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4.11.2019 | Pukhraj Ranjan |

HundrED Youth Summit Fostering Youth Engagement And Leadership In Educational Conversations

As part of the HundrED Innovation Summit, we continue to strengthen our platform to foster youth engagement and leadership in educational conversations. For the first time ever, we organized and hosted the HundrED Youth Summit in partnership with the city of Helsinki, bringing together a small group of HundrED Youth Ambassadors from 6 countries and Helsinki Youth Council members to discuss education’s potential and how to be a part of its change together.

In a commitment to help K12 innovations spread cross borders, we annually release a collection of 100 inspiring innovations with a goal to help improve education and inspire a grassroots movement by encouraging pedagogically sound, ambitious innovations to spread across the world.

While transforming the world of education is not an easy task, we are committed to listening to the real beneficiaries of our work - students. In 2018, we released a report Every Child to Flourish, where the youth need for education change was clearly highlighted. Showcasing viewpoints of 322 young people, under the age of eighteen from nineteen countries across the world, the findings indicated a disconnect between students’ expectations and experience of education. Critically, the survey revealed that 83% of students want a greater focus on skills that prepare them for their future careers.

Hearing from children worldwide, we see great potential and power in their voice. Committed to fostering youth engagement and leadership in educational conversations, at the beginning of 2019, we launched the HundrED Youth Ambassadors program to bring together an active community of students from around the world who are passionate about education’s potential and want to be a part of its change together.

Maria Dörr, an 18-year-old HundrED Youth Ambassador from Germany shares,

There are many different things that youth leaders can do to change education. I think first and foremost, the act of giving a voice to the concerns and wants of the students. Even though education is about the youth, many times they do not influence the education system. I am inspired by youth leaders around the world like Malala, Greta Thunberg, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (youth director of Earth Guardians) and Payal Jangid, who have paved the way for us to take the lead.

With nearly 80 youth ambassadors from almost 30 countries, HundrED Youth Ambassadors have been meeting online every month to discuss key trends in education, sharing local insights, leading projects and building a community of future young leaders for education. We have further released nearly 20 articles and hosted a Twitter Chat sharing youth voice on the HundrED media platforms.

In one of the calls, Stefan Paunovic, a 17-year-old HundrED Youth Ambassador from Serbia  shared, “we came to the conclusion that Youth Ambassadors are supposed to be the voice of the international youth and to show people in their own countries that there is a problem with education almost everywhere in the world, there is no shame in that, and that we should try to do something about it.”

Today, on 4th November 2019, we hosted our first HundrED Youth Summit in partnership with the city of Helsinki, bringing together a small group of HundrED Youth Ambassadors and Helsinki Youth Council members to further these young leaders voice and leadership.

The event will be opened by Pia Pakarinen, Deputy Mayor for Education for Helsinki City and an advocate for youth leadership within Helsinki and globally. Throughout the summit, the Youth Ambassadors and Helsinki Youth Council members went through a series of workshops by the HundrED Innovators focusing on activating their leadership, creating and sharing a bold voice and connecting with a global community. Thank you to Supriya Kumari and Pratibha Pathak from Slam Out Loud (India) and Larry Berger & Chanessa Schuler from Youth Express (USA) for helping activate our young leader's voices through different formats!

We ended the day by inviting the city of Helsinki to join us for a Youth Leadership panel hosted by Chaiwat ”August” Kiattrakoolchai, Secretary of the Helsinki Youth Council. The panel comprised of future young leaders, Ruhan Anjan Kartik (Finland), Albany Parra (Venezuela), Vrinda Gandhi (India) from the HundrED Youth Ambassadors and Alma Rantalaiho, Iiris Kuparinen, Tilda Lassila from the Helsinki Youth Council communities.

The conversations explored the need and potential that activating youth leadership and youth voice has in our schools and classrooms. The event was a part of the Helsinki Education Week program and was open to other students, teachers, parents, and policy-makers.

It was truly inspiring and re-energizing to see how much the young leaders care about education and wish to take ownership of their own future. The youth leaders led a World Cafe activity for the event participants where the intention was to co-create solutions around challenges that young people face around the world!

At HundrED, we also wanted this first event to inspire both the young future and current leaders to keep striving for excellence.

No better person could have done a better job at it than Pekka Hyysalo, a young Finnish freestyle skier who met with a serious, life-threatening injury during one of his skiing trips back in 2010. From being completely paralyzed, today he travels around Finland and the world inspiring young people to believe in their own leadership to create a life that is true to their dreams. Pekka's FightBack has the mission is to support people with head trauma in their rehabilitation that often takes a lifetime. Their goal is also to increase awareness of safety in daily activities and especially in sport. We were truly mesmerized by this young leader's presence and hope to see him achieve great heights in the future!

As for the HundrED Youth Ambassadors, they will continue to engage in events throughout the week as well as at the HundrED Innovation Summit. At the Summit, we wish to embrace the idea of student leadership and will hear from young representatives of innovations like Global Minds Initiative (Pittsburgh, USA), Slam Out Loud (Delhi, India) and THINK Global School (New York, USA).


A big thank you to Supercell for opening their doors and hosting us, as well as to Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell, for dropping in and sharing his leadership with our young leaders. To know more about the HundrED Youth Ambassadors community, click here.

Photo Credits: Petri Anttila Photography