Courage to use OUR voice!

16-09-2022 7:30 am

Unfortunately not everything that we experienced was positive. Thankfully my sister and I had both our parents with us, who took care of us. Without their support, I probably wouldn't have the courage to use my voice, and would have just accepted the things that happened both before we arrived in Billund and while we were there.

My only hope for future CGA delegates is that Billund City Council and The Lego Foundation are more involved in the process of the Childrens General Assembly from the first day to the last day. CGA needs to be more transparent in their activities. There was very little "learning through play", which to me made no sense when that was the whole reason we were in Billund!

I truly hope that this blog post may help future delegates and their parents ask the questions that we didn't think we needed to ask. I would be sad if the organisers made the same mistakes next year.

I wish the organisers and sponsers the best of luck for next years Childrens General Assembly.

Remember that CGA is about listening to the voices of the children, and not the adults!

How could Childrens General Assembly be better?

- The facilitators and especially the leadership need to have more focus on Childrens General Assembly being a Voice for the children, and not "smoke and mirrors" for the adults behind the scenes telling us what we can say and do!

- More importantly the Manifesto should be written by the Children and not the communication team they hired.

- No adult should hurt or harm any of the children. The facilitators and leadership should especially be trained to work with children.

- The program should be designed for the delegates to enjoy being a delegate! The only breaks that we had were when we were on the bus being transported from one location to another. As well as we went long periods of time without food. Several of the delegates had food allergies and ate only fruit because their dietary needs were not taken into consideration. There were many children between the age of 10-13 years, and the days were too long.

- Our parents should be at the same location as the delegates (or a location nearby), so that they can also be our eyes and ears if conflicts arise. 

- The various roles should be equally divided amongst all the current delegates and or the groups, chosen by the delegates themselves and not the facilitators or leadership.

- Each group should have the opportunity to present their group speech, as each group has spent months preparing for CGA. It was extremely frustrating and disappointing for many of the delegates that we told only the day before the official ceremony, that they weren't allowed to do their speeches. 

- All our Ambassadors should be in attendance to help facilitate and care for the delegates well-being. The safe-guarding routines failed miserably for many of the delegates and their families.


Group photo with some of this years delegates and the Mayor of Billund Stephanie Storbank (15-09-2022) Photo credit: CGA

September Summit

15-09-2022 11:55 pm

Finally after six months and three very intense days, the Childrens General Assembly Manifesto was presented at an official ceremony at the September Summit in Billund today.

58 children representing our respective country, our parents, representatives from Billund City Council and Ambassadors (representing their respective country) were all present (in the audience) to watch the pre-recorded presentation that we had filmed on Wednesday. Only the panel discussion was a live-show!

I have been asked numerous times what my take-away from CGA is. In other words, what was my impression? As you can see from the photos below, the offical ceremony was everything we had hoped that the last day would be. The celebration and after-after-party with our new friends was of course one of the many highlights of the day, as well as meeting the many Ambassadors that had taken the time to attend the event. 

But one of my very best memories was definitely meeting the principal of International School Billund, Camilla Uhre Fog when we visited the International School as well as visitng the Drive Motivated Learning School on Wednesday. Drive school is a school for children with different special needs which uses motivation as a driving force. Every town and city in the world should have at least one Drive school. What inspired me the most about the International school and Drive school were their principals positive energy and attitude to their students and learning.

Below are more photos of all the wonderful people I was fortunate to meet before, during and after the Childrens General Assembly September Summit!

Together with some of the delegates representing the Nordic countries - Sydney and I (Norway, Emma (Sweden), Margit (Greenland), Valentina (Sweden), Nanna (Denmark) (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Talking with H. E. Ambassador Gabriella Jakab, Embassy of Hungary in Copenhagen (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

With H. E. Ambassador Gabriella Jakab, Embassy of Hungary in Copenhagen outside of Lego House in Billund (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

At Lego House in Billund, Denmark with Sara (Serbia), Armen (Armenia), Emma (Denmark), Me (Norway), Emma (Sweden) (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

This is how WE take a photo! (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Co-hosts of the Childrens General Assembly 2022 at Lego House in Billund, Lylah Camire (United States) and Cameron Davis (Canada) (15-09-2022) Photo credit: O. R. Bøhn

