If G20 leaders took my idea on board and were prepared to make it happen, this is how it would change the world.

This was the theme when 20 university students came together today at Griffith’s Nathan campus for the launch of the Griffith G20 Scholars Program.

Students from nine countries and study areas ranging from economics to exercise science pitched their ideas to a university forum in Brisbane, hoping theirs could be developed and brought to a G20 committee later in the year.

Their pitches covered key G20 themes around the global economy, the ongoing impact of technology and how future cities can be structured to improve human life.

To mark their entry into the program, each student was presented with a specially-designed G20 Scholars satchel by Professor Sarah Todd, Pro Vice Chancellor (International).

“The G20 Scholars initiative presents students with a forum where they can genuinely discuss and debate how the G20 might influence their lives and the lives of people all over the world,” Professor Todd said.

“It also offers them an unprecedented platform to work with some of the university’s leading researchers to develop ideas that could be put to powerful and far-reaching effect.”

The 20 students entering the program were selected after Griffith International ran a competition inviting students across the university to submit an essay outlining their ideas. The essays explored issues around poverty, government defence budgets, happiness through education, heart disease, multilateral trade and why plastic waste could usurp climate change on the summit agenda.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg, congratulated Griffith University on taking the lead with the G20 Scholars Project.

“It’s a wonderful new initiative that will bring together Griffith students from a whole variety of backgrounds and countries,” he said. “We look forward to your G20 pitch in late September.

“The G20 leaders summit will be the biggest and most important meeting ever held in Australia.”

Griffith students from Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam were selected for the G20 Scholars Program which will involve them in a series of G20-related events in the build-up to November. The students will also participate in an intensive G20 course run by the university and a student leadership conference.

All scholars also receive student membership of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (QLD Branch), a $250 allowance to cover any expenses incurred through the scholarship and the Griffith G20 Scholars satchel. A certificate will be presented at the end of the program.