At the inaugural One Young World summit from February 8th to 10th in London, hundreds of young leaders from 192 nations will take up the most pressing issues.
For 40 years, the World Economic Forum in Davos has been the pre-eminent meeting of minds; but frankly, it’s become unsurprising, and fairly glum. The takeaway from the summit in January was that “trust in governments, corporations and above all banks has become as elusive as sure footing on the icy streets of this Alpine resort,” as the New York Times put it.
Not exactly visionary, encouraging or likely to change the world.
It’s time to bring some fresh energy to the global dialogue. At the inaugural One Young World summit from February 8th to 10th in London, hundreds of young leaders from 192 nations will take up the most pressing issues facing the international community: interfaith dialogue, the environment, global health and the changing media; inspiring hope and change.
As they draft resolutions on our biggest challenges, they will be guided by the likes of Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof, Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and former president of Peru Alejandro Toledo.
The event is organised by Euro RSCG Worldwide, who have done other projects that harness the power of young people to change the world, like the Tck Tck Tck initiative for climate justice. David Jones, CEO of parent company Havas, explained the summit’s goals:
“If the world’s leaders can’t actually make the right decisions and get us to the right place … then given how clever some young people are today, we can actually use them to exert pressure on the world’s leaders to do the right things.”
The theme for Davos this year was “Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild.” One Young World delegates will be doing the same things with one important difference – for them, these acts are second nature.
Young leaders today are actively engaged with the world around them, fully aware of how global issues affect their local communities, energetic and passionate about their own power to effect social change.
This is the real-time generation. People in their 20s don’t remember a world with no internet. They have a wealth of ways to find out what’s going on right now, told from countless points of view. Empowered by their ability to connect with each other fast, they’re forcing companies to clean up their act and be transparent with consumers.
It’s not a “Me Generation” but a “We Generation”, guided by optimistic values and an awareness of how interconnected we all are. They have a greater willingness to work together, to compromise in the best possible sense, and a deeper commitment to peace.
Participation in One Young World doesn’t have to be in the flesh. Our community has been growing for months on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WAYN and has dedicated bloggers around the globe, encouraging debate and spurring action. The summit will be open globally through online streaming and real-time updates.
Our guest writer is Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America, and one of the world’s leading trendspottersLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.