In the span of four days, we were given the gift – a heavy, and amazing gift – of a space to hear from some of the great changemakers across the world, to deep dive into and face the pressing global issues without distraction, to connect with other passionate individuals and grow solutions that work towards the 17 SDGs. Energized, overwhelmed, guilty, determined – all of these emotions can exist all at once in the direct aftermath of this experience.
In this emotional soup wake, we also have the gift of advice to reflect on, and make sense of what is next:
Desire to solution and solve everything immediately –>
Give yourself the time to reflect
Determine the things you are interested in, the skills you have
Think global, act local
Real lasting change takes time
Worry about meeting goals in 2030 –>
Having goals, metrics, and deadlines means we have a clear direction to make change
It is not about 2030, but about the focus and determination to work towards shared goals
There is not an option to not achieve them, this will be work we all have to do
Afraid of doing something wrong –>
There is no perfect action, but doing something is worthwhile
Be kind to yourself, that feeling is there because you care
Remind yourself why – this will keep you motivated, and direct your work
Partnership, collaboration – it is ok to ask for help, to find your strengths and to find others to support the gaps with their strengths
“If you’re going to be a leader, you cannot give up. You can never give up.” – Cher @ OWY2021
Even though it felt like the summit had just started, the time of the last day had already arrived. The main topics of the days were COVID-19 recovery and to conflict resolution.
The morning opened with presentations from two of the brightest sport stars. Sir Lewis Hamilton, seven time Formula 1 champion, shared the work he has been doing to tackle racial inclusivity in racing and in STEM education. Steph Curry, twice NBA MVP, introduced us to his commitment to ensure children in the world have a quality education and do not have to suffer from hunger. After a discussion on the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in India, it was time for the first panel of the day.
The keynote speaker was Angela Hwang from Pfizer Pharmaceutical group, who shared with us the incredible effort that lead to the mass scale production of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine in only a few months. If mankind was to put the same effort in other challenges, many complex problems that have been affecting the world would soon be gone.
The delegate speakers then shared some incredible stories of their effort in fighting the pandemic and other diseases, showing how each one of us can make a huge difference in his own community and therefore in the entire world.
“Turreya te appaReya. You will reach the destination, once you start.” – old Punjabi saying.
The second part of the day started with a plenary session on conflict resolution with keynote speaker Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. With her tremendous work in Belarus she united the opposition and presented a stronger than ever challenge to the autocratic leader, Alexander Lukashenko. She reminded us that only unity and solidarity can make the authoritarian regimes fall. The violence can only be fight back peacefully. Then we heard from the extraordinary OYW delegates that experienced war and war repercussion in their life. Marigona Shabiu shared her story from when she was 5 year old and the war in Kosovo started. She is working now towards debunking myths and countering monoethnic narratives about the war. Rez Gardi from Kurdistan made it clear in her speech that if displaced people receive higher education, they can develop necessary skills to building peace in their nations. Nujeen Mustafa as a physically disabled refugee who crossed the entire continent with her family reminded us that youth should have a seat at the table and that peace making includes refugees and people with disabilities. For me these were ones of the most impactful speeches of the summit. I applaud the resilience and courage of each of these delegates and come back home with a new perspective on refugee crisis and conflict resolution.
After the session, accompanied by music and good energy we headed together to BMW world museum for the closing ceremony, where the current host of the summit, City of Munich handed over to officials from Tokyo for the next year summit.
Day 3 of One Young World 2021 showcased young leaders around the world tackling problems like Food insecurity, Racial injustices, Empowerment through education and inclusive connectivity through technology among many others. We also had the privilege to get inspired by counselors like Prof. Yunus, Joe Kaesar, Munroe Bergdof, David Hasselhoff, Paris Hilton & Dame Vivian Hunt.
The Systemic racial injustice that plagues our world today was at the heart of today’s sessions. We heard from Diana Chao on Racism & hate towards Asian communities. Conspiracies & scapegoatism are just some of the things that Asian people have been subjected to during the pandemic.
