Design For Change Celebrates Young Changemakers With It's First Ever I CAN Children's Global Summit

13.12.2019 | BY ASMA HUSSAIN
“If we are to create peace in our world, we must begin with our children.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Children from over 40 countries around the world poured into Rome at the end of November 2019 to celebrate the first ever, all faith, inclusive ‘I CAN Children’s Global Summit’! More than 2,500 of these young superheroes, aged 7 to 17 years old, were the protagonists of this inspiring four-day event filled with celebration, creativity and sharing, that culminated in a special private audience with Pope Francis inside Vatican City’s Aula Paula VI Hall.


The Opportunity

2019 marks the crossroads of four global forces for good and presented the perfect timing to host this Children’s Summit. First, it responded to words of the Laudato Si – Pope Francis's encyclical which suggests the purpose of education should be to help young people become the builders of a more united and peaceful world. Second, it aligns with the world’s 2030 education agenda which places student agency and wellbeing at the forefront. Third, it marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and it is only fitting that the world recommits to his message – Be the Change you wish to see in the world. And finally, it celebrates 10 years of the Design for Change movement.


The Movement

All of these empowered change agents came as a part of Design for Change (DFC), the international movement, born in India, that offers children a simple 4 step framework (Feel-Imagine-Do-Share) to put into practice their ideas to change the world. Over the past 10 years, DFC have received over 30,000 solutions from children using FIDS to design solutions to some of their greatest challenges. (


The Event

The four days, from 27th to 30th November, gave children an opportunity to share and celebrate their stories of change, interact and learn from children from other countries, which they may otherwise not have encountered. Friendships were formed and inspiration was ignited through the activities, dances, games and ceremonies throughout their time in Italy.


New Global Initiatives

During the Summit, Design for Change announced the ‘I Can Marketplace’, an initiative that addresses the Global Goals by offering a curated set of solutions by children that can be scaled. Also launched was the new ‘Rainforest Kids Challenge’, that offers children, aged between 8 and 13 years, the chance to be at the forefront of rainforest protection, developing projects and solutions according to the Design for Change’s methodology.


The Partners

The ambitious event was organized by FIDAE (Federazione Istituti di Attività Educative), the OIEC (Catholic International Education Office), the USG (Unione Superiori Generali), the City of Rome, the Vatican and Design for Change.

The Outcome

Why is this message so urgent and important for our children?

It encouraged them to believe that the tiny corner of the planet that they inhabit can be made more beautiful, more just and more equal. More importantly, it taught them that they do not need to be mere spectators to change. They are the initiators, the participants and the overseers of it.

Very simply – they CAN! 


To know more about Design for Change, check out their innovation page.