16 Apr International Youth Summit of Transylvania

The International Youth Summit of Transylvania (IYST) took place in March 2019, and it was coordinated entirely by the high school students of Transylvania College. The conference was composed of three days of intensive debate, each approaching a different topic.

  • The Right to Education
  • The Rise of Extreme Nationalism
  • Education for Diversity

The summit is part of the Challenge 10/21 program, initiated and led by the same students. The end in mind is to create a 10-year program, each edition approaching a different topic.

Challenge 10/21 aims to create a legacy for future generations. It is a testament of faith in the power of students to make a change, through education and leadership.

The program started coming to life in June 2018

‘It all started with Erik Birinyi, one of my classmates. His idea was to organise a summit in our school after he himself participated in one in Washington. He believed in the potential of our school and us as students. He inspired me, seeing him so passionate about something of the sort’, explains Irina Ghițuică, one of the main coordinators.

Transylvania College hosted delegations from all around the world. We welcomed students from China, South Africa, USA, Germany, UK and Romania, covering in total 4 continents.

“The amount of student leadership that this conference entailed was astounding”, Jenna Johnston, one of the delegates from the USA, wrote for the DHS Press. “That and has showed me that students can really do anything that they set their minds to”.

From thought to receiving the High Patronage of the Romanian Presidency

“I was honoured to organise the event under the High Patronage and Mister Klaus Werner Iohannis supported our project from the very beginning. We are grateful for his support with developing the first exclusively student-led international summit.  The IYST is highly important for us, and although we have many ongoing projects in our school, this one is personal.”, revealed Erik Birinyi, the founder of the Challenge 10/21.

It is our duty as students to acknowledge the issues the world is facing today and find solutions together

“We created this conference to bring awareness about topics that people do not discuss so openly and seriously. These issues influence our day to day life, and the summit is the first step to making a change. Our duty is to acknowledge these issues and find solutions together.” says Sarah Suciu, the HR Manager of IYST.

“At the end of the debates, we created a MANIFESTO. It contained all the attainable solutions voted by each country. This document is of high importance, as we encouraged every school to implement it and make a change in their local community, city, or even in their country.”, added Sarah.

Students moderated the debates and shaped the outcomes of the discussions: “Being in the position to guide your delegates and view their ideas progress and get voted to form a manifesto is such a beautiful privilege. I am very glad I was able to be a part of this process”, says Sergiu Ciavoi, one of the Moderators.

Key Speakers @IYST

We had the pleasure to welcome Mister Dacian Cioloș – former Prime Minister of Romania, Mister Nigel Bellingham – Director at British Council Romania, Mister William McIntyre – Vice President International Education, International Education Practice Leader and Mister Dan Tarcea – vice-mayor of Cluj-Napoca as key speakers.

Dacian Cioloș opened the last day of debates, where the students worked together to find solutions to the rise of extreme nationalism. He talked about the role and importance of the European Union. The former Prime Minister concluded his speech by congratulating the students for taking the responsibility to make the world a better place for them and for future generations. You can read the full story here


The IYST team of students

The organising team took on essential roles in order to piece the conference together. The students understood very clearly that they had to be both efficient and effective in order to organise an event at such a big scale. Hence, they split into teams and each had a very specific role depending on their strengths and preferences.

The amazing team consisted of:

Erik Birinyi – Founder

Ilinca Avram – General Manager

Daria Perneș – Moderators Coordinator

Sarah Suciu – HR Manager

Ioan Pristavu – Finance Manager

Vivi Dozsa – Host Coordinator

Fabiana Pocol – Day 1 Coordinator

Irina Ghițuică – Day 1 Coordinator

Lili Moiș – Day 2 Coordinator

Alexandra Esca – Day 2 Coordinator

Teodora Miron – Day 3 Coordinator

Sarah Kocsis – Day 3 Coordinator

Diana Mihai – Day 3 Coordinator & Moderators Coordinator

Maria Vădan – Day 4 Coordinator


IYST as seen through the students’ perspective

Ioan Pristavu is the Finance Manager and talked about the summit from his perspective.

“I took part in this project because I knew the impact it can have. I knew it had great potential because of the people who worked for it. They had a burning passion to light up leadership in all of us. I believe that any change starts with you, and only with you. Other people will then see the change that you’ve done and will follow your footsteps.”

“It took a lot of hard work to organize this conference. We sometimes stayed until late at night in school, until around 8PM or 9PM. This did not bother us, as we learned many things, such as how to communicate effectively even the smallest of details.

People around us could not believe what we created! The adults found it difficult to believe that teenagers can be so organised and bring to life something that will basically shape our future. It took a while even for us to process what we have done. At the end of the day, looking back at the experience, it surely was all worth it. ”

Daria Pernes was the PR Manager of the summit and told us a few things about her experience:

”Watching it grow and develop every single day in front of my eyes taught me that we can do anything if we split it into small, attainable steps. Just like my fellow organisers and friends, I think that together we can leave this world a little better than we found it. The only way we can only do that is by getting actively involved in projects around us, and of course, by creating our own”.

Students making a difference

The students wanted the conference to have an impact that would be as significant as possible. Hence, they encourage students around the world to organise a series of satellite conferences, in their own schools. This is not an easy task to accomplish, as Sarah explains, but it would change the perspective of many adults of the world.

Miss Anca Rusu, the school’s Marketing and Admissions Director thought it was great to “witness how the entire conference team demonstrated the whole range of competencies we want to see in our students, including collaboration, resilience, compassion, emotional agility, integrity, kindness. What a beautiful demonstration of synergy, what a perfect example of good practices!”  

“This edition of IYST, and the future ones stand as proof that we can, in fact, make a difference. In order to improve things, we must do especially the things that we are not expected to do. You must do those things that seem impossible even though it requires hard work. Most people want the convenience of transformation, without dealing with the inconvenience. But you’re not most people, now are you?”, concludes Daria.


See photos from Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4.



Andra Sfetcu

Content Writer

Andra Sfetcu

Content Writer


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