We had the good fortune of connecting with Jochen Bast and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jochen, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
At our school competition YES! – Young Economic Summit, we take it seriously what the young people think , offer them a platform to present solution ideas on today’s issues from their point of view and on a scientific basis.about today’s problems. We treat them with the same respect and at eye-level we have foras we do politicians, researchers, teachers, or basically any person.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In a nutshell, the YES! – Young Economic Summit works like this: researchers propose challenges on current economic, political and environmental issues. School teams then, with the researchers’ support, try to find solutions to these issues and present them to decision-makers from politics, business and NGOs. They compete with their ideas, but there is no expert jury. Instead, the young people themselves judge over their peers and select the winning ideas on sound criteria. It is their future that they have to decide. The project is under the patronage of the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy. The winning teams get the chance to present their ideas at the ministry and get in touch with politicians and officals from various other ministries. Over the past 7 years, the YES! has grown from a regional school competition to a national level in Germany – from 14 to more than 70 teams. In 2021, three schools from the Atlanta region also developed their own ideas on economic issues like promoting geothermal energy, sustainable cocoa cultivation and price-fixing between companies. They joined teams from Germany, the UK and Switzerland in the digital final in September 2021. The South Forsyth High School team in Cummings won the „International Award“ for the best solution. So the YES! is becoming more and more international and thus includes more intercultural perspectives on global issues.
In a sense, the pandemic and, as a consequence, two digital competitions in two years, made the way for expanding the competition easier.
In 2022, we will also have school teams from the US join the competition and welcome all interested teachers and students to contact us .
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We are located in Kiel and Hamburg, Germany. But who knows, maybe a YES! event will take place in Atlanta one day. So, if we don’t know how to have a great time in Atlanta yet, we are certainly looking forward to learning from people who shared their ideas on this platform.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
We are a school competition that successfully exchanges ideas and information between scientific researchers and school students. In most cases, though, it’s the teachers that see the potential of this conversation. Their ambition to offer something different and innovative to their students makes them essential for our success.
Photo: Sven Wied