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Global Peace Foundation, SM Cares prep up for virtual Global Youth Summit

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

From August 29-30, the Filipino students and youth leaders gear up for this year’s Global Youth Summit (GYS).

This Youth Summit will be held via Zoom and will be shown through live streaming at select social media channels is aimed for continued learning and development and was made possible through the collaboration of the international non-profit organization Global Peace Foundation, together with SM Cares, Consuelo Foundation, PLDT, and SM Youth.

Running on its 8th year, the GYS will contribute to the UN 75 Dialogues, the world’s biggest conversation on building a better future. The topics selected by youth gather diverse perspectives and creative ideas on what is needed to address emerging risks and opportunities to achieve sustainable development. The views and ideas generated in the virtual summit will be presented to world leaders and senior UN officials on September 21, 2020, at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

For this year, the discussions will focus on five critical topics that matter most to the Filipino youth: Health amid the COVID-19 pandemic; Protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources; Educational system reform; the impact of new and digital technologies; and inequality across different aspects of life.

Mental health issues are also a significant concern affecting countless Filipino youth. The 2015 Global School-based Student Health Survey report by the World Health Organization reported that about 17 percent of Filipino high school students aged 13 to 15 had attempted suicide at least once in that year. Health experts also see this concern continues to be worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months.

Environmental issues are another primary concern among Filipino youth. Many of them are now participating in initiatives toward environmental protection and preservation, such as the International Coastal Cleanup organized by SM by the BAY and SM Mall of Asia, and other community-based recycling or tree-planting initiatives.

These and other topics will be at the forefront of the talks during the two-day online summit, which hopes to educate the youth and encourage them to think of solutions for these pressing concerns.

Industry leaders and prominent personalities make up this year’s roster of Global Youth Summit speakers. These include Head of PLDT Corporate Communications Group Cathy Yang, Environmentalist and House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, President and CEO of Consuelo Foundation Greg Auberry, National Chair for Youth for Mental Health Coalition Dr. Raymond Naguit, Director of OECD Paris Andreas Schleicher, television host Kim Atienza, and Agon Hare of popular YouTube Channel “Project Nightfall.”

Global Youth Summit is an annual gathering of students and youth leaders from all over the country and abroad, bringing them together to facilitate meaningful discussions about global issues. The initiative is part of SM Cares’ Program on Children and Youth, which aims to empower the youth to become more immersed in the community and nation-building.

SM Cares is the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, dedicated to supporting the community through partnerships with stakeholders in the private and public sectors. SM Cares has been a long-time partner of the Global Peace Foundation, a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote “an innovative, values-based approach to peacebuilding.”

Global Peace Foundation engages and organizes a global network of public and private sector partners who develop community, national, and regional peacebuilding models as the foundation for ethical and cohesive societies.

This year, five outstanding alumni of the Global Youth Summit will be recognized. They embody the spirit of the program and who have actualized concrete initiatives that spark change in their respective communities. They shall receive a grant of Php250,000.00 for their selfless dedication and contribution to the betterment of society.

Interested participants may sign up for this year’s virtual Global Youth summit through www.globalpeacephilippines.org. To know more about the Global Peace Foundation and SM Cares, you may visit www.facebook.com/gpfphilippines/ and www.facebook.com/smsupermalls.

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