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“There is always an opportunity” – Interview with youth panelist Kristine Bjartnes

Youth Opportunity Panel participant Kristine Bjartnes studies political science at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology. She is also the president the International Student Festival in Trondheim, ISFIT.

What was your first reaction when you read about the report and the opportunity mindset?

I thought that it was great that the project focus on the opportunities, rather than on everything that could go wrong. It is nice to work with people who are optimistic about the challenges that the world is facing. That is important.

Do you think in our society there is a tendency to think in term of risks rather than opportunities? Companies employ risk managers but no one has opportunity managers.

It is common to talk about the risks and focus on the negatives. We do that naturally, both at the workplace and when we work in groups the focus is on what can go wrong. But we have to collaborate to be able to look at the bigger picture. That is what we do at the International Student Festival. We gather people from all over the world to talk about global challenges and identify the opportunities, which can be the next steps to address the challenges. The Global Opportunity project and the report are thinking along similar lines.

At the Youth Opportunity Panel you worked with students from different backgrounds. Do you think that that was beneficial to the discussions?

Yes, definitely. We always benefit from collaborating with people from different backgrounds or different fields of study. At the Youth Opportunity Panel there was definitely a majority of students from engineering. I was the only one from political science. We think in different ways and that brought new perspectives into the conversation.

What is your dream of a sustainable future?

I am dreaming of a world without discrimination. The theme of the next ISFIT festival is discrimination and how to combat it. My dream is a future where people are not discriminated against and where everyone has equal opportunities. The people being discriminated against are those with few opportunities in life. It is all because we are living in an unsustainable world.

At the Youth Opportunity Panel each group presented an opportunity to address the risk of rising emissions from transport. Which one was your favourite opportunity?

 All the opportunities were quite similar. Three out of four concerned transparency. We all agreed that businesses need to be more transparent about how products are transported around the world and what the emissions are. The customers should be aware of the real costs of production and transportation.

Do you have a key take away from the day that you would like to share with other students, business or politicians?

I learned the value of trying to find opportunities rather than to focus on the negative. There is always an opportunity. We are talking about heavy stuff here, but still we were able to come up with opportunities. That was a nice thing to learn.

Photo credit: Hildur Agustsdottir

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