November 13, 2012

Lessons Learned at One Young World {Part 1}

I'm talking about One Young World again in another attempt to make sense of it all. The more I think about what I came away with from the summit, I noticed that most of the ambassadors keep talking about the same things; leadership, taking initiative, collaboration & the main lesson we could each relate to the most. So here is my personal list of lessons learned at One Young World, split into parts because I don't want to go on another loony rant...

1.) There are heroes everywhere


I left Pittsburgh with an updated list of personal heroes (Malala, Carol Stone and Astro Ron, to name a few) and I'm pretty sure I sat through most plenary sessions with wide eyes and mouth agape; I was blown away by the courage, determination and brilliance of SO many people at this summit and I couldn't believe that they were normal people who had just done heroic things. One of these people, Jessica Jackley of Kiva.com,  described what it takes to become a superhero: "We have to be careful because sometimes our powers can go unused...You have to believe in yourself & be utterly convinced of your powers. Give yourself permission to be a superhero; because superheroes are just regular people who decided to put on a capeThey decided to be great and to put on their greatness because they know the world needs them. They're not afraid to fail, they're not afraid to just get out there and try."


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 2.) Our possibilities are only limited by our imagination


Our possibilities are only limited by imagination and our will to act...It is within our capabilities to solve problems.' BOOM. Astro Ron delivered one of the best speeches of the conference, hands down. Ron Garan is such a gifted speaker, introducing the concept of 'orbital perspective' (more on that later). He urged us to remember that 'every great accomplishment once seemed impossible and crazy', which is exactly what we needed to hear considering the tasks that lay ahead for today's youth, from battling poverty to solving the economic crisis. 'So we have to ask ourselves: if we have the capability to solve all of the problems that we face, why do so many critical problems still remain?"


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3.) There is so much power in numbers: Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate!


There is power in numbers; we all know that, but when the charismatic Sean Bailey, Secretary to UK PM David Cameron, unleashed these words on stage he was pretty blunt about the importance of numbers in politics especially: "Excite people to join your movement. Bring voice. Make it important. Numbers push politicians. " And this doesn’t just apply to peer-to-peer collaboration; in order to get your voice heard more young leaders need to actually be involved in politics itself. With the ability to collaborate on a global scale there’s no reason for anyone to have to do it alone; we need to work together towards our common goals across all countries, involving as many people as possible along the way. As Alvaro Uribe, former President of Colombia also raised the point of global collaboration: “Please do not think in countries. New generation: look for colleagues worldwide!" In this day and age, social media has given us a new and unique kind of power. 

…which leads me to my next set of lessons, coming up in Part 2!

{All images via One Young World & edited for this post}
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