Day 1: Wednesday, October 4th
Opening Ceremony in the Simón Bolívar Plaza. The opening ceremony initated the 3 day conference event, featuring key note speakers on Peace and Reconciliation, which was the theme of the summit in memorendum to the end of the Civil war in Colombia. Nobel Peace Laureate President Juan Manuel Santos introduced the significance of this theme, and why it is so vital for our generation to understand. Further speakers who spoke upon this theme and introduced the summit were:
· Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman, co-founder, Women Journalists Without Chains.
· Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General to the United Nations.
· Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, the Grameen Bank.
· Sir Bob Geldof, Musician and Activist
After, the One Young World Flag Ceremony commenced, during which delegates from each of the 196 countries represented at the Summit presented their country’s flag in honor of peace and collaboration among countries for the duration of the conference. This wonderful event represented a young world that is up to our generation to ameliorate.
Day 2: Thursday, October 5th
The overraching theme and message of this day's conference was poverty alleviation and economic development.
By presenting his three zero solution, Professor Yunus presents his vision on how to alleviate poverty, decrease unemployment, and decrease carbon emissions. 0 poverty, 0 unemployment and 0 carbon emissions. This sheds light to youth on how to be an entrepeneur instead of a constant job seeker - how do we create our own paths for the better of this planet?
CEO Antoine de Saint- Affrique later shares his Barry Callebaut's attempt at creating a virtuous business model and highlights the imperative to move from topical relief efforts to systemic business grounded solutions. This initiative allows the audience to reflect on how we can do well by doing good through the business sphere.
The second part of the day is introduced by Secretary General of Amnesty International, Salil Shetty. The general presents how the world's largest grassroots human rights organisation works to confront the abuse of power in order to protect justice, freedom, truth and dignity worldwide.
The second theme of the day highlights how corruption undermines democracy. Former Public Protector of South Africa, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, introduces how corruption and bribery play in undermining democratic values and the extent to which corrupt systems penalise poorer people the hardest.
Several other speakers focus on this theme throughout the rest of the day, some of them including:
· Emmanuel Lulin, Ethics director at L'Oreal and if Business can take the lead on Ethics
· Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman and how young voices can have the freedom to tell the truth
· Mohamed Amersi and how we can make sense of corruption
The conference then switches gears towards Social Media and it's catalyst for change - how can young people react to change and make change happen through popular social media platforms?
Speakers spoke on how they used social media not only to save elephants, but to help people in case of natural disaster or poverty alleviation. This really opened our eyes and allowed us to see the immense power we have in the palm of our hands.
Environment is then spoken about, and how we as young change makers can have an impact on how we see our world. Speakers from Audi, Vestas and BP were gathered, shedding their light on how they are making the changes needed in order to make our world a greener place and how as young people working in entreprises, we too can make an effort to harvest this initiative for a more sustainable business model.
Human rights are then discussed, focusing on issues from orphanages to guerilla war and to poverty alleviation. We learned that empowering others through leveraging our skills is the best way to help others express themselves, one elementary and primordial right given to all of us human beings at birth.
Day 3: Friday, October 6th
This day was especially dedicated to businesses and how they can contribute to a better good. This was an especially interesting conference as we are all young juniors starting our careers in companies. The effect of our impact if we leverage our passion for good within a company is amazing, and this gave us insight into what we can do as employees to help others within our career framework.
Ambassadors spoke about their amazing will and effort to do good within their societies, and how they succeeded within their businesses to offer a better world to those in need. Johnson and Johnson in partnership with Save the Children spoke about their efforts to help Syrian refugee children get the help they need, a segment in the conference which was particularly touching for all of us. This really showed us how we, as young business leaders, can tangibly make a link to do something amazing for others that are in desperate need of help. Other speakers included:
· Siemens HR manager Francisco de la Cerda
· Roberto Funari, Executive Vice President, Category Development Organisation at Reckitt Benckiser
As we all are passionate about the importance of diversity within an enterprise, we were especially delighted to hear Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer at Accenture, talk about her project in order to increase diversity and erase unconscious biases within Accenture. This gave us wonderful insight on how companies can certainly move forward in diversity initiatives, and create a safe place for employees that is not only creative, but blooms in knowledge due to the diversity of workers.
The issues of racial minorities were later discussed, allowing us to understand how we can fight racism and segregation through listening to others. Education was then discussed, and the question of how youth can lead companies to transformation towards sustainability was adressed.
We pondered on how we could, as young leaders, adress issues of educating and helping employees learn around us in order to increase performance, ethics and sustainability. Disability was then also discussed, and targeted the issue of how our society can become more inclusive of people deserving empowerment and respect, just like all of us do. This really hit home for our chair - we really learned quite a lot on how we can be even more inclusive in terms of disability through a business sphere - how can we really make a more inclusive work environment?
Day 4: Saturday, 7th October
Today was a day dedicated to the peace reconciliation of beautiful Colombia. We all wore white, in memory of peace and the 1st ever anniversary of the peace treaty for the end of the guerilla conflict.
It was an emotional day - amazing speakers who had survived war, killings, genocide and kidnappings were present, making us feel that we were incredibly lucky and humbled for the lives we are so lucky to have lived thus far.
It was a day that was not only dedicated to the miseries of war and the incredible strength victims show when using their pain for the better good, but also a day to learn about how to reach peace when experiencing conflict in a society, how to use sports when battling for a good purpose, and most of all, how to stand together in times of pain, conflict and sorrow, and rise above hate and greed.
This was an unforgettable journey where for the first time, the whole audience felt connected to each other on a very emotional level, a level of real humanity. It was such a powerful moment in our journey.
Speakers included the president of Colombia, a genocide survivor of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, former FARC rebels of the Colombian civil war, President of Guatemala, Vinicio Cerezo and Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilver.
The conference ended by a closing ceremony featuring :
· Former Astronaut & One Young World Counsellor Ron Garan
· Spoken word performance by Hussain Manawer, One Young World Returning Ambassador, and mental health activist.
Finally, this life changing event ended with The One Young World Ribbon-Tying ceremony during which delegates pledged to take action based on their Summit experience. We each wrote a goodwill that we pledge to conduct after this event and tied it to all of the other ribbons made by all of the delegates - this allowed us to think about what we would like to change for the better when we come back.