On January 18th, the Global Youth Panel began its second phase of debate on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Sponsored by Debatewise, IDEA, and the British Council, the panel began forming weeks before the conference, gathering young voices from around the world to weigh in on topics being discussed by world leaders. This effort was very successful, as 1,000 debaters from over 130 different countries joined together.
And the success of the GYP has not gone unnoticed; international leaders and individuals alike have recognized the inspiration of this project. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPPC and Nobel Peace Prize winner, expressed how "this promises to be an effective forum for spreading awareness and serving as a catalyst for energizing our society.” One blogger from the Guardian.co.uk wrote, "the Global Youth Panel has some inspiring stories from Iranian debaters who bypassed web censoring software and a Bhutan whose team persuaded their ISP to offer extra bandwidth. Meanwhile a coordinator in Cambodia gave IT training to 30 kids from 'some of the poorest, most destitute families in Cambodia' so they could take part."
Perhaps some of the most notable attention the panel is receiving comes from its use of a revolutionary collaboration software, Google Wave, which was only recently introduced. David Crane, founder of Debatewise, commented that "Google Wave has significant advantages over a traditional wiki for bringing new participants into the fold. As a result, we had healthy, live debates on a global scale, giving a voice to youth around the planet in an international forum." Co-founder of Google Wave, Lars Rasmussen, was "delighted" at the success this technology brought to the GYP, and would like to see it further "tackle important global issues like climate change across geographies and cultures."
Read more about how the Global Youth Panel utilized this technology on the Google Wave Blog. For more information on the panel, and to view recent debates, click here.