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Attending the One Young World 2014 Summit in Dublin as a Returning Ambassador

one young world in dublin

         I received some excellent news recently. If you’ve followed my blog for some time then you’ll know that I attended the One Young World summit in Johannesburg in October 2013. It was an absolutely incredible experience, full of inspirational and interesting young people from around the world that are making a difference through NGOs, social enterprises, start-ups and even through large corporate companies. I was one of those fortunate enough to be sponsored by my employer and I attended as part of my company’s delegation. Last year there was a selection process involving essays and even a video, to whittle down over 140 applications to just 11 of us. To return in 2014 as a Returning Ambassador there was another selection process, involving details of the project I’m working on (called Worldly Minded and aiming to encourage young people to gain intercultural skills) and another video, to whittle us down to just 3. If you haven’t come across my project yet, here’s a short video to introduce you to the gist of it. You can find out more on my project’s website: http://www.worldlyminded.wordpress.com

         I was thrilled to find out I’d been successful in this year’s application as well, so along with the rest of my company’s delegation, I’ll be flying to Dublin this October to once again experience One Young World!

For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, take a look at my blog posts on the 2013 summit:

         It’s essentially a gathering of around 1,200 young people under 30, to discuss important issues that affect the world, such as Education, Human Rights, Leadership & Government, Sustainable Development, Global Business and Youth Unemployment (these were the six topics dealt with in plenary sessions last year). As well as plenary sessions lead by influential and renowned figures such as Kofi Annan, Muhammad Yunus, Richard Branson & others, there are smaller break-out sessions to grapple with issues in more depth, and we also visited Alexandra, one of Johannesburg’s townships (similar to a favela) where poverty and crime is rife. Winnie Mandela even delivered the closing speech, which was an incredible moment in itself, just weeks before the death of Madiba (the familiar name South Africans use for Nelson Mandela).

Winnie Mandela at One Young WorldAlexandra Township

         So I obviously jumped at the chance to return. At this year’s summit I’d like to focus on the same two main topics as last year: Education (in particular related to intercultural skills, and their use not only in youth unemployment, but also in breaking down barriers between different communities) and Gender Equality. A dilemma I still struggle with regarding gender equality is how to justify working towards equality in the workplace and in leadership (something that personally affects girls in the UK), when there are far worse atrocities committed against girls and women in the developing world, such as forced marriage and FGM. Just because these crimes don’t present themselves in my day-to-day, as I currently live in two developed countries, this doesn’t make them any less important and I struggle to decide which topic I should dedicate time and energy towards.

One Young World Ambassador

         And as a general theme, I’m interested in how technology can be used in the efforts to eradicate the issues we’ll be discussing. As technology and internet access become more and more accessible to the masses, they have the potential to enable citizens and entrepreneurs to take matters into their own hands. There were numerous examples of this at the 2013 summit, from Políglota (a free language exchange community online) to Medic Mobile (using mobile phoness to coordinate community health workers in Malawi).

         I’ll be interested to see if and how Dublin can top Johannesburg. South Africa has such an emotional and terrible history, that we really engaged with their struggle through apartheid, not to mention the social problems they still suffer. It’s true that Ireland has had trouble with Northern Ireland, but it doesn’t come close to the atrocities committed in South Africa. I will of course blog about the summit so I will keep you posted…

One Young World blue flag OYW

         I’d love to hear from anyone due to attend the summit in Dublin! Everyone who attends One Young World has gone through a rigorous selection process of some sort, meaning that it’s a collection of extremely interesting and successful young people from 190 different countries. I learnt a huge amount in 2013 and networking with other delegates was a huge factor in my enjoyment of the summit, so please get in touch if you are heading to One Young World this year! Tweet me at @vstuarttaylor or here is my LinkedIn profile.

         To those of you who’ve never heard of it or who aren’t attending, a lot of the sessions will be live-streamed on the internet and you should take a look at One Young World’s website to learn more about it.

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