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Youth Ag-Summit: Two to represent at UN meeting

Youth Ag-Summit delegate Samba Ouma of Kenya, giving his acceptance speech Thursday night. (Lisa Guenther photo)

Two delegates from the 2015 Youth Ag-Summit will be jetting to Rome in October to take part in a meeting of the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security.

Australia’s Laura Grubb and Kenya’s Samba Ouma were selected from 80 nominees. Ouma and Grubb are now charged with presenting the Canberra Youth Ag Declaration — drafted at this week’s summit — at the UN meetings Oct. 12 to 15.

The declaration was created by delegates over the course of the Summit. Grubb and Ouma will also participate in a panel discussion at the UN meetings, focusing on encouraging youth to choose agricultural careers.

The UN delegates were announced Thursday afternoon as the Summit wrapped, in an atmosphere that summit moderator and stand-up mathematician Simon Pampena joked was like a spiritual revival. As Grubb and Ouma took the stage, their fellow delegates erupted into applause and whoops.

“I feel so honoured to be chosen to represent all of you. We’ve all come here and I think we’ve all been challenged right from the start,” said Grubb, adding that delegates, from diverse backgrounds, had helped each other develop their ideas.

“And I think it’s such a privilege that I can take our collective ideas and try to make this movement happen.”

The summit is “a week for the youth of the world,” said Ouma. “It’s a week for you who want to feed a hungry planet. It’s a week for us who feel a desire and the urge to change to change the situation in our different countries.”

The Youth Ag-Summit, held in Canberra, Australia, drew 100 delegates from 33 countries between the ages of 18 to 25 to discuss issues related to sustainable agriculture and feeding a growing global population.

Delegates came from diverse backgrounds, ranging from farming to mechanical engineering.

This year’s summit was organized jointly by Bayer CropScience and Australia’s Future Farmers Network. The first Youth Ag-Summit was held in Calgary in 2013.

Lisa Guenther is a field editor for Grainews and Country Guide, based at Livelong, Sask. Follow her at @LtoG on Twitter.

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