Patrycja's highlights from One Young World 2019

Nov 07, 2019

As the 2019 Chartered Star, I had the privilege to represent the Institute of Chartered Accountants Ireland at the One Young World Summit during 22-25 October in London.

For those who haven’t heard about OYW previously, it is a global forum for young leaders from around the world. It was founded 10 years ago by Kate Robertson and David Jones.

NEWS BODY - 2019 One Young World 2-min

Young leaders are selected to attend the Summit via competitive selection processes, based on proven leadership ability and impact. In 2019, over 15,000 applications were submitted of which approximately 2,000  were selected to attend.

Delegates participate in four transformative days of speeches, panels, networking and workshops where they have the opportunity to challenge world leaders.

In addition, attendees are invited to join social events including the unforgettable opening and closing ceremonies.

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Some of the most pressing issues discussed during the Summit included poverty and hunger, access to education, human rights, climate change, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the issue of single-use plastic.

Below are a few highlights from each day of the One Young World Summit.

Day 1

The Opening Ceremony took place in the iconic Albert Hall. Special guests included: the Lord Mayor of London, Ellie Goulding, Sir Bob Geldof and the Duchess of Sussex - Meghan Merkle.

An important part of the opening ceremony is the march of flags from around the world. This year we had 190+ countries present at the summit. The march started with a refugee flag to recognise the large refugee diaspora around the globe.

My favourite part of Day 1 was the moment where the representatives from South Korea and North Korea hold hands on stage to embrace peace.

Day 2

Kumi Naidoo Secretary General at Amnesty International spoke about climate change and human rights highlighting how 'Nature does not negotiate'.

In his address, the Michael Izza the Chairman of Chartered Accountants Worldwide stressed how and why the accountancy profession must address climate change.

The talks ended with a very powerful statement from Sir Bob Geldof: ‘When leaders fail to lead people will teach them to follow’.

Day 3

Mary Robinson, seen by many as the ‘mother of climate action’ shared the three steps that everyone should take to address the climate crisis:

  • Make the climate change personal
  • Get angry and active
  • Imagine the world that we’d like to inherit and work towards it.

During a vital discussion on modern slavery with Grace Forrest - Founder of Minderoo Foundation and Yeonmi Park Human Rights Activist from North Korea we heard that ‘There are no excuses for not knowing what is going on in the world’ and that ‘As free people, it is our duty to use our voices to speak for the voiceless’.

As part of the plenary session on the topic of Media Freedom one of the delegate speakers - Dalia Yousiff spoke about how the use of social media was critical to broadcast the reality of the regime in Sudan and has hugely contributed to the recent resignation of Sudan former president Omar Al – Bashir after 30 years of dictatorship. 

Day 4

At The Elders interview Mary Robinson stressed that ‘Climate crisis is a man made problem but it requires a feminist solution’.

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During the Education Plenary Session Ahmad Nawaz (Peace and Education Activist) shared with us his story of being a survivor of the terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshwar in 2014 that took 150 lives. ‘I saw my friends being killed and my English teacher burnt alive right in front of my eyes…. Only minutes after I was joking and playing with my friends whose dead bodies now surrounded me’.

We also welcomed Richard Branson in conversation with Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh and Uzo Iweala who spoke about fighting inequality and injustice exploring how the rising global leaders from The New Now are changing their communities right now. In his address to the young leaders present at the summit Richard Branson said the following: ‘The world needs your fresh perspective and leadership’.

Below I have summarised some of the takeaways from the OYW Summit:

  • 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 the Chairman of Chartered Accountants Worldwide who said the following:
    ‘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 prosperity or well-being on a dead planet. The accountancy profession can and should play an important role in addressing this issue. Our members who lead businesses and those who advise businesses have fundamental responsibility to ensure that the health of our planet becomes companies fundamental responsibility.’
  • We’re blessed to be born and raised in the countries where human rights exist, there is access to education and media freedom etc. We often take it for granted but there are still so many countries where those rights are still seen as a luxury. That’s exactly why we should take action to help those less fortunate.
  • 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.
  • We all should put disability inclusion on our business agenda. Thanks to Caroline Casey (Disability activist and founder of Valuable 500) I know understand why as consumers and leaders we should demand businesses and brands to behave in a way that sees value in everyone.

Patrycja Jurkowska ACA,
Operations Accountant, GOAL Global
Chartered Star 2019
JCI Dublin President 2019