World Bank Youth Summit 2019: Smarter Cities for a Resilient Future

December 2-3, 2019

1818 H St NW, Washington, DC 20433


Video credit: 2018 Youth Summit sponsor Digital Creative Visionaries


  • About the World Bank Youth Summit

    Established in 2013, the Youth Summit is an annual event hosted by the World Bank Group (WBG) to engage with youth globally on the most pressing topics facing our generation.

    The primary goals of the Summit are to (1) empower youth to explore innovative ideas to tackle emerging development challenges, (2) provide youth with the tools to build and engage in impactful projects, and (3) promote dialogue between youth, the WBG, and other key stakeholders globally.


    REGISTER NOW to attend the 2019 Summit. Registrations close on October 6, 2019 11:59pm ET

    2019 Youth Summit

    The 2019 Youth Summit will be a two-day interactive event, taking place at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC from December 2-3, 2019.

    The theme for the 2019 Summit is Smarter Cities for a Resilient Future.

    Over recent decades, cities have become a magnet for talent, investment, and for youth seeking a prosperous future. 

    The promise offered by cities is driving unprecedented population growth, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Globally, 4 billion people - more than half the global population - live in cities.

    Rapid urbanization at this scale presents unparalleled challenges. The increasing population density, shocks from environmental pressures, growing infrastructure demands, and the increased expectations from residents and visitors to deliver services that improve their quality of life will all need to be met – at a sustainable cost.

    Smart technologies can be harnessed to create enabling environments for innovation, sustainable economic development, high standards of living, and the improvement of all aspects of community life.

    These solutions will seek to address problems that lie at the intersection of technology, infrastructure, human development, and sustainable development for cities, which will impact the future of our youth and generations to come. 

    REGISTER NOW to attend the 2019 Summit. Registrations close on October 6, 2019 11:59pm ET


    Watch the recap of last year's summit →

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    The 2019 Youth Summit agenda is currently being finalized.


    NEW THIS YEAR: This year’s World Bank Group Youth Summit will feature a new action-based learning component: Smart City Solutions Case Challenge. Over the course of the Summit, you will gain real time experience in a team-based, simulated scenario identifying key challenges and opportunities in the development of a smart city. Through facilitated working sessions led by leading development practitioners, you will work with your peers to develop and present your solutions. The case challenge will provide a unique opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, problem-solving skills, and creativity while co-creating and networking with your peers and experts in the field. More details coming soon!


    The two-day Summit will include the following components:

    1.       Theme content

    ·         Keynote speeches from leaders in the field

    ·         Stakeholder discussion for delegates and livestream audience

    ·         Expert panels that offer targeted insights 

    2.       Global pitch competition for business & policy ideas (competition finalists)

    ·         5 stage competition for innovative ventures related to the Summit theme

    ·         Finalists pitch and share ideas at the main event in DC to an expert judging panel

    3.        Smart City Solutions - Case Challenge (all delegates) 

    ·         Delegates form teams to tackle a case scenario, identifying challenges and opportunities for development

    ·         Facilitated workshops enable delegates to grow their ideas

    ·         Teams present their innovative solutions to a global audience

    4.       Networking opportunities

    ·         Delegates' reception

    ·         Speed mentoring 

    ·         Online communities via social media before, during, and after the Summit

    5.       Innovation Marketplace

    ·         Learn about partner organizations through interactive exhibits

    ·         Opportunities to engage directly with industry leaders


    REGISTER NOW to attend the 2019 Summit. Registrations close on October 6, 2019 11:59pm ET

  • The 2019 Youth Summit Competition challenges young social entrepreneurs to submit innovative proposals for scalable enterprises that leverage smart technology to build sustainable and inclusive cities that will serve the needs of 1 million people by 2030.

    The World Bank Group wants to hear from young changemakers across the globe on how we can leverage the growth of cities for more sustainable and inclusive communities.


