The Etopian project: a student perspective on the G20 summit

MirandaNet organised a most exciting online event in March 2009: World eCitizens students from Czech Republic, China, Australia, England and South Africa talked about working together to solve the global crisis that affects us all.


South African learners: Lintle Makhalanyane and Kabelo Teepa South African staff: Abrie Beukes – Head teacher Thys Odendaal Sanel Swart Thabo Mosea

This new phase in the World Ecitizens Etopia project, started at Barnfield in Luton on March 26th where a debate about the G20 summit was hosted between students and teachers. We decided that the best time to hold this was 10:30(GMT) in England, 12:30 in South Africa, 18:30 in China and 00:30 in Australia. Well done to Eva Dakich for looking wide-awake!

The questions for young people that had been posed by the Ministers attending the G20 summit were:

How has the global financial crisis changed your life? In particular:

  • How do you think that the global financial crisis will affect your opportunities in the future?

  • If the G20 leaders visited you to find out how young people and children are affected by the global financial crisis, what would you show them and who would you introduce them to?

  • How do you think the G20 leaders can help people with money problems where you live?

  • What would you ask the G20 leaders about the global financial crisis and what do you want them to do at the London summit?

The answers by the young people were thoughtful and detailed. In summary, they agreed that the global financial situation is getting tougher and that there are already signs in their own lives of challenges to come. As World eCitizens they agreed to do what they could to tackle the issues locally, but they also wanted their politicians to pull together globally instead of falling back
into protectionism.

The English and South African students who met together at Barnfield South Accademy also made a video that will be sent to the G20 summit with our report. This Etopia team will also be represented at discussion about the issues with ministers by Zuma? from Ravenbourne School, Bromley, England who will speak to our report.

After the video conference one of the Chinese students, Vicky (Zhang Xin) remarked:

It is good to talk to you and exchange our feelings and thoughts, I have had a lesson that can not learn from books.

Eva Dakich, a teacher educator from Melbourne in Australia said:

The meeting was fantastic, it is great to be involved in a project that has such a potential to change the ways we think about democracy, social action and global connectedness. Best wishes and looking forward to working with you again in the future.

Mr Denver Charm, a teacher at Beijing School 50, said:

I am still very excited about last night’s meeting. The students are still immersed in the meeting last night as well. The teachers and leaders are very happy to see the two sides, teachers and students, meet online.

The Chinese students sent more comments after the conference that you find on the websites mentioned below.

Congratulations to all the young people who spoke so well, to all the technical people who achieved this digital miracle, and to Barnfield Academy South for their excellent terrestrial hospitality.

We have plans for several more of these Etopia debates and activities at primary secondary level and further education level. If your school would like to participate in the programme for 2009/2010 or suggest and host a debate please email