The advanced class have done some excellent presenations and speeches over the last couple of months. Here are the written versions of what they talked about. They include a presentation on a famous Buddha quote and three speeches on freedom of speech, the importance of voting, and the criminal justice system.

 

Many, including Buddha, would say that health is the greatest endowment – and we partly agree with this. You can be born totally healthy and never suffer from a severe illness while others have to face a temporary or permanent disability or disease. Well-being is indeed a gift, one that is too often not enough worshipped, but rather taken for granted. Reminding ourselves that you can be dealt a bad hand very suddenly could help us to see health as a blessing.

On the other hand, there are more elements in life which are precious and great. Think about family, living in peace or genuinely being happy; for some that is even more valuable than being healthy.

Buddha also shared his opinion about life’s greatest wealth with us. Obviously, he does not refer to full bank accounts or the possession of gold. Rather, he perceives content people as wealthy. We believe that this includes a lot of truth! Striving ever more, an insatiable longing is not only a negative personality trait but also displays the opposite of Buddha’s mentality. A reflexive attitude is required to achieve contentment and we definitely recommend giving it a try.

Our group cannot forget to mention that all of us, as humans, we do need social interactions. But how should we go through all these situations that we encounter in every minute of our waking life?
Buddha stated that faithfulness is a must. We underpin most of our life-longing and appreciated relationships on faithfulness.

What is the point in marriage if there’s no trust?

Or a child not being able to rely on its parents.


Were everyone as kind as Buddha expected, all of the above would be right. Just give it a thought….

To recap what we’ve just said, let’s put Buddha’s quote together:

“Health is the greatest gift,

Contentment the greatest wealth,

Faithfulness the best relationship.”

By Anna and Bernardo

What is the most crucial point of what constitutes our concept of democracy?

What did Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and – today – Malala try to make us aware of and have obviously failed?

Whilst we pride ourselves on our achieved freedom of speech, this same freedom has still not become a universal right and we’re making no effort to change that.

We have gathered here today to assess one of the most fundamental problems of our time. It is time to take off our rose-tinted glases and weed out the hypocrisy in our society!

Starting off, it is essential to clarify that the freedom to express yourself has to be considered the mother of all rights. There have been working countries without it. There have been working economies without it. But there has never been a satisfied population without it.

Therefore, we have to realise that it is incumbent upon us to do everything in our power to support those who don’t benefit from the privileges that we have.

However, as long as we don’t take action, all of this is nothing but hot air and empty promises. Since change has never ocurred by sitting on the sofa, we should get our asses up and make use of what we call our greatest achievement: The freedom to express ourselves!

By Clara, Tom and Maria

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen!

Thank you for joining me today!

Our system is supposed to weed young criminals out of our stable society, to make sure people are safe and lawbreakers learn from their mistakes. Would you agree?

Many people don’t realize that a stay in prison will actually heighten the probability of the very same person ending up in prison in a later stage of their life. Our current method of juvenile sentencing is neither sufficient, nor efficient in terms of a successful reintegration into society.

In criminology circles the “labelling aproach” is a widespread theory: it states, that as somebody is labelled as a criminal by the criminal justice system it is more likely that this person will behave as a lawbreaker, because everybody expects them to be one.

Youth detention centres are functioning as a quicksand of criminality because young people stay in criminal circles. But it’s about giving people a chance to make up for their actions, to find a way to change their moral compass. That’s what makes the difference for our future!

Getting young people out of the path of crime and giving them this chance, in form of restorative justice, will prove as a way more productive method to achieve a successful reintegration.

It is time to change our system!

By Katrin, Jose and Konstanze

I’d like to welcome you all today to this year’s youth summit. I couldn’t be more thrilled that so many of you are attending this event and showing interest in this very important topic that we are all inextricably linked with.

My first questions go out to those of you who didn’t vote in the last elections, those of you who apparently did not see the importance of making use of your right to vote, your inalienable right to vote. What were your reasons to abstain?
Was is too comfortable in your bed? Or did you not believe that your vote count a difference? Are you simply not interested in politics?

Let me tell you something: Your vote can make a difference! Cast your vote!

Voting matters! And that is why we need more people, especially you, us young people, to vote.

Today, I would like to clarify why I perceive the current situation, the lowest voter turnouts ever, as a serious problem. I also want to talk to you about why and how we want to bring about changes and improvements.

First of all, let me assume that the majority of you are in favour of living in a democracy. You might not be able to picture the opposite or what it is like to live under the thumb of an authoritarian leader but not too long ago, other generations experienced suppression and in particular women fought badly for their rights. For a long time, they haven’t been heard but for you it is different! You have a voice. Your voice can be heard. And among other things, your vote makes part of your voice in a democracy. So: Your vote can make a difference! Cast your vote!

From this day on, we need to change our general thinking and our attitudes towards voting. It is nothing like a burden or a chore but our right and our duty. Schools, teachers, parents, all of us play a role in spreading knowledge about politics. Talk about politics, make it interesting, stimulate curiosity and especially help to believe:

A vote can make a difference! Cast your vote!

By Jessica, Anna and Bernardo