    Deadline for Submission: October 6, 2019 (11:59PM ET) (extended)

    World Bank Regional Director for Human Development Amit Dar, with Klo’e and Yu Qian Ang, 2018 Audience Award winners for Project Cube (Singapore)

    About the Competition

    By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, with the majority of growth in developing countries. Cities are unprecedented hubs of opportunity, but also present some of the most complex and pressing challenges of our time. Everyone has a role to play to address these challenges – governments, international organizations, non-profits, local communities, and individuals – but no one is better placed than young people to innovate and overcome the obstacles faced in an era of fast-paced, technology-driven change.

    The 2019 Youth Summit Competition challenges young people to harness smart technology to:

    1. Address the rising impacts of climate change and pollution in urban cities; and/or 
    2. Promote inclusive economic growth.

    The competition provides a forum for young people to identify problems in their communities and craft innovative solutions for smarter and more resilient cities. It aims to stimulate entrepreneurial problem solving and create dialogue on innovative ways to unlock obstacles that have traditionally hindered investment in smart cities.

    Why Participate?

    Do you have an idea that has the capacity to leverage technology to build sustainable and inclusive cities to positively impact your community, your country, and/or society at large? The 2019 Youth Summit Competition provides the opportunity to share your idea, connect with peers and high-level experts, and explore how to bring your idea to the next level.

    Who Should Participate?

    The competition is open to individuals or teams of up to 4 people aged 18 to 35, from all over the world. Prior entrepreneurial experience or business background is not required – all youth with the drive to innovate are encouraged to participate, including professionals, students and academics, NGO leaders, government officials and start-up founders.

    How to Enter

    Applicants should propose an innovative and action-oriented idea leveraging data technology to address pollution and climate change, or facilitate the inclusion of the urban poor in cities.

    The proposed solution (i) can be aimed at business or service (e.g. product, service, program, initiative, etc.), (ii) should solve a specific problem statement or challenge, (iii) explains the proposal’s proof-of-concept and impact to date; and (iv) addresses at least one of the smart and resilient cities subthemes in the two pillars below.

    Pillar 1: Tackle Pollution and Climate Change

    Pillar 2: Inclusive Economic Growth

    ·         Climate change prevention and mitigation

    ·         Climate resilience and adaptation, including disaster risk management in urban and informal settlements

    ·         Reduction or management of urban pollution, including air pollution, water contamination and waste management

    ·         Urban transportation and congestion

    ·         Green cities and green urban spaces

    ·         Leverage the informal economy for job creation and livelihood development

    ·         Labor market resilience of the urban poor working in industries undergoing automation

    ·         Inclusion of women, minorities and the disabled in social and financial services

    ·         Peer-to-peer sharing technologies

    ·         Political, social and economic empowerment of the urban poor

    Process & Deadlines 

    Stage 1 – Submit your Proposal (Deadline: October  6, 2019)

    Participants must submit their proposal by October 6, 2019. Proposals will be evaluated by an expert committee. Shortlisted individuals/teams will be announced by early November and will proceed to the next stage.

    Stage 2 – Refine your Idea & Prepare your Pitch (November 2019)

    Individuals/teams shortlisted in Stage 1 will receive feedback on their proposals and may be asked to submit further information, refine their proposals and/or submit short pitching videos. The expert committee will select finalists who will proceed to Stage 3.

    Stage 3 – Pitch your Idea at the 2019 Youth Summit (December 2-3, 2019)

    Finalists will join the 2019 Youth Summit at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC. Travel expenses will be covered including lodging for up to three nights for one representative from each finalist team. Finalists will showcase their proposals on the second day of the Summit, pitching their proposal in front of a judging panel, attending delegates, and a live-streamed online audience. One winner will be selected by the judging panel, and another winner will be voted for by the audience.

    Ready to Apply?

    Follow the following steps to enter the 2019 Youth Summit Competition:

    1. Ensure you meet the Eligibility Requirements:

    -        The Competition is open to individuals or teams of 1-4 people, aged 18 to 35 as of 11:59 pm ET on October 6, 2019.

    -        Teams and individuals are limited to one submission each.

    -        Active World Bank Group staff including consultants and interns are not eligible to participate in the Competition (active staff at the time of the submission up until the closing of the 2019 Youth Summit).

    2. Prepare a proposal outlining your idea, complying with the following submission rules:

    -        Proposals must be created and owned by the participants.

