Empowered and inspired

Nov 01, 2018
After becoming Chartered Accountants Ireland’s Young Chartered Star, Michael J. Walls travelled to The Hague to attend the One Young World conference and learn how to build a better world.


Earlier this year, I was delighted to be selected as the Young Chartered Star to represent Chartered Accountants Ireland at the One Young World conference at The Hague from 17 to 20 October.  This year’s conference was attended by 1,800+ young leaders, under 35, from more than 190 countries.

The overall aim of this year’s One Young World? To inspire and empower us, as young leaders, to make a positive change in our respective communities, to help achieve the targets set in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.

Forging relationships with Chartered Accountants Worldwide

I attended the conference as a representative of Chartered Accountants Ireland along with 11 other delegates from the Chartered Accountants Worldwide network (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Pakistan, Zambia, England & Wales, and South Africa). I enjoyed getting to network with members of our profession from all around the world, and truly appreciate how much of a global network we have.

World class speakers

While at the conference, we had the pleasure to hear from some of the top business and political leaders in the world, including other delegate speakers, on a range of topics including human rights, sexual violence, poverty, education, climate change and the environment. Speakers this year included:
  • former-President of Ireland, Mary Robinson;
  • Sir Bob Geldof;
  • three Nobel Peace Prize Winners;
  • two former-UK Prime Ministers;
  • top business leaders, including the CEOs of Shell, BP, Reckitt Benckiser, BMW, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas, Deloitte, KPMG, DSM; and
  • various celebrities, including Akon, Terry Crews, Amber Heard, and Rosario Dawson. 

What am I going to do differently following One Young World?

I have made three commitments following the conference that I am going to do to help build a better world:
  • Help the business community to deliver on the UN SDGs;
  • Reduce my impact on the environment; and
  • Become an LGBT role model.

Dancing to Jay Sean

At the closing ceremony, one thought struck me when everyone was dancing to Jay Sean (and it wasn’t "who is Jay Sean?") – there are 1,828 people from 192 countries here right now. Some of these countries are at war; some with each other, and they all came together to learn how to build a better world.  Why is this not always the case?

It is up to our generation to save our planet, create a more peaceful society, and put an end to poverty. It’s up to us to teach the future generations to do the same.  We, as Chartered Accountants, have an important role to play in helping to achieve these goals.

Overall, it was an incredible experience and I would encourage you to enter the Young Chartered Star Competition next year to represent Chartered Accountants Ireland at the 2019 conference in London.