Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Youth Diplomacy in Washington DC

17 October 2012 |

Youth Diplomacy in Washington DC

Final year undergraduate Politics student, Robert Prager, gives his account of his involvement at this year’s Youth G8 and G20 summits in Washington DC.

“Each year, world leaders gather to discuss some of the most pressing global issues at the G8 and G20 summits.

Keen to try and make progress with these difficult problems, in depth negotiations take place and the end of the each summit, a communiqué is published, detailing the common positions the states have agreed to.

For the last few years, parallel summits have taken place, empowering young people to represent their countries and voice their views at the Youth G8 and G20 summits.

This year, I was fortunate to be selected to represent the UK as part of the Youth Diplomatic Service at the Youth summits held in Washington DC. The experience was totally unique and I am proud to have been part of a process which saw such a diverse group of people come together and agree on a trailblazing communiqué which we have taken back and presented to our respective governments.

Whilst a lot of students I know have taken part in events such as Model United Nations, which acts as a sort of simulation, what happened in Washington DC this summer was about as far from a simulation as possible.

Delegates from around the world, some of whom will one day likely play a role in their nation’s governments, convened in Washington DC to discuss the sorts of policies they would like to see adopted by world powers. A truly fascinating process.

The skills I’ve developed through studying Politics at the University of Leeds have helped me all the way – from the advice I received at the Careers Centre (which got me accepted onto the programme), to the hints and tips on making presentations I’ve picked up along the way in my degree.

The teamwork skills I’ve developed from being on the committee of a large society within Leeds University Union were invaluable as well. Indeed, whilst the discussions we had in Washington DC were not all plain sailing – we had disagreements over some key political issues, at the same time, real progress was made on other issues.  

Looking ahead, the G8 summit is coming to the UK in 2013, and thus the G8 Youth Summit will be taking place in the UK. I would highly recommend more students from POLIS to get involved – it’s a great thing for your CV and the skills you have the opportunity to develop from working with delegates from around the world is invaluable.”

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