News — January 01, 2000

II JCI G8 Summit

To dedicate ourselves, as "Entrepreneurs in Action," to provide value to our communities, serving as leaders in developing training programs, and providing education on new technologies as we move forward in the information age. —II JCI G8
To dedicate ourselves, as "Entrepreneurs in Action," to provide value to our communities, serving as leaders in developing training programs, and providing education on new technologies as we move forward in the information age. —II JCI G8 Summit Declaration, point 16 G8 Summit Shows Need for JCI Peace Quest and Entrepreneurs in Action The II JCI G8 Summit took place in Genoa, Italy, this summer, at the same time as the governmental G8 Summit, which gathered representatives from the world’s eight major democracies—the United States, Japan, Britain, Italy, Canada, Germany, France, and now Russia, a newcomer. In Genoa, debate was intense inside the conference centers and on the streets. At the II JCI G8 Summit, JCI President Georges A. Bouverat and eight National Presidents had stimulating, challenging and open exchanges concerning how the organization can contribute to the world. The Anarchists’ Ball Summit participants were not the only people who traveled to Genoa. In what has become a growing challenge for all major meetings of world leaders, police estimate that up to 100,000 protesters descended on Genoa to demonstrate on issues ranging from globalization and debt relief to AIDS and the environment. Riots, depicted by TIME magazine as The Anarchists’ Ball, overshadowed the G8 meeting. Tear gas, rock-throwing at police, and shouts of rage engulfed Genoa. While leaders from the eight democracies expressed confidence that the sagging global economy will soon rebound, club-swinging police clashed with violent protesters in the streets. While demonstrators battled with police, one anti-capitalism protester was shot dead, and hundreds more were injured. Surging crowds of demonstrators, many of them wearing helmets and masks, engaged in attack-and-retreat tactics with police as they sought to disrupt the G8 summit taking place in Genoa’s cordoned-off city center. Riot police used tear gas and a water cannon to keep tens of thousands of demonstrators from storming the leaders’ meeting. Dozens of combatants, both police and protesters, were injured during the violence. Although the future of global summits has been called into question, G8 leaders left Genoa vowing their work would go on. The street violence, which now dogs every gathering of world leaders, was far removed from the splendor of the palace where the industrialized nations assessed the world's economy. It was the bloodiest confrontation yet in a series of clashes beginning in Seattle in 1999. Like a regular weather pattern, anti-globalization protesters have descended on every major economic meeting seeking to disrupt the meetings. The mayhem in the streets of Genoa prompted the leaders to re-examine their plans for future summits. Some worried that their message of free trade and open commerce was being drowned by the angry shouts of anti-globalization protesters. Appalled by the violence, most demonstrators were determined to make the movement’s first blood its last. JCI Peace Mission Italy mobilized 15,000 troops to defend a 2.5 perimeter of Genoa’s 17th century Ducal Palace to protect the globe’s most powerful industrial leaders from the violence on the streets. The confrontations reinforced the importance of Junior Chamber International’s mission since its establishment in 1944 to seek global peace. French President Jacques Chirac—a former Junior Chamber member—suggested that events of the week showed that the industrialized nations “must do a better job listening.” Bridging the Digital Divide The G8 endorsed an action plan to bridge the “digital divide” with the poorest countries. Leaders backed a task force report on how to harness technology in the cause of development. Participants said that, while money is important, the key is setting up a strategy to start bridging the North-South divide. Canada will work with Italy implementing the report, seeking private-sector volunteers to take the lead on nine action points. These points include improving connectivity and lowering costs; helping establish national Internet strategies; and deploying information technology in health care, development aid, and furtherance of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs in Action! Well versed in electronic communication, JCI G8 NOM Presidents have long been communicating electronically with each other and their own members about Junior Chamber and global concerns. Their knowledge and skills, and those of the members in general, as well as JCI’s new focus on Entrepreneurs in Action, reinforced their conviction that Junior Chamber must lead the way to bridge the digital divide and promote information technology and entrepreneurship. Global Forum JCI G8 delegates strongly felt that the major democracies of the world must be allowed to meet and discuss important issues in a peaceful manner, and that governmental G8 delegates must enable active involvement of civil society and NGOs such as JCI. In conjunction with Canadian Junior Chamber and the Canadian government, JCI G8 delegates will propose holding a Global Forum to allow individuals, groups and organizations to voice their opinions in a peaceful manner. For the full background and text of the 2001 JCI G8 Summit, see President’s Friday Focus, August 08, 2001, at www.juniorchamber.org/english/focus/
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