By Angela Walker
New Delhi, 14 July 2009 – Sixteen-year-old Sanjukta Pangi said today that the Prime Minister listened to her attentively to promote quality education for all Indian children when she met him at last week’s G8 summit in Rome.
The Orissa teenager was chosen by her peers, 14-year-old Narendra Kumar from Uttar Pradesh and 17-year-old Samuel Venkatesen from Tamil Nadu, to meet with Prime Minister Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
“I was very excited to meet the Prime Minister of our country. He was very friendly to me. I am proud to say that he is the Prime Minister of our country. He was very easy-going with me and talked freely,”
Sanjukta said today at a press conference in Delhi following the teen-agers’ return overnight from the J8, a parallel youth summit for 52 young people between the ages of 14-17 from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the UK , USA, Brazil, China, Egypt, Mexico and South Africa.
Sanjukta took the opportunity at her meeting with the Prime Minister to read the recommendations made by the J8 on education, climate change, the global financial crisis and poverty reduction in Africa. She says the prime minister listened patiently to her, and after she read the part of the J8 declaration on education, he promised to act on the young peoples’ suggestions.
All three Indian teens Samuel told reporters today that they appreciated meeting other young people from other countries at the J8 and having the opportunity to share their experiences and listen to the challenges and solutions from their peers around the globe.
“I learned how to identify with different young people -- we all came from different parts of the world, but we were united and worked together to understand the problems of every country,” Sanjukta says.
“We also made an action plan that we all can implement when we get home.” UNICEF supports the J8 to allow young people to have their voices heard by the G8 and non-G8 leaders to help influence policies that affect their lives.
“Everyone has a chance to have a say and build a foundation for the country,” UNICEF Representative Karin Hulshof told the Indian J8 participants following the press conference.
“We hope that you will bring many other young people on board. In ten to 15 years, you will be the leaders of the future."
To read more about J8 2009 globally, and read this year’s and previous declarations, please visit: www.j8summit.com.
For more information:
Chief of Communication, UNICEF India
Communication Specialist, UNICEF India
Communication Officer, UNICEF India