    -        Proposals must be submitted in English.

    -        Proposals shall provide an innovative and action-oriented business or policy idea that leverages technology to build sustainable and inclusive cities.

    -       The problem and the proposed solution outlined by proposals must:

    1. Relate to at least one of the pillars outlined above.
    2. Apply to at least one client country of the World Bank Group

    -        Proposals must:

    1. Provide a short 2-5 sentence summary of the idea;
    2. Describe the specific problem/need that the proposed solution seeks to address;  
    3. Describe the innovation or solution proposed to address this specific problem/need (e.g. a product, service, program, policy, course, initiative, etc.)
    4. Explain how your proposal is unique relative to existing approaches; and
    5. Describe your main strategies for ensuring financial sustainability in the future.

    -        Proposals will be assessed on the following judging criteria:

    1. Clarity, scope and relevance of the problem and of the proposed solution; 
    2. Innovation and originality; 
    3. Feasibility of implementation and sustainability over time; 
    4. Potential for impact; and 
    5. Compliance with competition criteria. 

    Please refer to the Competition Terms and Conditions for further information about the judging criteria.

    -        Proposals must be between 1,000- 2,500 words in length (including all bodies of text, titles, headings, tables, textboxes, footnotes, endnotes, references, appendices, etc.) and must not exceed 4 pages in total.

    -        The following information must be provided at the top of the first page of proposals:

    1. The names and respective countries of citizenship of the participant(s) – for teams, all team members’ names and respective countries of citizenship shall be listed; 
    2. The final word count (all-inclusive).

    3. Read and ensure you accept the Competition Terms and Conditions.

    4. Submit your proposal by 11:59 pm ET, October 6, 2019 via the online competition submission form. You will be asked to provide information about team members and to upload your proposal.


    Any questions? Contact us at





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    2018 Youth Summit Competition finalists

    Find out about 2018 finalists' proposals here.

    Read about past winners in the media:

    Nigeria immunization “app” makes a global impact - Tochukwu Egesi, 2018 finalist

    Meet Makkiya Javed: The Winner With A Cause (Ary News) - Sehat Kahani, 2017 winner

    Engineer, VIT student’s renewable energy plan picked for World Bank Youth Summit (Hindustan Times) - Infinite Light, 2017 finalist

    International Youth Day: How a World Bank Youth Summit Winner is Helping Domestic Workers in Malaysia (World Bank) - Pinkcollar, 2017 audience award winner

    Youth Summit Brings New Ideas to Digital Development (World Bank) - 2017 competition summary

    A Competition To Remember (Intel) - 2017 competition summary

    How language, tech open opportunities for refugees (Reuters) - Team NaTakallam, 2016 winner



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    Delegates at the 2018 Youth Summit in Washington, DC

    We are seeking applications to attend the 2019 World Bank Youth Summit from young people engaged in the field of development through the public, private, non-profit, or education sectors. Attendance is open to youth aged 18-35 from all regions of the world.  

    REGISTER NOW to attend the 2019 Summit. Registrations close on October 6, 2019 11:59pm ET

  • 2019 Youth Summit Steering Committee


    Gabrielle Williams

    Treasurer and Resource Mobilizer

    Kilian Koffi

    Competition Lead

    Albertine Potter

    Deputy Competition Lead

    Annie Liang

    Content Co-Lead - Plenaries and Keynotes

    Celine Ho

    Content Co-Lead - Plenaries and Keynotes

    Derek Ensing

    Content Lead - Workshops

    Anouk Pechevy

    Communications Lead - Social Media and Website

    Melinda Wood

    Communications Lead - Branding and Outreach

    Stefan Wolf

    Partnership Lead

    Noreyana Fernando

    Event Logistics Lead - Design

    Rafa Abdalla

    Event Logistics Lead - Livestream and IT

    Anushuya Pandit

    Youth Engagement Lead - International

    New-Doe Kaledzi

    Youth Engagement Lead - National



    Filip Jolevski


    Roman Balin

    Senior Advisor

    Fannie Delavelle

    Arts and Entertainment Curator

    Juliana Biondo

    Lead Volunteer – Logistics and Design

    Gabrielle Clary