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LONDON ONTARIO STUDENTS WIN NATIONAL UNICEF JUNIOR 8 SUMMIT COMPETITION - Harper and Obama to be advised by Youth at 2009 G8 Summit

2009-05-10

Toronto/London, ON – May 7, 2009 – UNICEF Canada today announced that four London, Ontario high school students, all aged 16, from Saunders Secondary School are the winners of the annual UNICEF Junior 8 (J8) Summit competition and will travel to this year’s G8 Summit in Italy to have their voices heard by some of the world’s most powerful leaders as part of the annual UNICEF Junior 8 Summit, July 4-12, 2009.

As an official programme of the G8 Summit and jointly organized by the G8 presidency and UNICEF, the Junior 8 Summit aims to advance young people’s understanding of global issues. It provides a platform for youth to debate issues of concern and advocate solutions to the world’s leaders. Forty-seven teams of high school students from across Canada entered the annual competition for the opportunity to participate in the UNICEF Junior 8 Summit.

The Canadian team will join J8 teams from each of the G8 countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US to prepare a communiqué for action that they will present to G8 leaders. This is the fifth UNICEF J8 Summit and next year’s meeting of the G8 will be hosted in Canada.

“For a generation of young people who face global challenges like AIDS, poverty, inequity and climate change, the UNICEF Junior 8 Summit is a platform for tackling tough issues that have a direct impact on them,” says Jackie Jones, Ontario Regional Director of UNICEF Canada. “These students from Saunders Secondary are part of the first fully globalized generation -- a generation deeply connected with their communities locally and internationally, and active in dozens of organizations and causes. They are the people that will live to experience the effects of changes implemented today.”

The winning Canadian team, who named themselves ‘Carpe Diem’, comprises four students from London, Ontario: Jona Nahyun Cho, Steve Seungjoon Lee, Nigel Wodrich and Corinne Boudreau. All four students are active in their community and share a commitment to global issues, including the environment, the world economy, as well as social, health and economic development in developing countries.

The London youth created a video that highlights their ideas for global improvement as part of their entry. Among their innovative proposals are incentives that encourage energy efficiency. They also recommend investment so that schools in Africa can provide a more extensive education programme on HIV/AIDS prevention, and expand free counseling and HIV testing facilities. They hope that these measures will result in a generation of empowered, HIV-negative youth, particularly girls, equipped with the life skills needed to develop their communities and overcome the disease.

To learn more about the UNICEF Junior 8 Summit, visit www.unicef.ca/junior8summit.

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Note: Photographs available upon request.

About the UNICEF Junior 8 Summit

The UNICEF J8 Summit is the youth event linked to the G8 Summit and jointly organized by UNICEF and the G8 presidency. The Summit aims to advance young people’s understanding of global issues and to provide a platform for them to discuss and advocate on these issues with some of the most powerful leaders in the world.

About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.