Sabine Fankhauser, 20, grew up in Riehen (Canton of Basel-Stadt). Her interest in international affairs was piqued during a school exchange to New Zealand. After completing secondary education, Sabine therefore decided to take a gap year to travel, work and volunteer. At the end of that year, she started her studies in international relations at the University of St. Gallen. Alongside her studies, Sabine tries to find out more about the widest possible range of different viewpoints and cultures. During the past 15 years she has been a host sister to many young guests from Latin and North America, Lithuania, Romania and New Zealand, who have helped to give her an understanding of their respective cultures whilst spending several months as part of her family. In 2015, Sabine and her family decided to welcome a young girl from Eritrea. By seeing things from her guest sister’s point of view, Sabine gained a much deeper understanding of the challenges refugees face in Switzerland on a cultural, linguistic and technical level.
When Sabine is not pursuing her hobbies (snowboarding and playing the saxophone), she devotes her free time to social activities. Along with other young adults, she spent several months co-organising the Swiss German Delegation’s trip to the World Youth Day in Krakow, for example, and offered additional German language assistance to migrants on behalf of the Youth Red Cross St. Gallen. Being in contact with and talking to young people from a variety of backgrounds has taught Sabine the importance of integrating all young people into society.
During her time as a youth rep, she therefore aims to take the concerns and needs of young people seriously, introduce their opinions into national and international politics and encourage young people to take an active role in shaping their own future. She believes that incorporating young people can be of benefit to politics in terms of creativeness and new perspectives, and she wants to work towards a society which attaches more value to the voice of young people.