On 05 May 2021, four Champions from the Vienna Hub gathered virtually to discuss the obstacles to Youth empowerment in the field of STEM, Diplomacy and the science-diplomacy nexus. Chair Convener Dr. Lassina Zerbo (CTBTO), Ms. Elena Sokova (VCDNP), Ambassador Aldrik Gierveld (Netherlands) and Ambassador Corinne Kitsell (United Kingdom) relayed direct feedback they received from consultations with youth from diverse backgrounds including Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, Uganda, Ghana, India, Argentina, France and Ukraine, and together explored ideas for how best to use their platforms to break down the barriers and obstacles that were described to them.
Several cross-cutting issues were identified during this discussion:
- High demand for internship, Junior Professional Officer (JPO) and fellowship opportunities and networking
- Focus on the nexus between science and diplomacy
- Mainstreaming of gender and diversity in youth empowerment
- Inclusivity and accessibility through virtualized work, trainings, events and fora
Champions present reflected on the significant transformation in norms and culture that is possible by translating intentions into action, just as the Panel Parity Pledge successfully transformed gender-balanced panels into a norm and an expectation, Champions shared next steps to develop programmes and initiatives within their organisations, and agreed to share ideas and potential sources of funding between the group.
The Time to Talk – Champion Conversation Series is an initiative launched by the IGC Secretariat to create the space for meaningful yet informal conversations for Champions to exchange ideas and practices and tap into the collective intelligence of IGC’s unique network. Such exchanges are harder since meetings, conferences and other high-level gatherings have largely moved to virtual, online spaces. And, at the same time, we have an opportunity to connect across IGC’s multi-lateral hubs and foster new collaboration – if we create the time and space.