“We(Asians) are diverse, we are full of our own stories and our voices are worth being listened to” Diana Chao
In the Education plenary, after an opening keynote by McKinsey’s Dame Vivian Hunt, Delegate speakers shared how they’re overcoming obstacles created by the start of 4th industrial revolution and creating educational opportunities in the most innovative ways. The 4th industrial revolution will and has already begun to disrupt every industry & country and has to be addressed to create a better and just future. The quality of initiatives and emotions generated by the stories of those amazing and courageous delegates really made DAY 2 unique and more than empowering.
The digital platform for this year also offered videos and interviews of ambassadors who returned home after attending OYW in the past and made a difference in their communities, part of which is Gabriella Napier, a GE Healthcare colleague and Co-Founder of GEneration Impact, of whom we are all proud of.
From today’s activities, our take-away is that we can all make a difference by being ourselves and tackling issues that we most resonate with, not alone, but with people ready to turn crazy ideas into life-changing realities with us.
“Being informed, educated & connected is important. But context & quality also matter.” – Dame Vivian Hunt
Post written by Nirranjani S. and Ange-Christelle Kangue Sere Sahue
Friday, July 24th marked the second day of the OYW summit and the first full day of speakers and workshops. Themes of the day consisted of Rights and Freedoms, Standing for Justice, Creating an accessible future for all, and Protecting our planet. Counselors on stage included actor and activist Terry Crews, Leena Nair, Unilever’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders & Former President of Ireland, and Bernard Looney CEO, BP.
The second day of the OYW was a rollercoaster of emotions. Fellow delegates shared anguishing stories reflecting their reality, while motivating speakers fueled us to take action.
One key focus on Day 2 was defending our rights in a world that increasingly threatens them. Shoshana Zuboff, author and Professor Emeritus at HBS, highlighted that “engineered digital communications” are used to target vulnerable communities by entities to get what they want. The topic on disinformation was continued by award-winning journalist, Paola Ramos, who dove deeper on the repercussions for the Latinx community, stating an example that it takes Facebook three days to take down fake news in English, but three weeks if the same fake news were in Spanish.
“Even if you don’t agree with another person’s perspective, you have to listen with empathy and respect.”- Terry Crews
Dr. Sigrid Nikutta, Member of the Management Board of Deutsche joined the stage educating on the economic and sustainable benefits of rail versus road transportation. Rail transportation emits 80-100% less CO2 than road and is approximately twice as cost effective.
“You’re the necessary heroes now. The real adventures without the silly costumes.” – Richard Curtis, Writer, Director, SDG Advocate
Thursday, July 23rd officially kicked off the 2021 One Young World Summit, hosted this year in a hybrid format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The event is taking place in the beautiful city of Munich, Germany while there are options to attend the conference via regional hubs around the world or virtually.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic, the GE Delegation decided to attend the conference virtually. However, two members of our delegation, Luca Anselmi, and Anna Szarowicz, are currently based out of Europe and are lucky enough to attend the in person!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
The words of Aristotle are just as applicable now as they were then, even more so. Often, we hear that building routine is what can aid our success. The routine of many has vastly changed in the last year. We might have lost our daily work to home cycles, even leisure outings were put on hold in some places. However, as we adapted new routines, work remained in the core, keeping up a routine in order to improve in our work performance until the next big challenge.
GEneration Impact is here for people who want to take on a big challenge now, a challenge that is different from their daily responsibilities and an act to selflessly contribute to the society. We connectPassionate individuals with social impact projects sourced through the GE network, individual initiatives, and established connections.
The motivated leaders express their interest to work on one of the sourced projects. The resourcing team at GEneration Impact connects the individual’s passion and skills with the most fitting project. Project teams of, on average 3 people, are formed and work packages handed over. It is up to the team to organize, leverage their skills to fulfill the requirements set by the initiative they want to contribute to.
One of these projects is the Catie’s Closet. Catie’s Closet improves school attendance and removes social stigma by discreetly distributing clothing, toiletries, and shoes to low-income students (Pre-K through 12th grade). Catie’s Closet makes it easy and positive for students in schools to access these basic needs via a retail-like storefront. Catie’s Closet builds a “store” or “walk in closet” right inside their school so that students have immediate access to what they need, free of charge. Offering age-appropriate clothing allows students increased self-esteem, a sense of belonging and a resource to alleviate the visible burden of poverty.
