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One in six young people age 18 to 29 have stopped working since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Global Initiative on Decent

Jobs for Youth, ILO


7 - 9 June 2021

*Prior registration required, registration has now closed

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on young people’s livelihoods and employment prospects.

There is a real risk of a lost generation. 

What is unique about YMCA's Youth-Led Solutions Initiative is that we equip young people to go out and form their own Solutions Teams to address employment challenges in their own communities, and apply for seed-funding to launch them.

Educators, activists, business leaders, policymakers, indigenous communities, philanthropists, artists, influencers, NGO staff, volunteers and community members were all invited to join us, with sessions tailored to support capacity building and a youth-led solutions process. 


The Youth-Led Solutions Summit: The Future of Work of 7-9 June 2021 empowered young people with knowledge about how the world of work is changing, the importance of agility, and the Sustainable Development Goals connected to decent work. The Summit also built young people's understanding of employment pathways, skills, innovations, entrepreneurship opportunities, and impacting systems change, focussing on three economies – the green economy, the care economy, and the creative economy. 


A constantly updated schedule was available on our event platform. 


The primary focus of the Youth-Led Solutions Summit: The Future of Work was SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.


The summit also explored the connections between SDG8 and other SDGs.


Post-Summit, young leaders were called to come together in teams to design solutions - or create new innovative opportunities - in these economies by leveraging technology, and their newfound knowledge, networks and experiences.



Over the three days of the Summit there were four plenary sessions (available with Spanish and French translation), interspersed with interactive breakout sessions, and space for networking one-to-one or in groups, with a host of resources and training materials, all housed on our event platform.

Registrants were expected to attend a minimum of two-thirds of the event – which is about 12 hours in total – to be eligible to apply for seed-funding and to receive a certificate formally acknowledging their practical commitment to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Each plenary session hosted a flagship panel discussion with experts and young leaders from different sectors, with keynote talks, presentations, interviews and messages - content to inspire, educate and make people take action.

Interactive Breakout Sessions included a host of workshops from content partners and experts from around the world, facilitated roundtable discussions, group networking sessions, deep-dive panels and Q&A sessions.

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The ILO estimates that the transition to energy sustainability by 2030 in the countries that signed up to the Paris Agreement could create 25 million new ‘green jobs’.

Globally, the dynamism of the cultural and creative industries contributes to creating approximately 30 million jobs.

 2.1 billion people were in need of care in 2015, and by 2030, this number is expected to reach 2.3 billion, driven by an additional 200 million older persons and children.


A constantly updated schedule, converted automatically to your timezone and  links to add to your diary, is available on our event platform. Please note, registration has now closed.




Work Environment

Opening Plenary

4pm CEST

Join us for the first half of the opening of the Summit, featuring inspiring keynote talks and a panel discussion.

Breakout Sessions

In between the first and second part of the Opening Plenary, take a deep dive and join young leaders and colleagues around the world.

Opening Plenary (Cont)

We close out the opening plenary with the ways you can make the most of the Summit ahead and what's to come!

Plenary 2

10am CEST

We bring together leaders who are driving the future of work agenda from around the world.

Breakout Sessions

Plenary 3

5pm CEST

We bring together leaders who are driving the future of work agenda from around the world.

Breakout Sessions

Closing Plenary

2pm CEST

We reflect on some of the takeaways, and look ahead to how you can jump into action with YMCA.

Breakout Sessions

In between the first and second part of the Closing Plenary, take a deep dive and join young leaders and colleagues around the world.

Closing Plenary (Cont)

The process is just beginning, as we draw to a close, it is now over to you.


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Jayathma Wickramanayake

UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

Appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. Originally from Sri Lanka, Jayathma has worked extensively on youth development and participation. 

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Carlos Madjri Sanvee

Secretary General, World YMCA

Carlos first joined World YMCA in January 1999 as Executive for Finance & Administration, a position he held until 2007. He then worked as General Secretary of the Africa Alliance of YMCAs from 2007 until 2018. From 2011 to 2018, he was also acting as a part-time Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the World YMCAs.

During the 19th YMCA World Council in Chiang Mai, Thailand in July 2018, Carlos became the first African to be elected Secretary General of World YMCA.

