More than 300 engaged young people, teachers, inspirers and representatives of civil society and the business sector gathered on 5 October for the #FirstGeneration Global Goals Forum in Stockholm. Optimism for the future permeated the entire day, which focused on young people and the UN Global Goals.

Swedish YouTube star and presenter Clara Henry was the moderator for the day, and a large number of inspiring young people from all over the world took part in the programme. The Forum was opened by Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér, and the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Ahlendawi, sent a video message:

“Young people are not just the beneficiaries of the Global Goals, but rather they hold the key to the success. This is why I am especially encouraged by the #FirstGeneration campaign focus on teachers and educators. Teachers have a unique opportunity to instil the importance of sustainability, from a young age, to cultivate and enable the younger generation to serve as change-makers.”

The day’s activities offered many inspiring and educational moments. The audience were given food for thought in an interactive quiz, and Staffan Landin raised awareness of sustainable development. Audience members also had a chance to hold Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog and representatives from businesses including IKEA and E.ON to account in a Global Goals grill, arranged by We_change. At the Forum the #FirstGeneration Award was also presented for the first time. State Secretary Ulrika Modéer and Mats Djurberg, Secretary-General of the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO, presented the award to educators and inspirational figures from 17 countries, in recognition of their efforts to inspire and engage young people on issues to do with fair and sustainable development, peace and climate change. Following the award, Swedish-Sami hip-hop artist Maxida Märak performed a Sami joik. The Forum concluded with a video message from Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lövin. Her message was clear – global challenges require global solutions.

“We need role models around the world if the Global Goals are to come true. Global challenges need global solutions. I’m sure you will continue your work to find those solutions together.”

 

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The Forum was held on World Teachers’ Day, 5 October, as a fitting date to highlight the important role of educators and others in inspiring and engaging young people on issues to do with a just and sustainable future. The event, which was held at Norra Latin, an old school, went viral both nationally and internationally, with the hashtag #FirstGeneration trending on Twitter with more than 13 000 tweets.

The Swedish initiative #FirstGeneration aims to encourage young people to engage in the UN Global Goals for sustainable development. It is for this reason that the initiative particularly highlights educators and inspirers as those with an important role in engaging the young. The #FirstGeneration Global Goals Forum gave recognition to individuals around the world who, in their day-to-day work and in various ways, inspire young people on issues to do with fair and sustainable development. The educators and inspirers who were invited to the Forum were selected in collaboration between Swedish embassies and local partners including for example UN Women, the UNDP, UNESCO and various universities. Along with their young attachés in Stockholm, these educators and inspirers now form a network to exchange knowledge and ideas for a better world.

You can find pictures from the Forum here and read more about the inspirational figures here.

Do not miss to watch the #FirstGeneration Global Goals Forum:

Part 1: Introduction Clara Henry  and opening address by Swedish minister for gender, Åsa Regnér.

Part 2: Presentation of educators and inspirational figures from around the world – including videogreeting by UN Youth Envoy and speech by Matilda Hellström, UNESCO.

Part 3: Quiz with Mikael Botnén Diamant and Staffan Landin.

Part 4: Increasing knowledge about the Global Goals with Staffan Landin.

Part 5: Global Goals Grill with Swedish Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog, IKEA, SEB, Forte and E.ON, arranged by We_Change.

Part 6: Award ceremony, performance by Maxida Märak and final words.