The Regional Youth Co:Lab Summit, jointly organized by Citi Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), positions young people front and center to solve the region’s most pressing challenges
BANGKOK – Close to 200 participants representing 20 countries and territories gathered in Bangkok, Thailand to discuss how they can help tackle the world’s most pressing societal challenges through leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship at the Youth Co:Lab Regional Summit 2023.
Centered on the theme of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, the participants had a common agenda to encourage and celebrate the role of youth in accelerating the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), showcasing and inspiring action from underserved communities, and finding solutions to support the most excluded social groups.
Hosted at the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) in Bangkok, the Summit by Citi Foundation and UNDP is being held in partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Commonwealth Secretariat, CVC Capital Partners, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
The Summit convened close to 200 people from diverse backgrounds including young social entrepreneurs, government delegates, private sector partners, investors, accelerators, academia, and other youth community partners, with over 6,700 participants joining virtually.
This year’s Summit focused on enabling inclusive entrepreneurship to ensure equitable progress that ‘Leave No One Behind’, particularly those from vulnerable and marginalized communities. Young social entrepreneurs presented their inclusive solutions including female-centered solutions and solutions impacting indigenous communities.
“At Citi and the Citi Foundation, we are committed to fully embracing the diversity of the communities we serve. Through initiatives such as the Youth Co:Lab Summit, we hope to bring together partners to support young people’s entrepreneurial journeys and break down barriers that inhibit inclusive progress,” said Peter Babej, Asia Pacific CEO at Citi.
“Today, young people across the Asia-Pacific region are not only aware of present-day challenges that affect their communities, they are also taking proactive steps to make a difference. If we harness the entrepreneurial mindsets of these young people and involve them in making innovative solutions based on their personal experiences, we can build bridges to inclusive growth” said Violet Baffour, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub Director, Officer-in-Charge. "This Summit is an incredibly valuable opportunity as it provides a forum that goes above and beyond to reach marginalized communities and to empower young social enterprises that are bringing services and products to underserved groups,” she added.
Youth Co:Lab, co-created by UNDP and the Citi Foundation in 2017, is the largest youth movement for empowerment, social entrepreneurship, equality, and social inclusion in Asia Pacific and has supported young people in 28 countries and territories. Since its inception, activities supported by Youth Co:Lab have reached 255,000 participants across the Asia Pacific region.
Citi is a preeminent banking partner for institutions with cross-border needs, a global leader in wealth management and a valued personal bank in its home market of the United States. Citi does business in nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions, providing corporations, governments, investors, institutions, and individuals with a broad range of financial products and services.
About Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet. Learn more at undp.org or follow at @UNDP.