In the long-term, the organization would like to partner with school districts in many states across the US. To help them, Jon Barnes, Gabrielle Ferrari, and Lewis Reuben stepped away from their routine and decided to contribute their skill to the initiative.
Jon Barnes is a CLP in GE Healthcare. The sustainable development goals caught his attention in one of the Generation Impact ambassadors’ calls. He had previous experience working on social impact projects and was keen to continue by donating his time and skill on the Catie’s Closet project. He was happy to go beyond the scope of his daily work and leave his comfort zone. Jon currently works on the “Be Me” project. Be Me is a new brand created by Catie’s closet to encourage self-expression and confidence. The goal is to use this brand on apparel sold by the local vendors who would then also donate a share of the sales towards Catie’s closet. One of the tasks is to find vendors to create and sell apparel items. “For me it was a big shift going from the healthcare field to having conversations with retailers about building a brand. I connected with the cause of Catie’s Closet and the passion CEO Mickey Cockrell exudes. We have had open conversations and laid out all the ideas on the table. It has been a lot of trial and error, taking action and learning from our experiences. Definitely a fun experience to broaden my perspective and challenge my skillsets. “
Gabriele Ferrari, is the Risk Process&Tools Manager in the PM office r at GE Renewable’s Grid Solutions business. Within the Catie’s closet project he contributed towards creating a mobile app. The app will enable and support product donations. Each project needs to have a goal, an objective and a planning to achieve it. In a GEneration Impact project this is of even more value as the timeline of a projects is set for 3-4 months. Gabriele stepped in with his background in product management: ‘’ Maybe software development is not my main skill but where I could contribute is with my experience bringing various projects to completion.”
Gabriele found out about the possibility to donate your time for the Generation Impact project through conversations on Yammer. As a red cross volunteer and an impressive 60 times blood/plasma/cells donor, he was eager to get onboard and make impact. “Once met with Catie’s Closet and the rest of the project team, with requirements set, it was up to us to decide how do we bring it home. “
Reuben Lewis is an Aviation Systems Edison engineer. Like Jon he hopped on the project train after an Ambassadors call. After hearing about a project revolving around building up a website for Catie’s closet he deemed it as a too good of an opportunity to pass along. He was always interested in user interface design but has never built websites. The project enabled him to expand his network out of his business while learning something new. “We’ve put together wireframes for a good portion of the pages and are working on putting the first few pages together. Communications with Catie’s Closet has been good so far. Our main contact, Mickey, is great. Her passion is inspiring! It’s also been a challenge to figure out what she wants out of the redesign. Our goal as designers is to interpret her wants and needs for the site from our discussions with her, so it’s been a good exercise in working with customers and finding their needs.”
In times when face-to-face meetings became rare creating impact virtually has added another dimension to project execution. Reuben noted: “I think the hardest thing is just making sure we’re setting deadlines and meeting them. Mickey has been gracious with our timeline, and it’s really up to us to push the schedule and get it to her. That’s been the most challenging part of the project so far. Also, with people being busy, it’s a bit hard to manage everyone’s schedules to share what they’ve been working on. Jon agrees that most of his team meetings were effective: “All of our team meetings and outside interactions have been virtual. What is lacking most with the virtual collaboration environment is having the face to face downtime with your team members where you can bond over common interests, life goals, funny stories, etc. That is the part I miss.” But not everything is black and white for Gabriele: “In the past, social impact meant only going in the field and help where needed or participate to specific events. Today you can have social impact simply sharing the knowledge in your area of expertise, even remotely.”
For the impact crated the participants are rewarded in knowledge. Jon enjoyed seeing the progress made: “My biggest takeaway is to fall in love with the process. We can become so focused on the goal and while it important we are progressing, it’s also important to enjoy the process of what we’re creating, and the work done along the way.”