Debate panelists with Grace (Burkina Faso), Sarah (Pakistan) and Michele (Italy) (15-09-2022) Photo credit: O. R Bøhn

From the pre-recorded presentation of the Manifesto with all the delegates and co-hosts Hesara (Singapore) and Roberto (France) (15-09-2022) Photo credit: CGA

With H. E. Ambassador Kerin Ayyalaraju of the Australian Embassy Denmark, Norway and Iceland and H. E. Ambassador Dewi Savitri Wahab of the Republic of Indonesia to Denmark and Lithuania (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

With H. E. Ambassador Kerin Ayyalaraju of Australia and H. E. Ambassador Dewi Savitri Wahab of the Republic of Indonesia (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

With the Mayor of Billund Stephanie Storbank at Lego House (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

With the Mayor of Billund Stephanie Storbank (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Together with H. E. Ambassador Tina Krce of The Republic of Croatia in Denmark (15-09-2022) Photo credit: V. Svebakk

With the CEO of Drive Motivated Learning School in Billund Christopher Moyell Juul (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Together with H. E. Ambassador Fikile Sylvia Magubane of the Republic of South Africa (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Together with H. E. Ambassador Fikile Sylvia Magubane of South Africa and delegate, Vanessa Wright (Canada) (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

With Mr Solomon Dude, Embassy of South Africa (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Together with local politician in Billund Sofie Rask Schmahl (15-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Our first official day of Children's General Assembly!

13-09-2022 10:40 pm

Our first official day of Children's General Assembly has sadly come to an end. Thankfully we have two more exciting days ahead of us before we present the Manifesto. Since I uploaded our manifesto, the final draft has undergone changes - some for the better and others ...

My little sister Sydney and I were lucky to be chosen to represent our home country of Norway, just as other delegates are proudly representing their respective country.

Our parents have taught us to use our voices. Anyone that knows me, and or have followed me and my family on my blog know that the journey we have travelled as a family, hasn't been a easy one. I found my voice, mostly because my parents have always created safe spaces for us to talk about the issues and challenges that concern us. Not everyone in the world are equally as fortunate. 

A small side note: For the past 6 years I have had my blog. Here I can share the events and activities in my life that I have been privileged to be a part of - the good, the bad and the devastatingly sad moments, as my parents often says. Over the next few weeks I will upload and post photos, reels and commentary about what I have learnt, the events of the past 6 months and of course, the people that I have met.

Almost 60.000 people have clicked on to my blog, and equally as many have faithfully followed me. Some have commented and an overwhelming number have sent messages to me. When I started my blog, I could never have imagined how positively people would respond to my writing. Thank you to everyone who still continues to follow me 6 years later, and to everyone who visits, even if it is only for a quick visit.

Nordic delegates proudly representing our respective country (13-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Delegates representing Norway, Finland, and Denmark (13-06-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Already on our first official day of Childrens General Assembly, we exchanged digits (13-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Nordic delegates and our parents (14-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

Children's Call to action!

16-08-2022 11:30 pm

"The happiness of the human being must in any society be an end in itself.

The empowerment of the ordinary people of our world freely to determine their destiny, unhindered by tyrants and dictators, is at the very heart of the reason for the existence of this (United Nations) organisation.

The great challenge of our age to the United Nations organisation is to answer the question - given the interdependence of the nations of the world, what is it that we can and must do to ensure that democracy, peace and prosperity prevail everywhere.

Our common humanity and the urgency of the knock on the door of this great edifice, demand that we must attempt even the impossible."

Dear distinguished members of the UN General Assembly,

Do these words sound familiar to you? Maybe you’ve heard them before? These timely words are not ours. We have borrowed them from the late Mr. Nelson Mandela, the former President of the Republic of South Africa. These words and many more were part of Mr. Mandela’s historical speech when he addressed the United Nations as the first South African leader since the United Nations conception in 1945.

Why have we chosen these words in particular?

Almost 30 years since Mr. Mandela spoke these words, they should serve as a reminder of hope: Our common humanity demand that we must attempt even the impossible – the happiness of the human being must in any society be an end in itself.

