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Farah Mohamed (Bill Grimshaw for The Globe and Mail)
Farah Mohamed (Bill Grimshaw for The Globe and Mail)

Farah Mohamed

This summit of young women has something to teach the G20 Add to ...

Farah Mohamed is president and CEO of the G(irls)20 Summit. She and Canadian delegate Morgane Richer La Flèche spent last week at the summit in Moscow.

When they meet in St. Petersburg on Sept. 5, the G20 leaders will sit down to determine how they can collectively work together to improve the global economy. Not only will there be some new faces in the room since the last time they met, these 20 men and women will have a new tool from which to draw ideas – the recommendations of the 2013 G(irls)20 Summit delegates.

Over the course of one week (last week, June 14-20), just blocks away from the Kremlin, these young women learned how to strategize, use technology, lead, debate and design their own social-profit initiative. They met with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets and with President Vladimir Putin’s chief advisor Ksenia Yudaeva, and they heard from dozens of speakers from around the world, including businesswomen Arianna Huffington and Jennifer Buffett.

Organizations you would think would not have time for a group of 18 to 20-year-olds left energized by the creativity and potential these delegates exuded. Perhaps seeing the delegates as future employees, they could not get their business cards out fast enough. Imagine the leaders from Caterpillar, Norton Rose Fulbright, Google, Nike Foundation, the UN Foundation and Kinross listening intently to the questions posed by the delegates and then taking notes on further action.

Ours is not a summit for women by women to the benefit of women. Quite the opposite, actually: not only do we have among us amazing men who see the benefit of economically empowering women, we ourselves see the benefit of engaging men in our approach. I hope that the predominately male G20 will see this benefit as well, and figure out a way to maximize a resource that is 3.5 billion, or half the population of the world, in number.

What readers can expect when they visit www.girls20summit.com is to see a communiqué that is achievable. They will see the delegates in action – challenging speakers, one another and themselves. They will see a Canadian-seeded organization that has gone global – not just with talk, but with action.

Over the coming months we will work with the delegates to determine what initiative they will put in place to empower girls and women in their own countries and through a mentorship program with Google, we will facilitate conversations and partnerships that will change the world, one girl at a time.

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