The 2018 Vatican Youth Symposium, which was jointly convened by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) and SDSN Youth, brought together youth entrepreneurs, activists, and innovators for training in global development. The theme of the conference, which was Youth Leadership for Integral Human Development: Laudato Si’ and the Sustainable Development Goals, motivated participants to recommit themselves to partnerships for the 2030 Agenda and to their role as youth leaders for a brighter, better future. While the knowledge shared in the halls of Casina Pio IV, the headquarters for PAS within the Vatican Gardens, catalyzed new ideas and inspiration for all of the attendees, the ripple effect of this year’s Vatican Youth Symposium touches communities around the world who are impacted by the work of the convened young leaders.
Participants, attendees, and speakers were first warmly welcomed to Casina Pio IV by Monsignor Sánchez Sorondo, the Chancellor of the PAS, and Prof. Jeffrey Sachs. Monsignor Sánchez Sorondo invited the youth in attendance to be prophets of love and prophets of the SDGs to combat what Pope Francis has termed the “globalization of indifference.” Prof. Sachs, speaking just after Monsignor, reminded the audience that faith is not just an internal belief but “means that one can hope for goodness, that one can believe in justice, and that one can feel the need and value to defend human dignity.” Prof. Sachs then concluded the opening statements by asking the young leaders in the room to do even more for the implementation of the SDGs and to be courageous as the generation that would be directly responding to pressing environmental, economic, and social concerns.