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Youth Pavilion opened in Vienna

On Monday Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit concluded three days of meetings and lectures in Vienna. Among other activities, she opened the Youth Pavilion, a networking space for young people involved in the fight against AIDS.


Youth Pavilion was opened in connection with the world’s largest health conference, AIDS 2010, which is currently taking place in the Austrian capital. Some 20,000 delegates are participating at the conference. The Youth Pavilion will be hosting a series of meetings, seminars, concerts and exhibitions up until Friday 23 July.

We are here because we need young people’s frankness, openness, courage, energy and expertise. We are here because 40 % of new infections are among young people under the age of 24. We are here because the AIDS response needs a new generation of leadership,” said the Crown Princess in her opening speech.

Youth leadership

Crown Princess Mette-Marit was appointed a UNAIDS Special Representative in 2006. Over the past two years she has focused particular attention on strengthening youth leadership in the AIDS effort.

Last year the Crown Princess invited 28 young leaders from all over the world to the Young Leaders Summit II in Oslo. The participants at the summit worked on developing specific recommendations for how to secure funding for youth-led projects, influence decision-makers and change the way HIV/AIDS is depicted in the media.

The conference in Vienna represents an important step forward in these efforts. On Saturday three projects specifically aimed at strengthening youth leadership were launched. The youth perspective has been a key issue throughout the entire week of the conference.

Met with youth delegates

The theme of the conference is “Rights here, right now”. On Monday morning the Crown Princess attended two plenary presentations, one on Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention, the other on HIV, Drug Policy and Harm Reduction.

Former US President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, delivered his keynote speech.

During the conference Crown Princess Mette-Marit also visited the Norwegian booth where she spoke to youth delegates from the organisation for HIV positive gay men, Homopositiv; the PMV Centre for Health, Dialogue and Development; the international non-governmental youth movement Changemaker and the Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU) about how young people can contribute to the AIDS effort. “Youth, we can” was the motto of the youth delegates.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit in Vienna during the XVIII International AIDS Conference – in Norwegian (Photo: Liv Anette Luane Kristensen, the Royal Court)

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