The Global People’s Summit is organized by the Humanity Lab Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Office of Partnerships. It provides a platform for people and organizations around the world, especially the youth, to participate via a digital platform in the conversation to make change happen in society. It fosters collaborations, shares best practices, promotes innovation, builds community, celebrates success, influences global agendas, and finds new ways to translate vision into action. Anyone is free to log in to discuss the world’s most pressing issues as they affect them, their communities, countries and the world. The Global People’s Summit is an official part of the Global Goals Week schedule.
Originator of the Global People’s Summit, Hazami Barmada, stated: "We amplify messages of people around the world and conversations and connect dots in the virtual space to enable making the world a better place a reality. Far too often the conversations around social impact happen in exclusive spaces, so people that have the privilege and the luxury to have access to passports and ability to travel have the ability to influence conversations. The change-the-world conversation should not be bound or limited to exclusivity."
The event, aligning with the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City, held at Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, and attracted students, the university community, non-governmental organizations, and development partners. It had the theme, “Reimagine Humanity: Changing the Status Quo,”
In his welcome address, Vice Chancellor, Covenant University, Professor Aaron Atayero, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof Akan Williams, expressed the institution’s delight to be partnering with reputable organizations to foster youth development, which aligns with the university’s core goal of raising a new cadre of leadership in Nigeria. He said the institution is committed to making the youth to develop self-belief, which will enable them become change agents and play a pivotal role in changing the narrative about the country.
Stanbic IBTC Bank, the official partner to CYCDI InnoCreativa Youth Hub, made a presentation on “Funding Creativity and Innovation to achieve SDGs.” Head, Personal Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Nkolika Okoli, said Goal 3 of the SDGs and thrust of this year’s summit, ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ is in line with the Stanbic IBTC Group’s status as an end-to-end financial services solutions provider. In this role, the group caters for the needs of its clients at every stage of life through bespoke products and services. The bank’s product, the Stanbic BluEdge Youth Account, for instance, is targeted at helping students and the youth to have a healthy start in life by cultivating a savings culture very early in life.
She emphasized that having a desired future entails being financially literate, which is essential to taking informed decisions and actions, adding that the Group is ready and willing to provide support and forge partnerships towards the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
The session, which included a panel discussion by students of Covenant University on the imperative of avoiding drug abuse, also dissected such issues as Decent Work and Economic Growth, Promotion of Health and Wellbeing, Development of Innovation and Creativity and Application of the University’s Core Values to Achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2030. Live sessions were also beamed from New York.
Foluke Michael, the CEO and Project Director of Creative Youth Community Development Initiative, noted that while access to high-level UN discussions is exclusive to world leaders, the Global People’s Summit leverages technology to give everyone a seat at the table and democratize access to information. In its second year, the online summit creates a space for real-time conversations that inspire and lead to innovative partnerships that catalyze action for the SDGs, an agenda for global development established by the UN in 2015.
“The ambition, scale and scope of the Global Agenda adopted by world leaders in 2015 necessitate that it becomes everyone’s agenda, an agenda for us as individuals, for civil society, private sector, academia, local and national governments, international and faith-based organizations,” said Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information, United Nations. “We are always looking for ways to engage more people around the world in the work of the UN and generating awareness about and support for the SDGs. I welcome the opportunity to listen to input and ideas coming from those who want to be part of the conversation but are unable to be at the UN during UNGA,” he said.
As the future belongs to the youth, Okoli said Stanbic IBTC Bank is dedicating resources towards addressing their needs. Such commitment necessitated the introduction of such initiatives as the Stanbic IBTC Youth Leadership Series, a youth empowerment motivational series, and the Stanbic IBTC Business Leadership Series, an annual event that facilitates the sharing of knowledge and information among local and international participants who are drawn from key sectors of the economy.
“The popular saying that children are the leaders of tomorrow, as cliché as it may sound, holds true. But for us at Stanbic IBTC, we believe that the youths are the leaders for today and because we understand just how easily one can get distracted or discouraged by the different challenges we face in our lives, our youths therefore need to be aptly and constantly guided, mentored, inspired and motivated, not just to attain their goals but in order for them to actualize their full potential,” Okoli added.