At the beginning of September 1,200 future leaders from 170 countries gathered in Zurich to attend the second summit of One Young World, a global organisation that aims to bring together the youngest, brightest and best and to ensure that their concerns, opinions and solutions are heard. As the official carrier to this year’s summit SWISS flew many of the delegates to Switzerland from their home countries.
One Young World focuses on six key areas: Global Health, Environment, Global Business, Interfaith Dialogue, Media, and Leadership. These were defined by a global poll of young people from around the world prior to the inaugural summit in London in 2010 that set the stage for the launch of a variety of projects such as Flood Relief Effort and Sustainable Aid (Global Health) and The Future of Energy and Myanmar Youths In Action (Environment).
Aspiring delegates of One Young World are selected through a process of nomination by leaders in business, the public and voluntary sectors and from individuals from the world’s 192 countries. Candidates are required to be a team player; show leadership potential and skills; be concerned about global issues; show ability to grasp complex concepts and provide valuable insights; and have a proven record of volunteering and extra-curricular activities (evidence of which is to be supplied). Following the summit, the delegates return to their home countries to implement ideas and projects defined.
To get an idea of what the conference was all about I attended the opening ceremonies. On arriving at Zurich’s Kongresshaus I immediately sensed the upbeat spirit among the participants as they eagerly awaited the summit opening. A children’s choir from Zurich took the stage first, followed by the founders of One Young World, David Jones (Global CEO Havas, Euro RSCG Worldwide) and Kate Robertson (Group Chairman, Euro RSCG), who introduced the organisation’s counsellors. This impressive group included such personalities as Bob Geldof, Desmond Tutu, Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Fatima Bhutto and Waris Dirie. Over the course of the summit, the counsellors gave speeches, held workshops and led plenary discussions with the participants.
During the evening I spoke to several delegates to find out what attending this event meant for them.