Vatican City: On October 14-15, 2017 the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), in collaboration with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and its Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth), will host the fourth edition of the Vatican Youth Symposium within the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Casina Pio in the Vatican City.

Motivated by Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si', which calls for all people to unite in action to secure the future of our planet, this two-day symposium brings together over 50 young leaders, from 20 different countries to foster solidarity and fraternity to address some of the world’s most pressing issues. The young leaders will share experiences and inspiring stories from their respective organisations and communities that are achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference includes a series of panels focused on the specific goals and their sub-goals.

The Vatican Youth Symposium will commence with opening remarks by:

  • Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
  • Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of SDSN and special advisor to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the SDGs,
  • Dr Betsee Parker, Baroness of Lochiel; and
  • Dr Anthony Annett, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).

Throughout the two days, the symposium will also feature keynote presentations from:

  • Sam Vaghar, Executive Director and Founder of the Millennium Campus Network,
  • Dr Alaa Murabit, one of 17 Global SDG Advocates and a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth; and
  • Siamak Sam Loni, Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth.

A consortium of global organizations will be represented at the Symposium, including the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Italian Climate Network (ICN), World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), ONE Campaign, Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN Habitat) to name a few. The symposium will  also include important updates from last year’s participants: Adam Sheikh, Founder and President of Aegis and Malav Sanghavi, founder of LifeCradle, featured in this year’s Forbes list of 30 Under 30 Europe and 30 Under 30 India.

Sam Loni, SDSN Youth’s Global Coordinator expressed his anticipation for the two-day event. “Last year we gathered 50 young people working on groundbreaking projects to address the world’s biggest challenges. Many of those projects have successfully gotten off the ground since then.” Sam said. “Following from the success of 2016, we want to celebrate those victories and inspire a new group of community leaders and changemakers. With the theme of ‘solidarity and fraternity’ in mind, we want to create an environment where everyone can support and learn from each other in our quest for a more unified and harmonious society.”

As Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo explains, “Fraternity, an evangelical word, taken up in the motto of the French Revolution but abandoned by modernity, should be the guiding principle of our social and economic order”.

The Symposium will provide a space for young leaders to share experiences, success stories and best practices in order to empower participants to commit to concrete solutions and deliver meaningful change in their local communities.

Media enquiries: For accreditation please contact the Vatican Press Office at

Please note that all journalists and media organizations wishing to apply for accreditation may request TEMPORARY accreditation through the online form of the Media Operations Section of the Holy See Press Office website. Journalists and media organizations regularly accredited at the Holy See Press Office may send their request through the usual channels. All requests must be sent no less than 48 hours before the event.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was launched at UN Headquarters in September 2015 and adopted by 193 member countries of the UN. The SDGs, which are relevant to all countries, aim to achieve social inclusion, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in Rome on 17 August 1603, is the only supranational academy of sciences in the world. Its headquarters are in the Casina Pio IV, a 16th century Renaissance villa in the Vatican Gardens. Its mission is to honor pure science, ensure its freedom and encourage research.

SDSN Youth is the youth initiative of SDSN and focused on empowering youth globally to create sustainable development solutions. SDSN Youth educates young people about the challenges of sustainable development and creates opportunities for them to use their creativity and knowledge to pioneer innovative solutions for the SDGs.