The Kick-Off: Telenor Youth Forum 2016

Landing in the blue-lit lobby of Oslo’s Scandic Hotel feels a bit like entering a futuristic beehive. Everyone speaking, everyone moving. I see a group of young people wearing Telenor credentials and approach. “You look like people I need to know,” I say. Because they are. The whole world needs to know the young men and women I’ll be following over the next four days as I live blog Telenor Youth Forum 2016.

It’s Thursday morning, and we’ve got two representatives apiece from Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Norway, Pakistan, Serbia, Sweden, and Thailand here. Each one wants to make an impact on the world. Picked from an applicant pool almost 5,000 strong, these 26 young people have flown in to kick off their year-long commitment to the TYF program: aiming to help transform the world we live in by tackling social challenges through digital solutions.

Nobel Peace Prize Weekend is a special time to experience Oslo. White lights deck the shiny-wet city streets. The annual julemarked–including a dazzling ferris wheel, Sami tents selling reindeer pelts, and carts peddling roasted almonds–has sent up camp on Karl Johans gate.

As the delegates from Telenor’s 13 global markets gather to begin this adventure, I’m eager to meet them all! What are their ambitions for this weekend? For next year? For the world?

Soon we’ll hop a bus to Telenor’s HQ at Fornebu to dive into the program. This afternoon, the group will divide into teams and receive their assigned global goals, selected from a possible 17  Global Goals for Sustainable Development (e.g. No Poverty, No Hunger, Gender Equality, Clean Water, etc.). And then we’ll see their innovative hive mind begin to buzz. Over the course of the weekend, the teams will come up with technological solutions for the biggest problems facing humankind, and present their ideas in a 2-minute pitch series on Sunday.

And I get to be the fly on the wall. Armed with a laptop and a smartphone. Arm-in-arm with a fantastic photographer. Follow us! #TYF #TYF16

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