The Global Shapers Community attended “World Economic Forum Special Meeting in Turkey: Unlocking Resources for Economic Growth” in September 2014. Global Shapers Community, an initiative of World Economic Forum, composed of network of Hubs which are led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievement and their drive to make a contribution to their communities.

As 50% of the world's population is under 27, Shapers are working hard to find solutions for the global problems of youth such as unemployment, low empowerment, access to education and barriers for entrepreneurship. 

Just before the World Economic Forum Meeting in Istanbul, The Coca-Cola Company, as one of our Global Community Partners, hosted around 35 global shapers from 17 different countries in their offices to discuss opportunities for unlocking resources for region’s youth. I was lucky enough to moderate a panel session with Ahmet İhsan Erdem, Vice President, Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Investment Support and Promotion Agency (“ISPAT”); Sinan Cem Şahin, Public Affairs and Communications Director, Coca-Cola Turkey, Caucasus & Central Asia; Aydan Olcer, Eurasia and Africa Group Corporate Affairs Manager and Panagiotis Madamopoulos-Moraris, Group Strategy Director, Agora Trading, and Global Shaper from Athens Hub. Regarding the panel topics, youth empowerment and youth unemployment were 2 key takeaways for me.

Firstly, my peers and I had the opportunity to discuss Turkey’s economy and investment opportunities with high level government officials. It was a unique experience for Global Shapers to exchange their views on the economy and investment climate with business leaders and government officials. That was a substantial opportunity for Shapers in the panel, who were either young professionals, entrepreneurs or academics. For sure, irrespective of their background, each and every Shaper in the room had a shared goal: improving the state of the world via finding solutions to the global challenges of young people at all levels.

A project presentation during the second half of the panel triggered shapers to find out new tools to reach our common goal. Panagiotis, our friend from Global Shapers Athens Hub, made a fantastic presentation on the project called “Re-Generation” which seeks to bridge the gap between talented and ambitious young people and companies which have been suffering from talent deficit. “Re-Generation” is an inspiring project to deal with youth unemployment. As Panagiotis says, “Athens Hub rallied 23 partners, 120 volunteers, and over 670,000€ in pro bono services to design a solid plan that can step-change the internship culture in Greece and create sustainable growth”. It is great to see that they already secured 58 internship placements for 2014-15 with different companies and envision up to 2,000 placements until 2019. “Re-Generation” started nationally in Greece however it was exciting to see that at least more than 4-5 Hubs are willing to adopt this project in their own region.

To close, I would like to say that this event -including a panel discussion and networking meeting- hosted by Coca-Cola was a great experience for Shapers to engage with leaders from business and government sectors and helped us a lot to take a step in the fight against youth unemployment. Such opportunities are very much appreciated by our young and diverse community.

Can Naiboğlu is the Istanbul Hub Curator of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of World Economic Forum.