Francis – One Young World Journey

One Young World Youth Summit, Bogota 2017

The summit was truly incredible – full of amazing, inspiring delegates (some names I can’t pronounce ?), and speakers of the highest calibre.
Sleeping enough is a challenge, as currently it is 6:30am and the bus for the conference centre leaves in half an hour, but it’s definitely worth the huge days because I’m learning so much.
With 1,400 delegates from 194 countries, there is such a variety of experiences so every conversations you’re inspired again and again in different ways and rarely meet the same people twice.

Travelling to a far away continent has given me a sense of responsibility I haven’t experienced before. Through the generous sponsorship by PCYC, the entire trip was scheduled and paid for. However, having to navigate visa confusions, rebooked flights, delayed baggage, and (at times severe) language barriers in other countries taught me you can trust in the eventual outcome of things. After a fair wait I did recieve my suitcase, and as a result the summit was FANTASTIC!

Ron Garan (Former NASA Astronaut)
Khofi Annan (Ex 7th Secretary General of UN)
Paul Polman (CEO Unilever)
Tinie Tempah (Rapper)
Juan Calderón (President of Colombia)
Lord Michael Hastings (Top Bloke)
These, and others, were a few of the powerful speakers at the One Young World Youth Summit.

I cannot remember much outside the copious notes I took, but what stuck with me is the energy and the feeling of strength; to be a change maker.
Stories were shared; of youth confronting Dictators about FGM – their result being death or success, the horrors of surviving Kurdish and Tutsi genocide, and the power of social business and political campaigning.

It is simple to google all the numbers of how many people have been affected by conflict, and feel emotional. But when you see a young person’s face, heartbroken and teary, struggling to share their experience of being one of those millions – that you are truly moved to action. And I am inspired to do so, to make a change in this world as should all of us who have the opportunity.

“We must be ambitious enough to want justice and peace, and wise enough to achieve this.”
– Khofi Annan

Best experience:

  • It was incredible to hear the kind of stories we did at OYW. The Delegates, and Speakers, were true change makers. People who had seen a problem in society, and simply said “I will change this”, and they did in their hundreds all over the world. That was an inspiring experience.

Favourite speaker:

  • A standout speaker for me was Actress/Model AnnaLynne McLord. She spoke of modern day slavery – the reality that it is in your mind, and following our heart will bring us freedom. She further elaborated, with her own life experiences, to point out that we truly are limited only in how we see ourselves, what we believe to be socially acceptable and humanly possible. To free ourselves from this we simply need to not focus on doubt, but follow the passion in our hearts, wherever that leads.

Most interesting person you met:

  • Zermeena Khan, a 19 year old woman from Pakistan, is one of the close friend I now have from the Summit. Although she is employed by Unilever, she spends her time and personal resources on educating children in the streets, teaching them basic mathematics and other subjects. Zermeena adapts her teaching techniques to the response from the children, and she wanders the nearby streets and collects all the children she finds to bring them to her lessons.

What you would like to do moving forward:

  • For me, I wish to become a lot more involved within the PCYC youth programs. To design, and run workshop based around teaching young people “Life Skills” – ranging from interview and study techniques, to personal finance such as saving money and budgeting.

Coming away from the summit I have a tangible sense of purpose, of power and strength of character. I know now that a single person can change the world, as Kaitlin and myself heard from countless speakers who had achieved this. I am excited to start this new chapter, with a new goal to have an impact in the lives of others.

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