When asked if he would recommend a GEneration Impact project to others, Gabriele rounds it up : “First of all you are not alone. You can decide your role in the project and when give you contribute on different kind of subjects. You meet people/colleagues with the same desire to give from different countries. You can discover stories and initiatives you have never heard that could fill your heart.”
We hope this story and participants experience will encourage you to take on some of the projects available in our portfolio!
See a project you could contribute to? Please fill our an interest form here!
Do you have a project idea? Share it with us here!
This quarter, we have seen great progress across our projects and have grown our core team by one additional person. Stay safe everyone and look forward to exciting items in the pipeline!Past newsletters will be available on the website soon.
Team lead: Valisquez (Lino) Ramirez; Team: Emily Claps, Marlene Rordriguez
Team lead: Ben Turnbull; Team: Nambiar, Kavitha; K, Deepak; Gaby Napier
Team lead: Rachel Hedrick; Team: Vusala Eynullayeva; Nii Laryea; Krishna Reddy, Bernardo Suarez
Biomedical Equipment Technician (BMET) training was adopted with PIH (Partners In Health) by the team of four.
PIH requested help in understanding and consolidating their needs for a BMET training program and comparing those to the options available.
The team delivered both a program guide and Pugh matrix tool to help them in their evaluation; the program guide detailed existing programs and provided our recommendation based on PIH’s needs, and the Pugh matrix offered a tool for PIH to objectively re-evaluate programs based on their changing needs over time.
The most exciting part is that PIH’s senior leadership is invested in adopting the right program. The team is excited to see which route PIH chooses!
Maintenance & Calibration tool has progressed and now has the backend developed along with user interface feedback collected from potential users.
It will be a tool to track maintenance and warranties for hospital equipment for use by Biomedical Engineers, Managers, and technicians.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the WHO estimates that as much as 70% of laboratory and medical equipment is partially or completely out of service.PIH seeks to reverse this trend and equip biomedical technicians with the training and tools necessary to service and maintain equipment.
Due to Covid-19 the development of the tool is stopped because PIH had to divert all their available time to fight the pandemic.
Work will resume once COVID-19 is under control.
WholeForest sustainably and ethically farms portions of Ecuador’s Chocó rainforest for production of high quality furniture and building material.
Their model resists deforestation and keeps carbon storied in a healthy forest, offering products with lower embodied energy that reflects in a reduced carbon footprint.
Since last Fall, our team has welcomed several new team members and is equipped to dive into our next phase of research. Given a clarified value proposition, we have defined several target markets and are working to collect a list of focused, high potential clients for WholeForest’s upcoming stakeholder interviews.
We plan to deliver a focused client portfolio, highlighting relevant sustainability programs, building projects, key contacts and more in the coming months!
Nuway is designing safe boda boda (motorcycle) riding for female passengers on Uganda’s busy streets.
The goal is offer these safe seat additions for every motorcyle in Uganda. The additional safe seat prevents passengers, often females, from falling off the motorcycle, kneeling while riding, or potentially burning themselves on the exhaust.
Phase I was scoped to develop the burn rate, market size and revenue projection for non profit business plan. Phase II had goals of developing a business valuation to share with board members and creating a go-to-market and advertising strategy.Working with start ups often involves more guidance through collaborative, iterative questions and feedback.
We strived to ensure the process was an educational experience for the Nuway team to utilize it going forward – to enable them to adjust the financial projections and marketing strategy as the organization progresses.
GEneration Impact Update:
Meet our newest core team member – Mihael Plut – graduate of the Edison engineering development program. Learn more about our core team here!
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.”
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.
Ben Turnbull, Nour El Khatib, and Paula Sleiman share their experience from a packed second day. Themes of the day consisted of poverty alleviation, mental health, and the impact of media in our communities. Counselors on stage included Professor Muhammad Yunus, author and activist J.K. Rowling, and human rights activist Yeonmi Park.
The second day of the OYW carried delegates through peaks and valleys as we found ourselves experiencing the heartbreak of our peer experiences followed by rousing inspiration from relentless action. Each delegate has arrived with a unique story to tell, and day two offered opportunities to share those stories in guest speeches, delegate plenary talks, and our workshop sessions. Two main themes carried through these sessions 1) the ever-present thread of mental health and 2) the impact of media in our communities.
