From Crisis Manager to Agenda Setter: The Next Generation of Leaders Weighs in on the Future of the G7

BKHS NextGen7 Summit, May 17 – 18, 2022 | Schmidt’s house at Neubergerweg

This year, Germany holds the G7 presidency and will host the heads of state and government for an informal gathering in Elmau in June 2022. The Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung (BKHS) takes this as an opportunity to be hosts ourselves, not for current but for the next generation of leaders. About a month before the G7 summit takes place, we invite seven young representatives of the G7 member states to join us for the BKHS NextGen7 Summit. And, similar to the real G7 format, we also invite a host country: a young representative from the Ukraine will join us. From May 17 to 18, 2022, the next generation of leaders will meet in Hamburg to develop new ideas to transform the G7 from crisis manager to agenda setter.

In 1975, Helmut Schmidt, former German Chancellor and namesake of the BKHS, together with French President Giscard d’Estaing initiated a fireside chat that became the first world economic summit. Their aim was to bring the leading democratic industrial nations together in an informal forum to coordinate international economic policy and to address the mounting global challenges at their time. Today, the G7 members – Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the USA – are again facing a multitude of global crises. And again, the exclusive group meets to shape and lead global policy responses. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made clear: “We will use our G7 presidency to make this group a pioneer.” 

The BKHS NextGen7 Summit not only builds a bridge from history to present, but brings together a group of aspiring leaders to prepare for the future. Building on the main priorities of the 2022 German G7 presidency, the summit participants will engage in a foresight exercise to develop concrete policy recommendations to ensure that the G7 accomplishes its main priorities in the fields of gender inequality, climate mitigation, and digital progress until the next Germany G7 presidency in 2029. Renowned think tank experts will comment on the policy ideas and network with the summit participants. After the summit, the BKHS will publish the key policy recommendations and disseminate them to decision-makers involved in this year’s G7 process. 

Honoring Helmut Schmidt and the importance he ascribed to informal policy discussions, the BKHS will host most parts of the BKHS NextGen7 Summit at the former home of Loki and Helmut Schmidt in Hamburg Langenhorn. The summit participants will therefore get the chance for intensive informal exchanges in a historically inspiring environment and at an actual fireside. 

"The G7’s exclusion of communities must be addressed so that other perspectives can come to the forefront."

Amber Crossen, USA

"G7 as the global economic leader has the capacity in empowering certain norms or practices in the international sphere such as the Paris agreement and COVAX."

Abraham Chan, UK

"The rise of authoritarianism might partially be attributed to the G7 as prioritising business relations over more clearly addressing violations of human rights and principles of democracy was not an appropriate strategy to stop the rise of autocratic regimes."

Morris Ben Reinmüller, EU

"In times when the nation-state becomes more and more important, isn't it a success when like-minded defenders of democracy coordinate and talk to each other?"

Jonathan Ziener, Germany

"One may wonder, how different the global landscape in 2022 might be if these world powerhouses had focused their joint efforts and resources on strong prevention and sustainable action rather than trying to handle the repercussions."

Anna Jacob, Canada

"The G7, through its neo-liberal orientation, is largely responsible for the inequality and environmental crisis."

Florine Hénault, France

"Sticking to the G7´s “core dossier”, it´s hard not to acknowledge the achievements of multilateral cooperation and coordination in the trade realm."

Corrado Chirico, Italy

"Every crisis bears the potential for growth – the current reactionary politics of the G7 has to give way to binding accountability and a concrete solution-oriented roadmap that prioritizes democratic values and social and planetary well-being."

Lena Taran, Ukraine

Impressions

© BKHS / Michael Zapf

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