One Young World Summit 2019

Jan 13, 2020
Patryja Jurkowska talks to Accountancy Ireland Extra about her highlights from the One Young World Summer in London, and what she plans on doing in the year ahead.

What was the first thing you did when you got to the One Young World (OYW) Summit?

When I arrived, I met with other Chartered Stars from around the world, arranged by Chartered Accountants Worldwide. It was a truly incredible experience. I loved hearing their stories and achievements. We bonded as a team very quickly and had an amazing week together. We plan on collaborating with each other in the future.  

Of the speakers, who were you the most excited to see and why?

I was very excited to hear from Mary Robinson. As the former President of Ireland and a climate change activist, she is someone I look up to. She has so much energy and passion for doing good for our planet. It is contagious. 

Did you come away from the OYW Summit with any goals for the future?

Absolutely. I came back from the OYW Summit inspired to do even more in areas like:

  • responsible consumption and sustainability;
  • climate change; and
  • spreading awareness about the other pressing issues such as clean water, access to education, poverty and hunger.
And, because of the amazing work done by Caroline Casey, founder of The Valuable 500, one of my goals is to ensure that the organisations I am involved in put disability on their leadership agenda. 

What were the highlights from the summit?

The opening ceremony was certainly one of the best parts of the summit. The Lord Mayor of London, William Russel, Ellie Goulding, Sir Bob Geldof and Meghan Merkle, the Duchess of Sussexwere highlights for me. During the parade of flags, we witnessed representatives from 190+ countries, including a refugee representative to recognise the large refugee diaspora around the globe.

I must say that the moment where the representatives from South Korea and North Korea held hands on stage to embrace peace was truly emotional and received a standing ovation.
Another key highlight for me was speech from one of the delegate speakers, Dalia Yousiff, who, together with other young citizens of Sudan, had a huge contribution to the recent resignation of Sudan’s former president Omar Al-Bashir after 30 years of dictatorship by risking their lives to broadcast the reality of the regime.

What did you take away from your few days in London?

Business as usual is not an option. What struck me during the summit was the urgency of climate change and the role that we all should play in addressing it. I couldn’t agree more with Michael Izza, Chair of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, who said, “We must recognise the interdependence of the health of the planet, the health of society and, therefore, the health of the business. There will be no prosperity or well-being on a dead planet. The accountancy profession can and should play an important role in addressing this issue.”

It was also important to acknowledge that we’re blessed to be born and raised in countries where human rights exist; where there is access to education and a free press. We often take our rights for granted but there are still so many countries where they are seen as a luxury. That’s exactly why we should take action to help those less fortunate.

Lastly, I learned you’re never too young to lead and one person can make a difference. During the summit, we heard from many young people who, despite going through some tremendous challenges, have evolved into great leaders creating positive change around the world.

As the Chartered Accountants Young Chartered Star, what do you hope to accomplish in the next year?

My aim is to organise several events and write various articles to help members of our profession understand the urgency of the climate crisis and the key role that we can and must play in ending it. Again, I wholeheartedly agree with the words of Michael Izza who said, “Our members in business, and as advisors to businesses, have a fundamental responsibility – that is to ensure that the health of our planet becomes companies’ responsibility. Finance professionals and Chartered Accountants are problem-solvers, and what bigger problems do we face than the climate crisis?”