Student Story
19 June 2019

Student Represents Canada at the Y7 Summit in Paris

Marissa Fortune was selected by Young Diplomats of Canada to represent the country at the Y7 Summit, held in Paris from 10-14 June.  In addition to pursuing a Master of Development Studies, she completed an internship with the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) providing operational support to reinforce the international community’s security and justice sector reform capacity. Her current research is focused around the Women, Peace and Security agenda and larger issues of gender equality, conflict and peacebuilding processes.

As a student of international development, participating at the Y7 Summit was an amazing opportunity for me, and one that I did not take lightly. Prior to the Summit, my team and I engaged in a nation-wide consultation and met with several politicians, diplomats and former G7 organisers to ensure that we were as prepared as possible and that we were taking into account the rich diversity of perspectives present in Canada’s youth population. 

This year, the theme of the conference was combating inequalities for a fair future. We addressed inequalities in relation to four key areas: economic, technological, gender and climate. I was a member of the gender inequalities working group and our goal was to draft recommendations for the action that we wanted to see the G7 take this August. Since my main area of academic focus is on gender and conflict, I was extremely excited to participate in this working group and made it my mission to lobby for a feminist vision of the G7, one that fully incorporates the values of intersectionality and inclusivity. 

What impressed me most about my experience at the Y7 Summit was the people. I had the opportunity to meet and engage with so many interesting, inspiring and truly incredible young people from all over the world; youth who are passionate, driven and actively striving to better their communities. Although we had differing views on many issues, we all had common goals and learned to collaborate with one another through consensus building. The relationships we were able to build over the course of the week and the network we created is something that I am extremely grateful for and proud of. 

Although the Summit is over, the work is only just beginning. We intend to continue our advocacy and push forward our recommendations however possible. The Canadian delegation will continue to meet with key stakeholders in the lead up to Biarritz to present the work that we did at the Y7 and ensure that the youth perspective is taken into account at the G7 level. We all have a responsibility to promote a fair future, and I am grateful to have been given this platform to contribute to the conversation at a global level. 

The Youth7 Summit is an annual conference that allows young people to directly influence global policymakers by making recommendations to the leaders of the G7. Each year, youth delegations from each of the G7 countries meet to discuss the international issues that are most relevant to young people. The goal of the Summit is to draft a Final Communiqué or call to action that is presented to the G7 leaders. This year, the G7 will be held in Biarritz, France from the 24th to the 27th of August. 

Photo credit: Adrien Thibault and Open Diplomacy