“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
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
“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.