Fishbein travels to Russia for G20 Youth Forum

In late April Memorial women’s basketball standout Grace Fishbein travelled to St. Petersburg, Russia to participate in the G20 Youth Forum, one of the largest international events for young leaders in the world. The event draws over 1500 young leaders, students, and academics to participate in discussions about pressing economic and social problems of the moment, establishing an intercultural dialogue, and building partnerships and friendships.


We recently caught up with Grace through email while she was still on the road to learn more about her experience at the event and travelling abroad.


What about the G20 Youth Forum interested you?

Grace FishbeinGF: Originally my interest with the G20 Youth Forum was the idea that the event attracted young leaders from around the world, bringing them together to discuss global issues. As someone who studied sciences in university the idea of that type of experience was something that would push me out of my comfort zone.


In attending the forum my favourite parts were the people I met and the discussions that took place. There were 60 different countries represented at the forum with undergrad, masters and PhD students as well as faculty members from around the world. To make a comparison, domestically to have a discussion of how the education system should function while incorporating modern technology is an interesting debate with many obstacles that need addressing. However when you look at the same issue in a global context the discussion becomes very different.


Throughout this forum I got to listen to and contribute to these types of discussions on a global level, hearing many different views that, as Canadians, we do not necessarily consider. This made my trip to St. Petersburg a unique and very eye-opening experience.


There were different aspects of the forum: the Summit, the Young Parliamentarians Debate, the Alumnis’ Meeting and the Conference. I took part in the conference, at which I got to listen to many presentations of research and topics of interest specific to certain countries. I also got the chance to present my own paper that I wrote on the recent changes in the Immigration and Refugee Policies in Canada. All of the articles written and presented were published in the conference journal.


What was the travel experience like?


GF: As someone who seeks out new adventures and opportunities I really enjoyed the travel aspect of this trip. I like experiencing new cultures, trying new food and meeting new people from all around the world. During the conference the organizing committee put on a couple special events to give all of the delegates an opportunity to experience some Russian culture.


We attended the opening reception, which featured opera performances, professional dancers and a pianist. On the last night of the conference we attended a Grand Imperial Ball set in the Silver Age - and it was another great night! After the conference was over I spent a couple extra days in St. Petersburg to see more of the city, all of the impressive cathedrals, palaces, and St. Peter and Paul Fortress. I even went to Pushkin (which is about an hour outside St. Petersburg) to see Catherine the Great’s palace.


What do you think you will remember most about the trip?


GF: Overall, this was a fantastic trip. I got to see many new places, experience new things and meet a lot of people. I enjoyed the beauty of St. Petersburg and kindness of the people there. This was an experience that I will never forget. It has broadened my understanding of struggles that are location related and the ones that humanity continues to strive to find solutions for around the world.


The G20 Youth Forum was just the start of my involvement internationally and I will be searching for more opportunities like this to further my experience in this area.


Grace Fishbein recently completed her five years of eligibility with the Sea-Hawks women’s basketball team. The Waterloo, Ontario native was awarded the Butler Trophy as Memorial University’s Female Athlete of the Year and was inducted into the Athletic Honour Society for her outstanding varsity career. She will be graduating from Memorial with an Applied Mathematics and Physics degree this May.



About the G20 Youth Forum

The G20 Youth Forum is an international event organized for young leaders, students with participation from academics, representatives of the business world and governments.


The forum has four main events that were run in tandem:

  1. G20 Youth Summit 
  2. Conference 
  3. International Young Parliamentarians’ Debate – Joint Statement 
  4. Alumnis’ Meeting 


About the G20 (source:

The objectives of the G20 refer to:

  1. Policy coordination between its members in order to achieve global economic stability, sustainable growth; 
  2. Promoting financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises; 
  3. Modernizing international financial architecture. 


The G20 brings together finance ministers and central bank governors from 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America plus the European Union, which is represented by the President of the European Council and by Head of the European Central Bank.


The G20 was formally established in September 1999 when finance ministers and central bank governors of seven major industrial countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) met in Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 1997-1998, which revealed the vulnerability of the international financial system in context of economic globalization and showed that key developing countries were insufficiently involved in discussions and decisions concerning global economic issues.