20140922_01_Group at WEF AMNC 2014
GYA participants at WEF Annual Meeting of New Champions 2014

This year five GYA members were selected to participate at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of New Champions which was held in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, 10 to 12 September 2014: Ivana Gadjanski (Serbia), Maite Martinez-Aldaya (Spain), Vanny Narita (Indonesia), Noble Bannada (Uganda), and Vidushi Neergheen-Bhujun (Mauritius). For the GYA-participants it this meeting was a very rewarding and enriching experience.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation; the Forum is best known for its annual winter meeting in Davos. However, since 2007 the Forum also organizes a summer Annual Meeting of New Champions (also called Summer Davos), held annually in China, alternating between the cities of Dalian and Tianjin.

Every year, the World Economic Forum selects up to 40 extraordinary young scientists under the age of 40 to participate alongside more than 1,500 business, government and civil society leaders from over 90 countries in the Annual Meeting of the New Champions. Young scientists were selected from all regions of the world and from a wide range of disciplines with a view to bringing value to the meeting under the theme of “Creating value through innovation”. The meeting thus provided a platform where nearly 2000 leaders from over 90 countries participated, convening the next generation of fast-growing enterprises, which may shape the future of business and society, together with leaders from major multinationals as well as government, media, academia and the civil society.

This year five GYA members were selected to participate at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of New Champions which was held in Tianjin, People’s Republic of China, 10 to 12 September 2014. They were Ivana Gadjanski (Serbia), Maite Martinez-Aldaya (Spain), Vanny Narita (Indonesia), Noble Bannada (Uganda), and Vidushi Neergheen-Bhujun (Mauritius).

The participation in the conference has been satisfying and productive in several ways. Ivana Gadjanski was invited to represent the Young Scientists community at the “New Champions Plenary” and to take part in the official program as a panellist at the “Gender in STEM” discussion (Session titled “Gender under the microscope”). For all participating GYA members it has been a very positive and enriching experience in terms of interaction and multidisciplinary exchange with global leaders. And also the scientific exchange has been very beneficial to all participating GYA members: particularly discussions on sustainable consumption and production in a circular economy, with the realisation that we need a more circular economy, i.e. re-using, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products, and with a change in mind-set to accept that what used to be regarded as ‘waste’ can be turned into resources which can be managed more efficiently throughout their respective life cycle.

The private breakfast for Young Scientists provided an opportunity for exchange among Young Scientists – sharing insights and experience, and discussion of continuing engagement beyond the summit. The Young Scientists also expressed their interest to come back to the summer Davos and help develop the WEF part of the programme next year.

Report by Ivana Gadjanski, Maite Martínez Aldaya, Vanny Narita & Vidushi Neergheen-Bhujun.