Youth Forum Switzerland - January 2018

ISZL Youth Forum Switzerland Team

Led by a dedicated organising committee comprised of students and faculty, ISZL presented the first ever Youth Forum Switzerland.

Embracing Diversity - Empowering Lives

In January 2017, as part of their High School Humanities programme, a group of highly motivated students had the unique opportunity to participate in the globally recognised Open Forum in Davos. So inspired were they by their experience of attending panel discussions with some of the world's leading voices on pressing global issues that the students and their teachers had the ambitious idea of creating a similar event for students, to be hosted by ISZL.

One of 6 discussion panels with the guest speakers, moderated by ISZL students

Last week, after months in the planning, their ambition became a reality when, led by a dedicated organising committee comprised of students and faculty, ISZL presented the first ever Youth Forum Switzerland. Together with over 320 of our Middle and High School students, and 65 student visitors from 8 Swiss schools, 29 world-class guest speakers from as far away as Burundi, India and Brazil, came to Zug to share their expertise and participate as panelists and presenters on the theme of Embracing Diversity - Empowering Lives.

Zimbabwean singer Prudence Mabhena performed and gave an inspiring talk during the day

Speakers included Director General of Interpeace Scott Weber, Head of Swiss Public Affairs and Sustainability at the World Economic Forum Michele Mischler, Mayor of Zug Dolfi Muller, Swiss Paralympian Philipp Handler and Zimbabwean singer Prudence Mabhena. During the interactive day of 6 panel discussions and 6 speaker talks, students were encouraged to engage with the issues, express their ideas and connect with each other and the visiting guests.

Scott Weber, Director General of Interpeace, in a talk about building peaceful and inclusive societies

This incredible day, supported by the Fund for Excellence, provided a unique learning opportunity not only for those students directly involved with planning the Youth Forum Switzerland (YFS), but also for all students of economics, geography and politics. It provided opportunities for students to be involved in the planning, promotion and execution of a large scale event while providing interesting perspectives from leading change makers to inspire and empower them.

Students were able to connect with the guest speakers during the day and share ideas

One guest teacher who attended YFS shared, " The event really ticked all the boxes in terms of what I wanted for my students to get from the experience. I found brilliant links to the Diploma Programme Global Politics and Economics syllabus, and I was very pleased with what my students wrote as observations. I will make reference to many of the speakers' comments as real-world examples in lessons – great stuff!! I was able to make some good contacts that I'll explore later."

The sessions were interactive and engaging for all attendees

Numerous guest speakers stated that the event was one the best organised event they had ever attended, and remarked on how impressed they were by the students. Social media was an important tool during the day for sharing ideas, and Twitter was alive with #yfs2018:


Lead YFS 2018 organiser and Humanities Teacher Fabio Paron shares, "I think we can all be proud of the full power of our community on display in creating a memorable day for students across Central Switzerland." We look forward to the learning outcomes such a positive experience creates.  

The YFS 2018 Student Organisers

Video of all sessions will be available on the YFS YouTube channel over the coming days. For more information please go to


  • High School
  • Student Wellbeing
  • Youth Forum Switzerland

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