What happens when you bring together over 2000 young leaders from every country in the world? The One Young World Summit is one of the most inspiring gathering of youth from all over the globe who have collectively made a positive impact in the lives of over 20 million people.
At it’s 10th anniversary, the summit returned to it’s inaugural city of London; the world’s melting pot. The summit is catalysed by the global leaders that champion it as counsellors like the 7th Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and even the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle.
I was lucky enough to attend this fantastic set of events as part of the Young Leadership Alliance Forum as part of the work and the impact ZNotes has had on over 2.5 million people globally. The forum convened for its annual high-level meeting at the inspiring offices of Amnesty International and brought youth organisations, international institutions and the private sector to promote learning, collaboration and partnerships.
The summit officially commenced on the 22nd with the Opening Ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall. In the gilded building that echoes centuries worth of art, we were welcomed by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who’s closing remarks resonated with the audience which represented the 190 countries of the world:
“That our diversity is our strength, not a weakness, that dialogue can overcome difference and indifference, and that the heights we need to reach can only be scaled by building bridges, not walls.”
We were treated to a selection of world performance from the Royal Ballet, pieces from a West-end musical and the flag ceremony where each of the 190 flags were brought to the stage among deafening cheers and applause.
And if the night had not wowed already, the Natural History Museum’s door were flung open exclusively to us for a dinner, surrounded by more than 80 million life and earth science specimens.
The rest of the 4 days of the summit were a scheduling exercise as I juggled my university lectures and returned to the Queen Elisabeth II Center to attend talks, workshops and networking round-tables. My highlights included exhibiting ZNotes at the Social Venture Challenge run by the Resolution Project, an opportunity to get on stage at the lightning pitches and the interactive workshop run by UNICEF, bringing to light the major challenges our education system faces.
After literally meeting hundreds of people, it all came to finality at the closing ceremony on Friday, held at the Central Hall Westminster. We were addressed by the amazing founders of the summit, Kate Robertson and David Jones and the roof was blown off as the summit officially declared climate emergency.
After a roller-coaster ride that only went higher, the baton was passed from the London to the Deputy-Mayor of Munich who welcomed the summit for it’s next in Munich 2020 #OYWS20