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YLS 2023 - Opening Session

Replay the session and read a summary below


The 8th edition of the Youth and Leaders Summit began before the official starting time, at 9 AM on January 16th 2023. The organizing team was taking care of the final details, as the technicians checked all the connections for sound and image. Little by little, the Boutmy amphitheater seats were occupied, so that everyone was ready to appreciate Guillermina Loyola, one of the two student artists at the event, when she got up to the stage and sang while playing the guitar.

Amidst the applause for the performance, Mark Maloney, PSIA’s executive director, emerged to formally inaugurate the event and celebrate the diversity of the invited leaders. He introduced Mathias Vicherat, Sciences Po’s Ppresident. Mr. Vicherat’s opening remarks focused on the role university has to play in shaping our future as a society. “Dear students, we want you to raise your voice. All leaders need to be challenged by youth”, he said.

Mathias Vicherat insisted on the importance of academic freedom: “It needs to be protected, promoted”. He recalled the fight for Fariba Adelkhah's liberation, a Sciences Po international relations researcher.

The World at Crossroads, Existential Risks to the Global Order is the theme of this year’s summit edition. As we discuss ways to overcome those risks, Sciences Po’s president called us to “think outside the box”, for “we believe that teaching and research can change the world”.

The floor was then passed to Arancha González. The Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs started her speech by stating that “these are human made risks”. The Youth and Leaders Summit brings the opportunity to debate and express divergent opinions.

"We have created those risks, and therefore we have the power to harness them. It is in our hands. There is no fatalism about those risks. [...] This is an intergenerational dialogue. As there is no fatalism, there is also a responsibility on the younger generation to lead, to find fair solutions to these challenges. Since at the end of the day, the future is yours." - Arancha González

Now it was time for the panels to begin. Throughout the day, students and leaders discuss the economic fragmentation, the use of nuclear weapons, the ways to protect our oceans, the energy transition, and artificial intelligence governance.

(c) An article by Lola Lopez Lungo, a student in the Joint Master in Journalism and International Affairs.

More information about the Youth & Leaders Summit 2023.