80 children representing 42 countries have come together to co-create our call to action. We represent the 2,2 billion children all over the world whose voices you do not hear. Today we are their microphone.

We call upon you, the UN General Assembly, for change. Can you hear us?

Most of us live in countries where peace, plenty and prosperity are gifts that we too often take for granted. It is difficult for many of us to imagine that the freedoms we enjoy such as free healthcare, education or even the simple pleasures of having three meals a day and a bed to sleep in, are human rights violations in too many of our global communities.

We live in a time where terrible events like being murdered on an island at a youth political camp, praying at mosque or even going to local shop are no longer tragic historical events we learn about at school. Wars, conflicts, and terrorist attacks affect us where we live. Tyrants, dictators, and terrorists do not discriminate against their victims. They do not care who they hurt, maim, or even kill. Terrible wars and conflicts have claimed untold victims, driving innocent children and their families across borders on an epic scale never seen before.

We live in a time where we learn that truth is up for debate. Where facts can be alternative. And news can be fake. Misinformation creates distrust. When truth and honesty should unite communities and move us closer together to solve global issues, instead we are divided by half-truths and fiction. Fake news is not a new phenomenon, but the speed at which it travels is. While the advancement of technology and access to social media is astounding and empowers us individuals, the same technology is also used to exploit and radicalise children.

We live in a time where the earth beneath our feet, the same earth that sustains and provides for us with plenty and prosperity of resources, threatens our very existence on this earth. Climate change and global warming are not catch phrases that our generation have cleverly thought up. These are global problems that affect us and our families, where we live.

We live in a time when almost half the world’s population of children have inadequate access to necessities like food and clean water, education, healthcare, or housing. Can you imagine what it is like not to have access to food and clean water? No, you probably can’t. According to UNICEF, an estimated 356 million children globally live in extreme poverty, forced to survive on barely 2 dollars a day. Could you feed yourself on only 2 dollars a day? As staggering as that number is, it is even more alarming that 1 billion children worldwide are multi-dimensionally poor.

Our global voices are urging you to act. Can you still hear us? Our solution and message to you is not revolutionary, it is simple: Education, education, education!

The United States third President, Thomas Jefferson unequivocally believed that “Education was critical for the preservation of happiness and freedom”. Education should not be a privilege reserved for the lucky few. Education is a fundamental human right for all 2.2 billion of us, irrespective of where in the world we call home. And yet, 258 million children are denied the right to an education.

We know that the global problems we face seem incomprehensible. But we have never been in any doubt how important education is in remedying these issues. Education gives us the tools to engage in society, to battle inequality, to counter injustice. And to take on the common responsibility of creating change.

Our schools are not only an important place for learning. They are the centre of our local communities. Our schools are where we met our friends, play sports, and eat our lunch together. Our schools are where we learn democracy in practice. Democracy is by no means perfect, but we learn how democracy and our voices help build stronger communities. Most importantly our schools are our safe space from the rest of the world. For a few hours a day, our schools are where we go to be children.

Safe space education, is exactly what it sounds like. Schools where children can feel safe. A place where misinformation, conspiracy theories and alternative facts are debated and debunked. Where we are equipped to think freely and ask questions without censorship, restraint, or fear of reprisal.

Safe space education, are schools that are free from all form of violence and discrimination. Safe space education are schools that can be a safe haven for all children – no matter who they are, how they look, where they come from. Where we are all equal. Where an inclusive learning environment is the norm for children with different abilities and learning styles and other talents to nurture.

To our politicians, policy makers – our world leaders:

Safe space education should be the standard. Non-negotiable standard in global education. In other words, we should be allowed to expect more than the bare minimum. The responsibility of our future falls not only on you, our world leaders. This is a global responsibility. Not just for our sake. But for your own. For the world.

Over the past six months, 80 children from all corners of the world have dedicated our free time to discussing the global issues that are important to us. The challenges that we have outlined in this document are only a few of the major problems that we know are affecting the lives of children around the world. If there is one thing that we are certain of, we should be at the centre of processes that directly affect our lives.

