Ungdommes Folkemøde 2022
Updated: Jan 18
On the 7th and 8th of September, I was honored to be a part of Ungdommes Folkemøde 2022. I was attending Ungdommes Folkemøde with the team of Nordic Pioneers, and the others who made it to top 10 for the Pioneers Prize; Dandelions, Luqman Wadood from Jeuno.no, and the winner of the Pioneer prize 2021; Antirasistarnir. Ungdommes Folkemøde is a 2-day democratic festival, where the aim is to create a link between the youth and the decision-makers in the society. Since 2016, Ungdommens Folkemøde has gathered around 30,000 young participants at Valbyparken to meet a multitude of organizations from across the country.
The Folkemøde started with an opening speech by Mette Frederiksen, the prime minister of Denmark. Her speech was focused on the youth and the Danish education system, and the amendments that she would like to see happen, if given the chance in the future. As she was exiting the park, I got to catch her, and tell her about Nordic Women in STEM, and even gave her one of our goodie bags, which included our t-shirt, notebook, and a brochure informing about the work we do.
After meeting Mette, I met with Matematikcenter for a short interview along with Karin, and the interview was hosted by Bolette. Matematikcenter is the only homework help service in Denmark that specializes in mathematics. They offer free homework help throughout the country, where committed volunteers help children and young adults with mathematics, a subject many struggle with. Matematikcenter is a non-profit organization that allows children and young adults the desire to explore the world of mathematics and open their eyes to the possibilities that mathematics opens, this is exactly what we would like to do with STEM. They offer homework help in homework cafés across the country and have an online homework café: Webmatlive.dk. Karin is a volunteer at the mathematics café, and Bolette who hosted the interview is the Head of Secretariat. Throughout the interview, the focus was on the importance of role-models in the life of young adults, and how having role-models can impact one’s life. It was lovely talking with these lovely ladies, and by the end of the interview I got to showcase the robots that are used in our workshops, which the crowd seemed excited about.
The rest of day 1 was reserved for standing at the stand placed at the SAGA tent with the rest of the top 10 nominees. Here I got to meet Naima, a member of SAGA, and one of the members behind the podcast, “a seat at the table” – this is a podcast which talks about how it is being a black woman in today’s society. The time at the stand was dedicated to talking with whoever came to stand and wanted to ask questions. In the afternoon, Charlotte, the Swedish ambassador in Denmark paid a visit as well. It was lovely to meet her, and I got to tell her about the work we do at NWiSTEM. When showing her the robots, Charlotte wanted to try the code herself. She got to code and run the wheel(y) robot, which she seemed to like. We also discussed about the importance of women in STEM, and the situation in Sweden, which is like Denmark, Charlotte agreed to the fact that women are needed in STEM to harvest innovation in these fields, and it was nice to see her support to the cause.
The 2nd day started with a workshop, which was arranged by the British Embassy in collaboration with Nordic Pioneers. The focus of the workshop was on Breaking the Bias, an initiative which the British Embassy has focused on. The British Embassy have also taken another initiative called, Ambassador for a day. This is a day for girls between the ages of 13 to 17 to come to the embassy, and experience how it is to be an ambassador. I got to participate in the workshop along with Antirasistarnir, who run a NGO based in Iceland where they try to teach people more about racism, and highlight the many issues regarding racism. The workshop was attended by 2 high school classes. It started with me talking about NWiSTEM, and what we do. I tried to have a conversation with the classes about their own experience regarding STEM and wanted to hear their opinions about women in STEM. The students seemed interesting, and some even raised their hands to share their opinion, which was all positive towards the cause. After the talk, I decided to go to all the tables and show the students the code up close, along with wanting to give them the chance to run the robot and see how it works up close.
The rest of the day at the Folkemøde was again reserved for meeting the attendees, along with networking and meeting people from other organizations. The American Ambassador was also visiting, and I got to catch him and talk to him about NWiSTEM. He too seemed interested in the cause and talked about the stereotypes that exist for the people who work within STEM, and he also mentioned how important it is to challenge these and try to change people’s outlook on STEM – an important step towards getting more people to join STEM.
At the end of day 2, we were invited to the residence of the Swedish Ambassador for a lunch, where the Ambassadors for Norway and Finland were also invited. It was lovely to have a sit-down talk with the ambassadors, and the others nominated for the Pioneer Prize. We all got to converse and tell the ambassadors about our organizations. I got to bring out the robots, and show the other ambassadors how the robots work, and wanted them to try the robots. I had a pre-written code, which the Finnish Ambassador got to run. When talking with the ambassadors, it was great to hear about their thoughts on the different initiatives, and how they could easily see how needed these initiatives are and offered to support in the future as well.
I would like to thank the team behind Nordic Pioneers; Sebastian, Chiara, Sara, Lotte, and Mads for inviting me to be a part of Ungdommens Folkemøde, an amazing experience I will always remember and cherish. It was great meeting one of the winners from last year; Antirasistarnir, and the nominated who made it to top 10 this year. A special thank you to Charlotte for the lovely lunch, and the rest of the ambassadors for all their support.