By Sophie Belch, Junior, Riverview High School
It is amazing that the One Young World Summit is in its final day; with all the progress made, it seems as though just four days has not been enough for these hungry young leaders. In many plenary sessions on topics ranging from literacy and education to transparency and corruption, delegates from over 183 countries have been feeding off the ideas produced by the appointed counselors, delegate speakers, and other delegates on the floor.
Last evening, delegates attended several different breakout sessions on specific focus areas such as human rights, social media, sports, and even fashion. Afterwards, they travelled to over 200 Pittsburgh homes and institutions to partake in a meal and constructive conversation.
One of the more intimate gatherings in the Pittsburgh suburb of Fox Chapel provided an interesting discussion, including delegates from the Maldives, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Comoros, El Salvador, and the United States. Cultural differences seemed to melt away as each one proffered their ideas about how the conference was meeting their needs.
The consensus among the group was that due to the sheer length and broad nature of the plenary session topics, time for networking and collaborating on ideas was lost. Most of the delegates were in favor of holding more specific, action-centered, small committees or breakout sessions in order to create or adopt methodologies for their programs or ideas for further commitment to their areas of advocacy. They wished for unilateral and multilateral discussion to come to effective solutions at the local, state, and international levels.
As for the functioning of the actual summit, they believed that the flow of discussion would be better facilitated if delegate questions were pre-screened in order to provide a more solution-based discussion and more direct answers from the counselors. The question and answer session at the conclusion of each speaker’s turn allows delegates to speak in front of the counselors, but their questions are not answered directly and sometimes they are not answered at all.
The main concern among the group was the lack of action and specific planning that was going on. A delegate from the Comoros described his action plan called “Wake Up Call” which helped create the breakout experiences that are connecting this year’s delegates not only to more specific discussions but also to experience the city of Pittsburgh. They all believed that mobilization should occur so that the voices of all those present can effect a change they wish to see in the world.