HM The Queen's speech at the “Lindau Young Researchers Nobel Laureate meeting”

Mainau, Germany

(The spoken version shall take precedence)

Good morning

Dear Laureates,
Dear Members of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Foundation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Family

I am very happy to be here among today in this beautiful scenery at Mainau Castle.

Being among the brightest minds of the world – and some of you I know very well from our Nobel Laureate meetings which are held every year in Stockholm - but also, being among the brightest young economic students from all over the world is just very special: You are the future leaders of the corporate world or in the public sector, non-governmental organizations or in the Academic field.

No matter where you will be, your influence in making a difference in the world might be very important. And I specifically mean the difference for children, in protecting them from exploitation, to making sure that violence against children is a crime and there is an end to child abuse. When I started the World Childhood Foundation 15 years ago, it was and still is my vision that every child should have the right to a happy childhood – to thrive and to succeed.

Many children are not given this right and if you just listen toa few facts just published a few weeks ago by the Global Unicef Report 2014:

  • This year in November we will celebrate 25 years of The Convention on the Rights of the Child. All nations of the world except two have ratified this convention.
  • Only 35 nations have ratified a law against corporal punishment – just 5 % of all children live in these states.
  • Throughout the world, every third girl under the age of 18 – some of them have not even celebrated their 7th birthday, are facing a forced marriage
  • More than 150 million girls and 73 million boys are subject to sexual abuse. This is a burning issue in territories of war and in refugee areas.
  • 100 million children are estimated living in the streets
  • Fifteen per cent of the world’s children are engaged in child labour that compromises their right to protection from economic exploitation and infringes on their right to learn and play

It is time to act and give children a safe and happy childhood!

I am confident that you, the next generation, will have a more holistic view and that your business decisions are not merely driven by the return on investment measured in €€€, Yen or Dollars but that a return on “social investment” starts playing a role on the corporate agendas. Increasing economic value is fine but it can equally be paired by the underlying business ethics which will be leading to a more sustainable world.

I am grounding this vision by a few known facts: research suggest an increase of the need to “finding a purpose” as one of the Top 10 criteria you are looking for when selecting your future employer. Also, the number of young volunteers is increasing at global level: you are more engaged in volunteer work, in finding opportunities where you can actively contribute with your skills, your creativity and your passion. And finally, your response to our call for “your big ideas to help small people” makes me confident that there is a high potential – among you, right here.

For the first time, Childhood sent out the invitation to join the global student challenge. This was made possible through the wonderful support of the Lindau Young Research Foundation team who was very supportive in collaborating for this joint initiative. And let me express my sincere Thank You especially to Nikolaus Turner who was very supportive of the idea right from the start and who – together with his wonderful team provided on-going support until today.

So the challenge was not an easy one.

We asked you to come up with a cause-related marketing plan which illustrates how companies could collaborate with Childhood in fighting child abuse in the sector of your choice. After the Judges made their selection for who is on the short-list, I heard there was an energetic final presentation round last evening. 6 very interesting and useful ideas where presented and voted by the Judging committee alongside with 100 students in the session.

Thanks to live-voting technology which was generously developed and sponsored by MWI technologies, you all selected the winner.

The team briefed me right after the session last night and they shared the results: The clear winner is Mr Bing Wan whose idea convinced strongly in all 3 criteria dimensions: innovation, impact and sustainability. It is my pleasure to ask Mr Bing Wan to meet me here on stage and please join me in a warm and heartfelt applause for an outstanding idea.

So the Global Childhood Award 2014 goes to Mr Bing Wan. From your work, we saw that you really engaged in this issue and that you truly care. So we would like to welcome you to our next Global Child Forum which will be held at the Royal palace in Sweden in 2015.

Thank you all and I look forward to the upcoming panel discussion.

Allow me to express one wish: on your way home tomorrow, if you have a few minutes with your mobile phones, go to and send a song to someone who made a difference in your childhood. This will be your first action and it takes less than 5 minutes. Thank you. org