We should be heard as equal citizens by decision makers across all areas, especially when are at our most vulnerable during a crisis. We should not be left behind in discussions about our rights, but should instead be a part of the process, like all other citizens. Only by involving us in the conception, implementation and assessment of laws, policies, and strategies, can we develop truly inclusive communities. We know that our view of the world has a unique value for our global community.

Generations before you have underestimated how resourceful and fierce we are in our convictions. We refuse to be sidelined while the global issues of yesterday and today are even more insurmountable for the future children that come after us.

Our solutions may seem simple, but our unique perspective of the world, as tragic as some of our experiences are, allows us to think of solutions that are yet to be discovered. For generations we have tried it your way. Maybe it is time to try it our way and be on the same team?

Our legacy is not to leave the problems for someone else to fix. Our legacy is that the future children will follow in our footsteps just as we stand on the shoulders of those that came before us.

In closing we leave you with the following words of the great Mr. Nelson Mandela: The happiness of the human being must in any society be an end in itself.

Thank you for your time!

Above is our manifesto that I had the privledge of writing together with a few of the participants of Children's General Assembly. We have included the main topics that each of the eight groups representing the global regions have worked on during the 30+ hours of digital workshops.

As representatives of the countries we love, we are extremely proud of the work that we put into Children's General Assembly, hence the reason why I decided to post this on my blog.

Why not choose kindness? It costs absolutely nothing (13-09-2022) Photo credit: S. Svebakk-Bøhn

My letter to Capital of Children - Playful Minds organisers!

Below is a screenshot PDF copy of my letter on behalf of the delegates from my group. Each delegate in the Consolidation group working on the Manifesto was asked to give feedback on the first draft. I wrote a letter to the organisers instead, which unfortunately I received no reply to! I think that it is important that in the future, the organisers need to be better at replying to the feedback that they receive whether they agree with it or not.

When an organisation claims to be "our staff" working on our behalf, it is impossible for us to trust the process that the organisers themselves do not follow up. 


To whom this letter this may concern,

Re: Manifesto draft

I am writing this letter on behalf of Children’s General Assembly group H who represent the Scandinavia countries, otherwise known as the Nordics.

Yesterday our group spent approximately half of our last workshop discussing the manifesto draft. After reading through the document, our group came to the consensus that we were extremely disappointed to find that our topic had not been included in the final draft. Even more surprising was that of all the 8 groups different topics, only one topic was represented in detail in the final draft – Education.

For the last three months, each of the eight groups have dedicated almost 30 hours to intense discussion and collaboration, based on the belief that our dedication to CGA and our personal time and effort that we had brought to each workshop , would eventually lead to our voices being heard by the policy and decision makers in the United Nations.

Imagine our surprise and disappointment when we read the manifesto draft, and the only evidence of our dedication was summarised in eight words. Eight words that unfortunately do not even hint at the hard work our members have put into the workshops. In the second paragraph you will find the following eight words: “(…) to a girl who lost a sibling to terrorism (…).” Eight words that had been taken out of context relating to two delegates personal tragedy and used as a side note in the same sentence as another delegate (in another group) who has experienced power shortages.

After interesting and engaged discussions, our group chose “freedom of expression/speech, hate speech and terrorism” as our group’s topic. Freedom of expression is a universal human right that give us the fundamental right to speak out on issues that we want our world leaders to do something about. In CGA, we need to uphold this freedom even when we are working on the manifesto draft.

We believe that CGA has the potential to be an amazing forum for global youth so that we can express our opinions, and offer solutions about issues that are important to us. The manifesto draft refers to itself as a document “to voice our thoughts and ideas – the voices of children”. But when our words are rewritten by facilitators who interpret and misrepresent our voices, we find it difficult to understand how CGA can be an organisation for children/global youth. The manifesto draft reads as if it was written by adults rather than children. The draft lack’s structure, statistics and facts, and genuine interest in the topics that each of our groups have discussed.

It is our strong opinion and deepest wish on behalf of all the 80 delegates, that the manifesto draft includes a summary of each group’s main topic, written by the representatives that were chosen as part of the “consolidation group” with the help of the facilitators in each of the respective groups. The facilitators in each group know their delegates and have developed a relationship to each of us. We are confident that they can assist us to summarise our topics that best represents our unified voices.

