Francisco Ponce, one of our GE delegates, gives his impressions of the final day.. He reflects on the inspiring young speakers – the CEO of Girl Boss who used the challenges she faced as fuel to inspire others, a survivor of the Pakistan terrorist attacks who is now a peace and education activist, and a blind student who created unique solutions to enable others to learn.
The third and last day of One Young World 2019 arrived with a lot of energy and enthusiasm from the 2000+ soon-to-be ambassadors. The environment felt different from Day 1. A sense of community and partnership has been developed over the last 3 days and it can be felt in each room of the London summit venues.
The main two topics for the plenary sessions were focused on Sustainable Development Goals 4 (Quality Education) and 16 (Peaceful Future).
“Teaching is not a profession, it’s a human responsibility. Choose to be a teacher and a mentor.”Lord Michael Hastings
Education is a topic I’m passionate about and I strongly believe it needs to be a top priority in our agendas – we need to provide minorities the opportunity to take a seat on the table where the future is being decided. School curriculum needs to be adapted to keep pace with the speed of our evolving world. We heard from Alexia Hilbertidou and her passion to empower young women in New Zealand to pursue STEM careers, met Kartik Sawhney who created I-Steam, an organization providing skills to more than 1200 students with disabilities around the world through accessible training programs and other education activists.
“I strongly believe that you, young people, have the power. Our voices are what give us the power. You can use yours to shine the light on the problems that prevent our growth.”Ahmad Nawaz
I personally felt touched by the story of Ahmad Nawaz, an 18 years old Peace & Education activist that survived the terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Pakistan in 2014 that took 150 lives, including his own brother. Since then, Ahman has created an organization to provide education to children in conflict areas.
Our changing world requires a stronger leadership with multilateral collaboration, willing to work across generations. This was a constant message from the elder members at OYW – which included Mary Robinson, former & first female president of Ireland, Gro Harlem, First Minister of Norway and Sir Richard Branson.
“Do not let success get to your head and failure get to your heart“Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever
As every good experience, OYW comes to an end. During the closing ceremony, Paul Polman shared a speech summarizing the highlights of OYW 2019, making every person in the room reflect on the discussion points from the Summit and a call for action to make ourselves responsible for the liberty, privileges and rights we have.
The last day also brings a meaningful ceremony for the first-time delegates that will accept the pride and responsibility of joining the 10,000+ OYW ambassadors that work to accomplish the 17 UN SDGs . Each one of us wrote down a personal commitment in a ribbon that was put together into a single chain that represents what we will make happen. As of October 25th 2019, GE has 14 new OYW ambassadors committed to make a difference.
Post written by Paco Ponce.
Paco (Francisco) is a DTLP alumni, who is now in Norwalk, CT for his full-time role. He is most passionate about SDG goals 4 and 5.