What is special and new about this format is that there is a lot of free space for play and interpersonal encounters, which stimulated the children and young people's own initiative and creativity. They were invited to help to shape the event and to get involved themselves. "The first World Child Forum was the beginning of a global movement," says founder Bernhard Hanel. " The young people who were heard here are the future. It is our responsibility to take their voices seriously and support them".
The idea of the WCF is to take the step into not knowing in order to really listen to the next generation and their impulses. This way we can find new forms and solutions together instead of repeating old structures and patterns. That is why there were workflows rather than ready-made workshops or lectures. The focus was on the issues that the young people brought with them. In these workflows, the young participants engaged in productive dialogue, sharing and developing their ideas for a better today and a future worth living. Topics such as sustainability, peace and conflict, politics, education, but also introspection were discussed and debated.
Gaia Hoshen, one of the participants from Israel, adds: "We don't speak the same languages, we don't come from the same communities, but still I felt we were close and open for each other. With this first World Child Forum event, we established a great ground for future projects that we already discussed and are thrilled to start, the atmosphere here was full of energy of doing and acting and wishing to change."
In the same building where the World Economic Forum meets every year, young people have designed and built the world they want: Externally, by refurbishing the rooms, and internally, by living a culture of dialogue that focuses on the uniqueness of each person, not the color of their skin or their religion. This has created connections of the heart between people across all borders. This network will show what new things will emerge for the next WCF in 2024, which can become even bigger and more international.
Innovative formats encourage new thinking
During the first World Child Forum, questions and shared visions were developed and written down. A discarded overseas container was artistically transformed into a treasure chest for the young people's messages. This treasure chest can now continue its journey around the world. At the next World Economic Forum, the container will also provide a meeting place for the generations and make the concerns of young people visible.
The World Child Forum wants to encourage change and real rethinking. This requires more success stories that can serve as inspiration. This does not mean ignoring global problems and pains. But what potential is there in thinking through local problems together to find cosmopolitan solutions?
For on day the World Child Forum opened its doors to guests. Through a process of tandem building between adults and children, bridges were built – bridges of understanding and shared growth. Deep conversations were held around the table, and everyone was invited to come and share and listen. The speech of the mayor of Davos, Landamann Philipp Wilhem, showed great support for the WCF in Davos. Another highlight of the last day was the speech of Shirin Makonda from Tanzania about the living conditions of children in Africa.
The next World Child Forum will take place in Davos from July 15th to the 21st in 2024. The global ideas workshop will create a global link between children and young people. The aim is to further strengthen and amplify the voices of young people who are committed to their own future and to a better world.
For more information: world-child-forum.org