November 6, 2012

The loony toon Ambassador - One Young World in a nutshell

Yikes, I've been a bad blogger.
This morning I got the kick in the butt that I've needed for a while now which came in the form of an email from a friend who was interested in joining the One Young World bandwagon. She wanted to know more details about my trip and she asked me why I hadn't put more on my blog. I realised I'd failed at keeping a promise I'd made to myself which was to let every person possible know about this great opportunity, so that I can make it more available to them as well. So without further ado, I'll continue on my loony toon rant about this amazing conference.  Here are some more details, which are perfectly timed with the new application for Johannesburg in October, 2013, which opened today. 

The who, what, when, where & how of One Young World:

One Young World 2012 was held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Founded in 2009 by David Jones and Kate Robertson, both successful entrepreneurs, One Young World is 'a charity that gathers young people globally and aims at helping the delegates form lasting connections which will enable them to create positive change.'
Candidates must first submit a proposal on pressing issues affecting the world, or more specifically their country. This can be a range of issues, including the role of business in society, transparency in business and government, the impact of climate change, global health and hunger relief. I chose to focus on a preventative health intervention aimed at tackling Type 2 diabetes in the developing world because of the prevalence of this disease in Barbados. I had written this intervention as an assignment for a module on Health Campaigns and I got quite into it; I was shocked to see how this disease was poisoning my little island.

A friend of mine had attended the inaugural One Young World summit in London (in 2010) and suggested I give it a go. I didn’t really think anything of it again because I didn’t think I could get the funding in Barbados. I then saw that this year 100 delegate positions were being offered to support individuals from under-represented countries. The ‘100 Bar None’ scheme has brought delegates from countries who have never before had a presence, such as Barbados, Somalia, Iraq and the Ivory Coast. I jumped at the opportunity, applied the same day and won full sponsorship, which included the flights, hotel and conference ticket.
Because I was the only Barbadian delegate I was automatically selected to bear our broken trident at the opening ceremony and it was a great feeling walking down the carpet to lay down our flag next to to those of 183 other countries. 

The organisation is run by a team of counsellors who are all experts & visionaries in their fields; Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton, Fatima Buttho, Muhhamed Yunnis, Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof, Jamie Oliver, Richard Branson and corporate CEOs from Barclays, Unilever & KPMG, to name a few, so you can imagine the impact which One Young World delegates will have through this network. This is then topped with incredible One Young World ambassadors who have taken this opportunity to start their own companies, social businesses, movements & initiatives to bring about the change they wish to see in the world. 

Our days were filled with speeches, plenary & break out sessions, networking, networking and more networking. I met people from all walks of life and shared stories with certain delegates who had never even heard of Barbados. It was totally overwhelming and exhausting at times; I was moved to tears by those who shared their stories of courage, dedication and hope. This emotional sensitivity may also have been due to the insane amounts of caffeine consumed in order to keep up.

One Young World was life changing for me; I was in the presence of such great, inspiring people the entire time and I’ve come away with a renewed sense of self and what it is I want to do with my life, for my country and other people. One of the main messages I’ve taken away with me from this weekend is that age and experience are not factors which determine success. If anything, being young and willing to try to new things is that often brings about the best ideas. We were encouraged to push for what we believe in, whether it was to pressure governments to focus more on sustainability or to start our own business ventures, we were encouraged to keep on pushing. Challenges will arise, we will be told that we’re too young, too foolish and we will be turned away at first; but the key is to keep on pushing.
The One Young World Summit has been all about diversity of perspectives, power of collaboration and youth empowerment to ultimately make this world a better place. As idealistic as it sounds, the summit has succeeded in bringing together a rich diversity of perspectives: 1300 delegates, 182 countries, business leaders, writers, politicians, human rights activists from all over the world.


My main aim at this point is to make sure that as many Bajans as possible know about this conference so that I can get an entire TEAM together for next year. We have some of the brightest youth in the world on our little rock and I want the whole world to know it by bringing our ideas to the international table. I'm hoping to scream it out loud virtually through this blog, Facebook, Twitter & our local news outlets so that I can get all those who are interested in something like this to join in. If you know anyone who would be keen, please share this information with them. If I can get just ONE more person to join in, then I'm one step closer to fulfilling my promise.

So ladies and gents, who's joining me in Johannesburg next year?

If it's you, click here to sign up.
If you're still not sure, have a paroozle here and you may just change your mind :)

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