Since each delegate represents their respective country, we think that it would also be effective if we all signed the manifesto before it was sent to the UN. If the other delegates agree to this, then it is also important that we also unanimously agree to the structure of the manifesto and the text summary of each topic. This would mean that we would have to spend more time on rewriting the manifesto draft but if each group continued to work on their individual summaries, we could all have a second draft ready by the end of July, or beginning of August.

I would also like to add that on a personal note, my little sister and I who represent Norway in group H, were upset when we read how our older sister Sharidyns tragic story was included in what we feel is a “sidenote” in the manifesto draft. I have held speeches, presentations, and seminars for more than 6 of the last 11 years since she was killed, educating people both in Norway and internationally about the dual terrorist attacks in Norway and the importance of remembering the victims, among others our sister. It is therefore extremely important to us to honour our sister’s memory, not by using her tragic and brutal death as a sidenote but by telling her story and remembering her name. Each victim of terrorism is a “lived life” mourned by their family, just as we mourn our sister still, 11 years after her death. We ask that if the facilitators wish to include our sister’s story in the manifesto draft that we are included in the collaboration of the text so that our words honour her and other victims of terrorisms memory.

We look forward to your response.

Kind regards


Savannah Svebakk-Bøhn

Writing the Manifesto!

At the end of the workshops, each group chose four representatives - two representatives to work in the Consolidation group (Manifesto) and two representatives for the Ideation group. I was chosen to work on the Manifesto together with another delegate representing my Nordic neighbour Sweden.

The first meeting of the Manifesto group was held on the 18th June. For many of the delegates it was the middle of the night because they were in different time zones from the rest of us that shared the same time zone as Denmark where the organisers were located.

Below is a screenshot PDF copy of the first Manifesto draft written by a Communications Team (from Copenhagen) hired by the organisers at Capital of Children, Playful Minds. We did not know who had written the first Manifesto draft until a few months later when the Consolidation group had their second meeting on the 7th August. 

CoC Manifesto draft - Page 1 of 3

CoC Manifesto draft - Page 2 of 3

CoC Manifesto draft - Page 3 of 3

Children's voice for change - Our group speeches! 

80 children aging from 10 to 17 years from all around the world representing 42 countries. We were divided up into different regions - approximately 8-10 children in each of the 8 groups. 

We attended five 4-hour long digital workshops over a period of two-three months (from March to June 2022) where we collaborated and discusssed the global issues and challenges that each group felt was important to them.

Below is a screenshot PDF copy of all our group speeches (which I have formatted with the same font).

It was important to me and many of the other delegates to post our group speeches here on my blog, so that people who knew that we were a part of Childrens General Assembly (CGA) could read OUR speeches that WE wrote!

We are extremely proud of the work that we not only put into the 30+ hours of workshops but also the extra hours of CGA homework, working on our research, interviews, presentations, drawings and speeches. The majority of the delegates are high school aged and have other interests, academic and extra-curricular activities that we are involved in.

Acknowledging and validating the hard work that each delegate put into the workshops and our speeches is an vital part of any process especially when you are working with children. This is something that the organisers and facilitators (Capital of Children - Playful Minds in Billund) could be alot better at and improve on. 

Group A speech on Healthcare, page 1 of 2

Group A speech on Healthcare, page 2 of 2

Group B speech on Discrimination, page 1 of 2

Group B speech on Discimination, page 2 of 2

Group C speech on Climate change, Human Rights, Education and Violence, page 1 of 3

Group C speech on Climate change, Human Rights, Education and Violence, page 2 of 3

Group C speech on Climate change, Human Rights, Education and Violence, page 3 of 3

Group D speech on Education, page 1 of 2

Group D speech on Education, page 2 of 2

Group E speech on Education, page 1 of 2

Group E speech on Education, page 2 of 2

Group F speech on Civic Engagement and Inclusion, page 1 of 1

Group G speech on Climate Change, page 1 of 2

Group G speech on Climate Change, page 2 of 2

Group H speech on Freedom of Speech, page 1 of 1