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2007.03.13
* Youth leaders brainstorm with top scientist's BioVision Forum * March 9, 2007 Fifteen-year-old Hannah Gama has travelled thousands of kilometers from Malawi to meet some of the world's top scientists and leaders of society and industry gathering here in Lyon, France, for the BioVision World Life Sciences Forum. Hannah is joined by nine other young leaders from such countries as Tajikistan, Laos and Morocco. She says, ""It's really important for children to be at BioVision because in true reality, if we look at the problems concerning health, nutrition and agriculture, they are faced by children. So I think it's much better for the children to present their problems individually rather than the adults to present them, because they do not really know what the children face." The BioVision Forum opens March 11, but Hanna and the other children have already been brainstorming for several days, as part of the UNICEF-BioVision Children's Forum. They are putting together a children's Call to Action, which they will present to a plenary session on the last day of the main BioVision Forum. Every two years, BioVision brings together Nobel Prize-winning scientists and industry and society leaders, to address vital life science issues facing our world today, in the areas of health, agriculture and the environment. The children attending have already achieved impressive results with related programs in their countries. Hanna is focusing on improving the juvenile justice system, and the sanitation in juvenile detention centers. Irene from Kenya is a leading advocate for the elimination of female genital cutting, even though she is just 16 years old. Hao has dedicated his energies to protect the environment in his native China, in particular its water supplies. Abigail Gemo, the director of BioVision.Nxt, says that the direct way children communicate can teach adults a thing or two about what's happening in the world. "Children have a very spontaneous, natural way of expressing exactly what is their daily life, what their reality is." Not only is BioVision giving these children a chance to share their experiences, it's giving them new strategies to improve living conditions for other children back in their home countries. This is Thomas Nybo reporting for UNICEF Television in Lyon, France. Unite for children.
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