"It was one of the most inspiring and unique experiences in my life," said Sezin Pasoğlu of Turkey, one of the 20 students from all over the world who together sought ways to tackle the global economic downturn. A senior student at Ankara's Middle East Technical University, or ODTÜ, Pasoğlu dedicates her spare time to social-responsibility projects. The adventure that led her to the London summit began when she ran across the Global Changemakers project just two days before the application deadline.
"I thought this project was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise my voice and create some awareness on a global scale," Pasoğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. "As soon as I learned that my application was accepted and I would have the chance to represent the youth of Turkey, the whole process became even more exciting."
Before her trip, Pasoğlu visited several high schools in Turkey and shared ideas with their students about the financial crisis and its impacts. She also attended a meeting at the Treasury Undersecretariat and met officials from nearly all of the country’s public institutions to gain a better understanding of the economic situation in Turkey.
In London, Pasoğlu met with 19 other young people to discuss world problems and try to offer ways to build a better future. "Even though it made things easier for us not to have to make decisions and just to think about every single issue, I believe the brainstorming with the Global Changemakers was successful in at least one way: young activists listened to each other and tried to understand every country's issues," she said. "For five days, from early morning to late at night, we explained the current statuses of our countries to each other and tried to produce solutions because we all knew that the global crisis Ğ such a big issue, having effects all around the world Ğ can only be resolved together in unity."
That sentiment was echoed by the leaders of the students’ countries, who publicly acknowledged that global issues require global solutions.
Unable to attend summit
Though the 20 Global Changemakers were, in the end, unable to attend the G20 summit due to the tight schedule of the meeting, some had the chance to meet with their prime ministers on the sidelines of the summit. Among their most exciting experiences were meeting U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the host of the London summit, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the famous 10 Downing Street residence. "They made us feel we are important and that our efforts could really make a difference," said Pasoğlu.
After days of debate, the 20 young people submitted a final declaration on ways to tackle the financial crisis to British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. According to Pasoğlu, the proposed decisions by the world leaders at the G20 summit set some useful guidelines, but they are open to discussion and not fully satisfactory.
"We know we can't only be satisfied with just disapproving of actions taken and blaming our leaders if nothing is solved," she said. "In our respective communities, wherever we can have our voices heard, we will keep on raising awareness and debating with each other in order to make change happen and share the benefits in the future."
"As a young citizen of Turkey, a university student and a socially responsible leadership candidate, this event gave me the will to work for a better future," Pasoğlu said. "I believe this is the only way our nation can improve both itself and the globe in the near future."