of learning through competition. Pr. Petkoski was followed by Pr. Miloš Doroslovački from the engineering department at George Washington University who spoke about the I4A competition as an excellent opportunity to explore the power of business, research and implementation.
Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank SVP, stressed the fact that youth involvement is of critical importance as the World Bank alone cannot tackle all the issues the world continues to face. He also addressed the framework set up by the World Bank and how this institution plans to take these global goals to community based solutions. In his remarks, Dr. Mohieldin also mentioned how the implementation of these goals should come from industries like technology.
Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin,
World Bank SVP for the 2030 Development Agenda UN relations and partnerships
Representatives from Knowledge@Wharton, an online journal for researching business analytics took the floor to speak about the value of intellectual capital and its essential role in jumpstarting innovation by bridging academia to real world problems. One of their functions is to transform the cutting-edge research published by academics into ideas that can be applied.
The Senior director of Pepsico in Latin America, Gabriela delaGarzia, took the floor to underscore some of the points raised by Pr. Petkoski, and Dr. Moheidin. Ms. delaGarzia was followed by a brief message from the I4A high school representative highlighting his work on developing the high school competition to actively involve more youth. He was followed by a virtual connection to the Stanford chapter of the I4A club. The call introduced Filip Simeski and Marko Jakovljevic, the first students to start an I4A virtual club for STEM in service to society, inspired by the agora model. Their hopes are that when people leave the agora of the club, they will apply these ideas to help their communities on a local level.
Following Filip and Marko, representatives from this year’s winners of the I4A competition took the floor to share their experiences and thank the I4A Initiative for the life-changing experience many of them felt in their journey towards this achievement. The first speaker, Nwachinemere Emeka Obewe was from Kitovu, an agro-tech startup from Nigeria focused on improving yields by minimizing and combatting post-harvest losses and facilitating smarter choices for farmers using acquired knowledge from veteran farmers. Mukose Andrew from Uganda had launched an initiative to train visually impaired women in the community to utilize their heightened sense of touch as an early breast cancer detection tool that could drastically improve survival rates for farmers given that medical services here are limited. The last winner of the three was Akshay Verma who started a for-private initiative to convert un-utilized, waterlogged land in Bihar, the poorest state of India.
To conclude the first half of the event, Marco Scuriatti, Senior Operations Coordinator from the World Bank, spoke about attacking SDGs using STEM in greater depth, as well as leveraging the disruptive force of technology to become a bank for development and innovation.
The second part of the Ideas For Action Summit took place at the World Bank Headquarters, and featured many of the same speakers mentioned above.
The Ideas For Action team would like to thank everyone for their participation in our summit at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings, both online and onsite. The Ideas For Action Summit’s great turnout is a testament to the strength of the youth’s commitment to addressing the developmental challenges our world is facing.
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Stay tuned for our next event.
Special thanks to our wonderful speakers!
From left to right: Pr. Djordjija Petkoski, Lecturer and Senior Fellow at the Wharton School of Business; Nwachinemere Emeka Obewe, member of the Kitovu team, winning team of the 2017 Ideas for Action Competition
Mukose Andrew, member of the Gifted Hands team, second place at the 2017 Ideas for Action Competition
Akshay Verma, member of the Agratam team, third place at the 2017 Ideas for Action Competition