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Maria Rahamagi

Founder, Edumus

Maria is a Junior Achievement student company Alumnus from Estonia. Inspired by her experience contributing to the field of Education in the JA Alumni network, she started Edumus. Edumus enables schools to engage working professionals in teaching – one grade, one subject at a time.

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Nathan Candaner

Co-Founder & CEO, Jobzmall

Nathan Candaner is the Co-Founder and CEO of JobzMall, the world’s fastest-growing career community for Generation Z. After struggling to land a job himself while he was in college after using traditional job boards, he realized how disconnected hiring companies are to the Gen Z population looking for jobs. This inspired the launch of JobzMall in 2018.

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Kehkashan Basu

Founder-President, Green Hope Foundation

Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, 20-year-old Kehkashan Basu is an iconic youth leader, global influencer, environmentalist, champion of women and children’s rights, TEDx speaker, Climate Reality Mentor, author, musician, peace and sustainability campaigner.

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Salvatore Nigro

CEO, Junior Achievement

Salvatore Nigro specialises in multi-stakeholder partnerships, workforce development and entrepreneurship programmes. He joined JA Europe in 2020 after having spent twelve years at Education for Employment (EFE). As CEO of EFE-Europe and Vice-President of EFE-Global, Salvatore led EFE’s business development, partnership and programme management in Europe to support operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Dr. Marco Tavanti

Director and Professor

University of San Francisco

Dr. Marco Tavanti is Professor of ethical leadership and nonprofit administration at the University of San Francisco’s School of Management. He is President and CEO of SDG Services, affiliated to the Sustainable Capacity International Institute and the World Engagement Institute.

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Hana Sahatqija

Youth Engagement Lead, UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited

Hana worked as the Program Manager for UNICEF’s Innovations Lab in Kosovo. Her expertise lies at the nexus of innovation, civic engagement, skills, and employability of youth. She joined the UNICEF team in 2015, prior to which she worked at the World Bank, UNDP, and consulted for bilaterals and NGOs on social development issues and impact evaluations.​


Emilio Granados

World Economic Forum, Head of Global Risks and Geopolitical Agenda

Emilio is the lead author of the Global Risks Report. He has 15 years of experience in international economics, political strategy, risk analysis and foresight, working with all types of public and private institutions worldwide. 

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Patricia Pelton

President, World YMCA

Elected as World YMCA's first female President in 2018, Patricia Pelton has held senior management and leadership roles in several organizations, including the Northern Lights Health Authority of Alberta, the Health Quality Council of Alberta, the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors, and the Arctic Winter Games. She is closely affiliated with YMCA Calgary, and has 25 years of volunteer experience at YMCA Local, National and International levels. She is a Past Chair of YMCA Canada. 

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Guy Ryder

Director General
International Labour Organization

Guy Ryder first joined the International Labour Organization in 1998 as Director of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities and, from 1999, as Director of the Office of the Director-General. In September 2010, Guy Ryder came back to the ILO in Geneva as Executive Director, responsible for international labour standards and fundamental principles and rights at work.

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Daisy Moran

Volunteer, YMCA of the USA

Daisy is a nonprofit professionalfurthering the YMCA's mission at the local, regional, national, and global level, providing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategies, operational and policy leadership. Daisy represented YMCA at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and on the Board of Directors  for the WHO/UN  Foundation ‘Global Youth Mobilization’.


Pierre Dubuc

Co-founder and CEO
Open Classrooms

Pierre Dubuc is the co-founder and CEO of OpenClassrooms, the leading online education platform in Europe, with more than 2 million unique visitors every month. 

 Pierre met Mathieu Nebra, the co-founder of the company, in 2001; both were teenagers then, curious about coding and computers. 

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Dr. Kevin Frey

C.E.O Generation Unlimited - UNICEF

Kevin joined Generation Unlimited as CEO in 2021 with diverse private and public sector experience as both an entrepreneur and an executive, spanning education, technology, human capital, and international development spheres. 
Kevin spent 15 years in the international and higher education sectors, most recently leading Canada’s top-ranked MBA program at the University of Toronto as the Managing Director.

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The primary focus of the Youth-Led Solutions Summit: The Future of Work is SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.


The summit will also explore the connections between SDG8 and other SDGs.

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