What another eye-opening day. For more than 12 straight hours—from 8 a.m. until 8:15 p.m.—I was engaged in One Young World (OYW) sessions targeting key global issues.
I walked to the convention center from my hotel with two young delegates from Czech Republic, and after the day’s events concluded, I ended the night at Seviche with delegates from all over—the United States, Panama, Australia, India, United Kingdom, Mexico, even Columbia!
Being immersed in such astonishing and thought-provoking dialect was simply marvelous.
OYW’s David Jones and Kate Robertson started the morning by reminding delegates and ambassadors that OYW creates an incredible platform to begin change. Interestingly, one of the first things we did was take part in a poll that will be published in the Wall Street Journal. Which U.S. presidential candidate do we prefer? Do not forget to check the journal for the results!
It would be impossible to report on every session. I listened to many speakers. From Joss Stone to Dr. Jan Peter Balkenende to Jeremy Gilley to Paul Polman to Ken Roth and, finally, Peter Solmssen.
I also sat in two plenary sessions: 1) Education and 2) Transparent and Integrity. Because it would be difficult to report on it all, I highlighted my favorites. Videos from the summit may also be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/OneYoungWorld.
Joss Stone began the speaking series today by discussing the influence music has had on her life. Joss was such an optimistic and rousing individual. Some key ideas can be taken away from her talk: people need to find what makes them happy and go get it; if you are not heard the first time, speak louder! If you stumble, you are still moving forward; and finally, do not pay attention to negativity.
After Joss, OYW’s first plenary session occurred. The plenary sessions were designed so that six delegates and ambassadors had the opportunity to speak about the plenary topic. After the delegate's remarks, the floor would be opened for comments from other delegates and ambassadors.
Finally, the counselors, whose expertise lie within the associated plenary, had the opportunity to make closing remarks.
The first plenary, led by counselors Pete Cashmore, James Chau, Elio Leoni-Sceti and Fatma Bhutto, focused on education. Before the delegates spoke, a bit of background information from the 2011 OYW delegates and ambassadors was provided: 67 percent are concerned literacy rates are holding back their country’s development. 85 percent are concerned about literacy rates in their country. 62 percent say schools in their country have inadequate resources.
During the delegates and ambassadors speeches, many had unique insight to the complex issue of education. Some argued that education is a fundamental and basic right. Poverty is the enemy of education. Many believed technology would move education forward, but that technology was only as powerful as it was accessible.
An underlying belief was improving literacy would improve the trajectory rate of the future. Change needs to come from the bottom up, rather than from the bottom down. As one delegate beautifully stated, “it is great to die as human doing.”
After the education plenary, we had the first special session: The Food Revolution starring Jamie Oliver!!
For the first time in history, more people in the world die from being overweight than from being underweight. We are literally killing ourselves due to lack of education on real food. In the U.S. less than 2 percent of food sold is local.
Genes have not changed—our environment has. In the U.S. we eat an average of 300 more calories a day than we did 30 years ago. An example of a food conscious restaurant is Chipotle. Chipotle is a fast-food style burrito restaurant. The company serves more than 1 million people a day and every 48 hours there is a new Chipotle in the world.
The company spends 33 percent (significantly higher than other restaurants) of income on good, real ingredients and it is still profitable. We need to start changing the way we are eating to change the future.
Want to take a stance? May 17, 2012 is Food Revolution Day.
Another amazing special session was with Jeremy from Peace One Day. Jeremy was a curious individual who wondered about the violence in the world. He set out and made a documentary.
In addition, he began Peace One Day—an international day of ceasefire.
“You start building a house with a brick, so you could start building peace with a day.” Jeremy has a goal of extending Peace Day to 3 billion people by Peace Day 2016.
Press the Peace Button to add Peace Day to your personal calendar: http://www.thepeacebutton.com.
After lunch, Muhammad Yunus spoke to the delegates and ambassadors again. Yunus, one of the most moving speakers, told us: “Each one of you can individually change the world.”
You can look to previous generations but it is a new planet. Social businesses can be used to solve problems.
I also learned more about the food revolution in a fascinating breakout session title “Food Security.”
The breakout session was lead by the founder of Thought for Food, who raises awareness about food security. A billion people wake up knowing that they will go to bed hungry.
Half of the world starves, while half of the world eats their way into crisis. During the breakout we worked to target and to discuss some key questions: 1) How will we produce the food we need for the future? 2) How do we encourage people to make better decisions about the food they eat? 3) How do we show food the respect it deserves on and off the plate?
After a fascinating conversation we came up with some great solutions—most focusing on educating people about making healthy and environmentally-friendly decisions.
You do not want to miss out on this video: http://www.tffchallenge.com
It is so hard to narrow the day down to a simple blog post. In addition to all of the fascinating sessions I commented on, there were also OYW sessions on BRICS, the Social Business Fund, Women Up (an empowering global woman’s rights movement), and more!
I had an awesome dinner with individuals from the U.S. and South Africa and I was in great company after at Seviche. I was amazed at the projects and accomplishments of my fellow OYW delegates and ambassadors.
Listening to their thoughts, concerns, and endeavors has only inspired me to make a change in the world.