Panasonic's Kid Witness News global summit nurtures a new generation of leaders

This information provided by Smart Cities Council Compassionate Cities.

If it's hard as adults to make sense of what's going on in our world, imagine what kids must think of today's challenges – from famine and climate change to all manner of human atrocities. We can get a glimpse from Panasonic's Kid Witness News (KWN) initiative which has been giving elementary, junior high and high school students an opportunity to videotape "The World through Their Eyes" since 1989. Today the KWN program is in 18 countries and has involved more than 180,000 children and teachers.  Next week it launches an inspiring new phase – bringing KWN video contest winners from around the world together in Tokyo to nurture a next generation of young leaders.  – Liz Enbysk


KWN is an interactive educational program in which participating schools are supplied with video equipment and the videos they produce are judged in contests every year. The children complete the entire production process themselves, from planning to investigation, filming and editing.

This year saw around 5,000 participants, with submissions received from 343 schools. They produced five-minute videos on three broad themes – communication, environment and sports. Children offered their own unique perspectives on issues close to them – from global environmental problems to people who have dealt with disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Panasonic completed the final judging process for the 2017 contest, with judges selecting 26 national winners. Here's a quick look at some of their video story lines:

  • A homeless boy encounters the world of music and sees his own world changed. -- Guilherme Dumont Villares School, Brazil
  • Students from two villages overcome their hatred to learn love and respect transcending religious and ethnic differences thanks to their teacher’s lessons. -- Primary School of Josef, Czech Republic
  • A student obsessed with computer games loses both friends and the chance to go to a good school. But his classmates care about him, trying to help him find a balance between the virtual world and the real world. – Ried Polytechnic School, Austria
  • A strange email received from the year 2077 tells the children of water shortages and environmental devastation in the future. -- Yuen Long Government Primary School, Hong Kong

Approximately 100 representatives from the winning schools have been invited to Tokyo to attend the first-ever KWN Global Summit 2017 from Aug. 1 to 5. During the summit the Grand Prix contest winners will be announced. Experts from the movie industry, media and education will choose the finalists.

But the summit is about more than video winners.

A world working together
"Amid a global environment that calls for the world to work more closely together," Panasonic suggests, the summit is a new initiative aimed at nurturing the next generation of young global leaders. It will give the young participants opportunities to further mutual understanding and promote peaceful coexistence by looking at social issues from a global perspective with a focus on "Create Our Future Together."

After studying the issues together they will give presentations entitled "Our Proposal for a Better Future." Their activities are scheduled to be broadcast live via KWN Facebook and YouTube.

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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