On 4 February 2019, the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Christian Hirte, presented the award for the 2018 YES! – Young Economic Summit to the winning team. How can we combat child poverty and support children and adolescents in the best possible way? This question was tackled by the YES! team of Fritz Erler Schule in Pforzheim with the support of ZEW researcher Dr. Holger Stichnoth, deputy head of the Research Department “Social Policy and Redistribution” at the ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim. For their idea “High Five – Five Ways to Make a Change” the student team won the vote for the best solution of the 2018 YES! – Young Economic Summit. The five motivated students have now been honoured with the 2018 YES! Award at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin.

Achim Wambach and the winning team of the YES! Award 2018
YES! team of Fritz Erler Schule in Pforzheim together with ZEW President Achim Wambach.

“It is great to see committed young people – assisted by experienced researchers – get involved in our social and economic lives in order to create a more sustainable future for our society,” said the Parliamentary State Secretary, Christian Hirte, during the official award ceremony at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in Berlin, sponsor of the YES! programme since 2015.

Equal opportunities for all

ZEW student team at the ceremonial presentation of the YES Award 2018 at BMWi
Festive award ceremony at BMWi

Distinguishing itself from a total of 12 schools from four regions, the winning team consisting of Antonia Becker-Cosoveanu, Isabell Faaß, Leandro Cerqueira Karst, Monica Alessi and Rebecca Waschtschenko came top of the vote in the 2018 YES! – Young Economic Summit. With their idea “High Five – Five Ways to Make a Change”, the high school students from Fritz Erler Schule aimed to develop a functional network that would help create equal opportunities for children and adolescents from all social backgrounds in the five areas of culture, health, education, outdoor activities and family. At the award ceremony, ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach was impressed by the ideas of the younger generation: “Innovative ideas come from innovative thinkers. For tomorrow’s politics it is important to listen to the young people of today and discuss their ideas and projects with them.”

The students from Cecilien Gymnasium in Düsseldorf came in second, while third place went to the students from the Gesamtschule Waldbröl.

Outlook for the 2019 YES! competition

ZEW student team at the ceremonial presentation of the YES Award 2018 at BMWi
ZEW student team from Pforzheim receives 2018 YES! Award 2018 from Parliamentary State Secretary Christian Hirte.

“The student teams are taking action. They are getting involved and coming up with impressive solutions – this gives hope for the future,” said Dr. Nina Lemmens, executive board member of the Joachim Herz Stiftung. In 2019, the YES! competition will be expanded to five regions in Germany. A total of 100 teams with more than 1,000 students have submitted their ideas to win the top places in one of the regional finals, which qualifies the teams for the national finals in September. This year, ZEW researchers will participate for the third time to mentor student teams from the Southwest region.

About YES!

The „YES! – Young Economic Summit“ is one of the biggest school competitions aimed at getting young people to engage with economic and social issues. School students come up with their own solutions to global economic, ecological and social problems and present them in English as part of a conference for other students, also known as the “YES! – Young Economic Summit”. Through discussions with economists and other students, they will focus on global connections and develop their own innovative solutions. There will be a vote to determine the best solutions. The winning solutions will be awarded a prize and publicly forwarded to those in a position to investigate how they might be put into practice.

In the run-up to YES!, all participating students will receive continued support and guidance in topics such as investigation, research, presentation and media relations. YES! included these topics following the recommendation from the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs that school students should be taught how to exercise critical judgement when using media applications. The “YES! – Young Economic Summit” falls under the patronage of the Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, and is a joint project by the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (www.zbw.eu/en) and the Joachim Herz Stiftung.




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