Last month around these days, I was planning to go on a trip of a lifetime. Centennial College provided me with the opportunity to go and feed my hunger to be part of global event, the universally acclaimed One Young World Summit founded by David Jones and Kate Robertson. The first summit was held in 2012 by the leadership and guidance of Former President of Ireland, Mary Robertson, and after that has been an active Counselor for all the summits. One Young World is the preeminent global forum for leaders aged 18-30. The not-for-profit organization hosts an annual Summit with 1,300 delegates from all 196 countries; drawn from businesses, universities, NGOs and other forward thinking organizations. The delegates are joined by One Young World Counselors — global luminaries who support the network of young leaders in their ambitious projects for change. Kofi Annan, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Mary Robinson and Bill Clinton have attended previous One Young World Summits as Counselors.
Being a One Young World Ambassador was no easy road for me, as being the lone representative for Centennial College required me to pass an interview which had all the potential candidates. Luckily and due to my good interview I was selected to represent my second home country Canada . I traveled to Ottawa through VIA train and reached the Hotel Delta on October 28th. Shortly after I reached my destination, the opening ceremony was held on the beautiful grounds of Parliament Hill.
The opening ceremony started with an orchestra by a NGO, Orkidstra. Then, all the Counselors arrived on stage and were welcomed by David and Kate. Finally, came the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
Then the day ended with beautiful flag ceremony and small keynotes by Counselors preparing us for what is next in three days.
Here is the link to the speech of our Prime Minister: https://www.facebook.com/JustinPJTrudeau/videos/10154700020940649/
The next day was full of plenary sessions, networking breaks and free Starbucks coffee! The three days focused on health, violent extremism, education, gender equality and economy. Amongst all these informative sessions, the things which left impressions on me are:
I learned that to change the world, we have to unite. As emerging leaders and the leaders of today in our communities, working alone is simply not an option.
1 – If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together
2015 Queen’s Young Leader award winner PJ Mandewa-Cole from Sierra Leone talked about his organization’s efforts in transforming the situation in the country and how by building a movement and leading people to join his mission really helped to super power his work.
2 – We need to bridge the gap between developing and developed nations
Listening to the way Mohammed Yunus has used social entrepreneurship and micro finance to transform livelihoods into sustainable entrepreneurship across Bangladesh inspired me. Developing parts of the world can adopt practices from other regions and the infrastructure and thought leaders from developed parts of the world can play a key part in injecting the inspiration, governance and leadership to help effectively build capacity on a global scale. We need cross-fertilization of ideas and talent between all corners of the world if we really want to unlock the key to equality in both participation of various groups and in economic development and opportunity creation.
3 – Cross-cutting partnerships are the way forward
Every sector, every country, every leader, has a piece of knowledge and experience which could be useful. I learned from breakout sessions at the conference that economic opportunities could be created for young people through effective collaborations between corporate foundations donating their employees’ time along with effective microfinance schemes, government backing and local leaders promoting opportunities. Who will be the leaders, the glue, the nucleus which joins such initiatives and leadership together to achieve systemic, sustainable social change? We need to think deeply about strategic, cross sector partnerships. In the UK for example, Youth Business International who I work for, work with governments, local agencies, donors and corporates in order to build youth entrepreneurship programmes across the world creating businesses and employment opportunities for young people.
I hope my thoughts and reflections are useful and give some ideas about achieving social change in innovative ways in your community. I will certainly be sharing further insight in future posts and look forward to your comments.
Amongst all these I came across so many young, successful people working hard to change their lives and ultimately change this planet. Made many friends from USA, UK, Spain, Austria, France, Brazil, Colombia, Australia and many more across the globe.
By: Sunpreet Singh