For Griffith Business School honours student Bradley McConachie, the 2013 G20 Youth Summit in Russia was an education in every sense of the word. Griffith communication student Janna Mallon and Keren Papier, an honours student with the Griffith Health Group, shared this inspirational sentiment.

All three returned to Queensland at the end of the seven-day forum last month confident they can contribute to and get involved when Brisbane hosts the G20 Summit in November 2014. “This is just the beginning of the contribution Griffith University students can continue to make to such a great event,” Keren Papier said.

The three engaged with students from all over the world debating and discussing issues currently facing the countries in the Group of Twenty. The event was built around a youth summit, a conference and the international young parliamentarian debate.

More on Griffith University and the G20 Summit in Brisbane in 2014

The St Petersburg summit incorporated round-table discussions of five key topics: Entrepreneurial climate for youth; Family and Career opportunities for young people; Vision of the school and university of the future; The city of tomorrow; The tax system of tomorrow.

Ministerial duties

For two days Bradley acted as Minister of Education for the conference committee discussing what an ideal global education system should look like and the ways to get there.

“This was a great challenge with so many different perspectives and priorities from such vastly different cultures,” Bradley says. “It is from these discussions that I believe I learnt most during the summit. It was not so much the content as how we got there.

“To learn from others about how their education system works and to debate issues and come to a common place is exactly what diplomacy is all about.

“To be able to remove myself from the classroom and gain an international understanding from other students is something I will have with me for a long time after I graduate.”

Janna and Keren took on two of three ‘journalist’ roles appointed for the summit, giving them access to the full gamut of events.

“This role enabled us to take part in all of the discussions and debates being held at this forum,” Janna says. “We updated the G20 Youth Forum’s social media sites on the progress of the communiqué.

“In addition to this, we each got to interview a government representative, a business entrepreneur and an academic university member and share our interviews on the G20 Youth Forum’s main website.”

The conference also provided a platform for academics to come together and share their latest research findings and discuss future research directions. The parliamentarians’ debate brought together ministers and other members of parliament from the G20 countries to discuss relevant issues.

“As students in health and politics and as aspiring academics, this allowed us the chance to listen to the various research topics being presented,” Keren says.

“What’s more, being able to interview academics as part of the role provided us with the opportunity to make future research links between Griffith University and other top ranking universities.

“We are so grateful for having had the opportunity to represent Griffith University and are very proud to be a part of this distinguished academic institution.”