The countdown begins ! YMCA at the Global Youth Summit, 23-25 April

Date: 22 April 2021

The countdown begins!  YMCA at the Global Youth Summit, 23-25 April


Young people from the global YMCA movement and across the world are coming together to call on governments and brands to prioritise young people in their response to the impact of COVID-19. Over 150 YMCA young leaders will join over 1000 live attendees – and thousands more following live-streaming – at the Global Youth Summit, a unique virtual event on 23-25 April designed with young people, for young people.


The Summit will feature youth activists from hundreds of countries, three plenary sessions with high-profile speakers, and over 70 hours of content, delivered by some 150 expert speakers from over 40 partner organizations. The Summit will be available to anyone, via broadcast on and in five core languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian.


“As we look towards a post-pandemic future, the Global Youth Summit is a critical moment for young people to share experiences and solutions that will inspire and support young people to take an active part in the COVID-19 pandemic recovery, within their communities and beyond”, said Carlos Sanvee, World YMCA Secretary General. “And YMCA is proud to stand alongside its Big 6 partners and play a big role at this huge event.”


Breakout sessions will be delivered by the YMCAs of Madagascar, the Philippines and the USA, on topics ranging from managing finances for young people, the impact of job access for vulnerable young people, and the correlation between physical and mental health.


Daisy Moran, Director of Youth Achievement & Community Engagement at Two Rivers YMCA, Illinois, USA and the World YMCA Youth Representative on the Global Youth Mobilization Board, joined climate activist Greta Thunberg in helping to launch the Summit at a WHO Press Conference on the Global Youth Mobilization on 19 April.


She said: “This is a pivotal moment for our generation. Our experiences, creativity and passions will inform policies and decisions affecting all our lives, and I hope by coming together at the Summit we can start to build back better from the pandemic. Together, as campaigners, members of youth focused organisations, global health actors, and volunteers from around the world, we are calling for action now.”


WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who will open the Summit, said: “WHO is committed to ensuring that the voice, energy and solutions offered by youth are at the centre of the world’s recovery from COVID-19. We want this Summit to fuel wide-ranging actions led by young people to address the challenges their own communities face. We are providing a global platform for their wisdom and ideas.”



Context I: the Global Youth Mobilization


The Summit is organized by the Global Youth Mobilization, a new, global initiative to engage youth in solutions to address the negative impacts of COVID-19 on young people. It is led by the Big 6 Youth Organizations – representing more than 250 million young people around the world – in partnership with the World Health Organization and United Nations Foundation.


The Global Youth Mobilization and its supporters are calling on governments, businesses, and policy makers to back the initiative and commit to prioritising young people in their policies and investing in their futures.

Hundreds of millions of young people have had to put their lives on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 90 per cent of young people have reported increased mental anxiety during the pandemic; more than one billion students in almost every country have been impacted by school closures; 80 per cent of young women are worried about their future; and one in six young people worldwide have lost their jobs during the pandemic.[1]


The mobilization is being supported by Governments, UN agencies, Royal Families, the European Commission, USAID, UNICEF and the UN Population Fund. More details, and further Government support, will be announced at the Global Youth Summit.



Context II: the Summit alongside funding opportunities for youth solutions


The Global Youth Mobilization has also launched a call for innovative, youth-led local solutions to the challenges our societies have been facing as a consequence of the pandemic. This Local Solutions funding will bypass traditional funding and support streams, to invest in young people and community grassroots organizations anywhere in the world. Young people and community organizations are able to apply for funding via one centralised platform, available in multiple languages. These local solutions will be judged and decided on by young people, for young people.


For more information, please visit:





For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact: John Phillips, Director of Communications, World YMCA,, +41 79 217 3376


Global Youth Summit – 23–25 April 2021


Social media handles


Media interview opportunities


These people are available for interview before, during and after the Global Youth Summit.


Ahmad Alhendawi, Chair of the Global Youth Mobilization Board

Ahmad Alhendawi is the 10th Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), becoming the youngest to helm one of the world’s leading educational youth movements. Prior to his appointment in WOSM, Mr. Alhendawi served as the first-ever United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth and the youngest senior official in the history of the UN. You can read his full biography here. Please contact to arrange an interview with Ahmad Alhendawi.

Carlos Sanvee, Secretary-General, World YMCA

Carlos Sanvee is the first African to be elected Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs. He took up the role in January 2019. He first joined World YMCA in January 1999, and was General Secretary of the Africa Alliance of YMCAs from 2007 until 2018. Read his full biography here. Please contact to arrange an interview with Carlos Sanvee.


Daisy Moran, Global Youth Mobilization Youth Board member

Daisy Moran is a youth activist based in Illinois, USA. An active member of the YMCA movement, she is currently Director of Youth Achievement & Community Engagement at Two Rivers YMCA. You can read her full biography here. Please contact to arrange an interview with Daisy Moran.


Further resources and information


[1] All sources are included in this paper: Young People Championing Post-Pandemic Futures: Policy Recommendations from the Big 6 Youth Organizations