USF World News

My experience representing USF at the World Bank Youth Summit, By Sean Schrader

young white male standing in a dark suit on a stage infront of the welcome to the 10th edition of the World Bank Group Summit welcome sign

TAMPA, FL (September 19, 2023) --  At first glance, one might mistakenly think of the World Bank as simply a large credit union, where every customer receives a fancy bank card. However, it is, in fact, a far more intricate organization with a truly global perspective.

In May, I had the privilege of representing USF and the United States as a delegate at the 2023 World Bank Youth Summit. This event brought together approximately 300 young leaders from around the world to delve deeper into the World Bank's activities, particularly its role in financing projects aimed at addressing challenges such as environmental sustainability, aging infrastructure, and the protection of human rights.

Essentially the World Bank acts as a financial partner, assisting developing countries in tackling their current challenges through means such as loans or grants. Each country the World Bank collaborates with presents a unique set of issues and circumstances. However, regardless of the specific project, the organization maintains a strong commitment to aligning its efforts with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which encompass a wide range of initiatives designed to address present-day challenges to make possible the well-being of future generations.

The central theme of the 2023 summit revolved around the concept of initiating local solutions to drive global change. This resonated with me personally, as it can be overwhelming to grapple with the global challenges we face. Yet, breaking these challenges down into actionable steps that individuals can take to have an impact is not only achievable but also vital. Furthermore, recognizing that each community faces its own distinct challenges underscores the importance of empowering local leaders to effect change in their own unique contexts and set examples for other communities to follow.

To put these principles into practice, the summit organized a unique case challenge competition where young participants formed teams to address challenges affecting various regions of the world. My team focused on pressing issues in the Indo-Pacific region and our hypothetical scenario charged us with making a compelling case for World Bank investment in the region. Our proposal centered on investing in regenerative energy resources, such as solar panels and windmills, to protect the environment while simultaneously creating job opportunities for overseeing the maintenance and implementation of this technology. Reflecting on this case challenge, I gained valuable insights into the World Bank's investment evaluation process and how to assess proposed projects from multiple angles.

Attending the World Bank Youth Summit afforded me the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the World Bank's commitment to youth engagement. This commitment extends beyond special events and includes opportunities to ensure recent college graduates can access career opportunities. Notably, the World Bank Young Professionals Program (YPP) offers young leaders from around the world a five-year employment contract, allowing them to develop personal leadership skills and expand their knowledge across various sectors.

Participating in the World Bank Youth Summit was an incredible experience, and being surrounded by international youth leaders made me appreciate how fortunate I was to have this opportunity. Often, when speaking with students, there's a misconception that attending international events like these is only possible for those who are well-connected or achieving extraordinary feats. However, I've come to realize that this belief couldn't be further from the truth. It's the small steps taken within a community to create genuine, meaningful, and lasting change that are the most inspiring and relatable. Fortunately, for students at USF, there are abundant opportunities to address global challenges at the local level in the Tampa Bay community, and it all starts with finding a cause that ignites your passion.

-- Sean Schrader