“Old roads lead to old destinations. We need new roads.”
Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus
Our world’s climate crisis remained at the heart of day two’s content. Counselors mentioned the importance of a circular economy, recycling and reusing as much production material as you can, and the value of offsetting carbon cost that you ultimately produce through methods such as planting mangrove trees or see grass, which absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
These are familiar elements of the climate change discussion, showcasing action directed at outcomes we commonly see. However, one of the most unseen direct impacts of climate change is mental health. We heard from mental health professionals about the correlation between climate change events and admission rates for anxiety, depression, etc. A delegate from the Caribbean shared that tropical storms, continually battering her home year after year, are building ‘Eco-anxiety’ in her community where residents live in fear throughout storm season.
After others shared stories showcasing the mental strain of climate events on their community, our counselor advised joining co-aligned focus groups in these communities to combat the helplessness that arrives with climate events.
“8/10 children in orphanages today still have at least one living parent. It’s clear that it’s much more effective to strengthen family care than to support the orphanage business”
J.K. Rowling joined the stage representing her Lumos Foundation aimed at ending the harm of institutionalisation and working to reunite children with their families. She led a commentary on the dangers of volunteering with organizations that may take advantage of the children in their care and exposed the mental impact that a revolving door of volunteers has on developing children. She urged the delegation to stop volunteering at orphanages and encouraged awareness for the ‘voluntourism’ that so many engage in globally. View the video here on her #helpingnothelping campaign for more info!
“As free people it is our duty to use our voices to speak for the voiceless”
A second theme of the day was media and the impact that free speech, or lack thereof, has on a community and its members. Human rights activist Yeonmi Park is part of a small group individuals to defect from North Korea, and part of an even smaller group that is willing to share their experiences under the regime outwardly. She discussed the feeling of experiencing the outside world for the first time given that all external media is blocked inside North Korea. She has dedicated her life to human rights activism and speaking up for the people that have been left without a voice in North Korea. Click here to see her incredible story.
These are only a few of the incredible stories that were shared across the stages of day two. More to come from day three!
Mihael Plut, one of our GE delegates, was selected as the sole bearer of the Croatian flag during the opening ceremony. He gives his take on the choice of London as the conference location and his unique experience on representing his country.
“I was privileged to be chosen as the flag bearer for Croatia. The electrifying excitement started at the rehearsal and exploded in the full concert hall several hours later. It wasn’t the jitters of performing in front of an audience but rather the idea of having this diversity under one roof so engaged and determined to work together no matter what color is the tint in our flags.
Prior to the One Young World 2019, London hosted only one event comparable in number of different nations participating – the Olympic games in 2012.
In the Royal Albert Hall, more than 190 nations were represented by the 2000 One Young World delegates. Delegates of different cultures, languages, religions and views have joined a unique quest to create a better world.
And there couldn’t be a more fitting, multicultural city to host such an event other than London. Over 250 languages are spoken in London, making the capital the most linguistically diverse city in the world. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, celebrated these differences in his speech and how we can leverage them to grow, united.
Similarly to the Olympics in the highlight of the opening ceremony, each of the nations was represented by its own flag bearer.
There may have been 190 flags but they were all moved by one soul of the new generation.
The flag is a symbol of a country’s heritage, identity and pride. The flag bearers have paid respect to their own flag by waving them, high, in front of the whole world to see. The enthusiasm and the energy with which they have cut through the heated atmosphere of the Royal Hall was only trumped by the plethora of national dresses that the flag bearers wore.
There may have been 190 flags but they were all moved by one soul of the new generation. A generation that is the most informed, most educated, most connected generation in human history.
Let’s learn from our past and instead of fighting our differences, let’s take advantage of them to build a better tomorrow, together!
Post written by Mihael Plut.
Mihael is an EEDP alum with GE Renewables. Mihael has been involved in social impact with GE through a buildOn trek to Senegal and is passionate about education and political inclusion.