by Lily Zhang, Senior, North Allegheny High School
Weeks after the One Young World 2012 Summit, delegates cannot help but recall the inspirational speakers, pressing issues, and unparalleled opportunities of the conference. To think that such an event has already reached such prestige just three years after its inception is unbelievable. Yet, as with all growing events, One Young World has much room to improve even more. While next year’s Summit is months away, delegates nevertheless have Johannesburg and later Summits on their minds as they divulge their hopes for One Young World in the future.
“While it’s really enlightening, at its current state, the Summit is too structured,” commented a delegate from Africa. With prescheduled plenary and breakout sessions from 8 in the morning to sometimes later than 8 at night, delegates have little time for much else, namely focusing on the particular issues and initiatives in which they are most involved and interested.
Delegates would rather see a more detail-oriented approach in addressing the issues at the conference. In addition, many would like more“discussion over presentation,” one delegate.
In terms of the scheduling of the Summit, delegates would really like to give their own opinions. “If the focus of the conference is youth, why not let us have a say in the issues we would like to discuss?” asked one delegate from Latin America. Several delegates suggested creating a committee so delegates could have direct representation in choosing specific topics.
Furthermore, though the objective of the Summit is to encourage delegates to push for change, inspiration is not enough. “If weren’t inspired enough, we wouldn’t be here,” noted one delegate. Several delegates expressed a desire to see a focus not only on the current problems, but possible solutions. “I wanted to know more about the similarities in the issues [of different countries] and the methodologies in addressing them,” stated one delegate from the UK.
To accomplish that, perhaps delegates can learn the most from others who are experiencing the same problems and initiating similar policies in their own nations. “A lot of us don’t know what it takes in certain situations,” a US delegate noted. Although delegates wish to gain more of this insight by talking to others, they “don’t have enough time to interact with each other.”
In that aspect, many would like to see an emphasis on the wake up call. Discontinued as a scheduled portion this year’s Summit, the wake up call allowed delegates to pledge their involvement in a particular issue in their countries. It was a way to “address a problem through advocacy, bringing people outside of the Summit into the cause,” explained a returning Ambassador.
This year, though there wasn’t a scheduled session for the wake up call, a group of returning Ambassadors did the wake up call themselves. Evidently, for many, last year’s wake up call proved very significant. In fact, throughout the Summit, many delegates continued to emphasize a wake up call in their speeches and comments, demonstrating just how powerful the idea of such a call truly is.
While delegates did have ideas for future Summits, all the delegates interviewed expressed how grateful they all were for this opportunity. The One Young World Summit is truly a life-changing experience for all, and in the coming years, this conference will only become even more far-reaching and momentous. After all, it continues to be fueled by the passion and energy of the young leaders around the world.