Dear Youthful Vincentians,
I had the pleasure of representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the fourth One Young World Youth Summit in Johannesburg South Africa, Oct. 2 to 6 via the All Bar None Scholarship. The Summit offers entrepreneurs and social movers ages 18-30, a platform to share solutions and to network. These pioneering young leaders make presentations and engage in discussions on various themes ranging from education to social business, human rights and sustainable development.
Every Caribbean country was represented, which added to the overall 190 countries in attendance with approximately 1,300 delegates and returning ambassadors. Counsellors in the past included Bill Clinton and this year the calibre remained high with Kofi Annan, Arianna Huffington, Professor Muhammad Yunus, Sir Richard Branson, Anthony Jenkins: Chief Executive of Barclays, Paul Polman: Global CEO of Unilever and 36 other great business and social leaders. The counsellors made speeches, served as mentors to assigned delegate speakers and answered questions from the floor of delegates.
The most impactful delegate presentation for me was made by James Eder, who found a solution to youth unemployment; at age 22, James co-founded studentbeans.com with his brother. The site now boasts over 1.3 million users, 2.5 million visitors per month, a staff of almost 40 and 20 new vacancies. How does one grow from their small beginnings to burgeoning and ever growing success? Through failure! James advised delegates to redefine success to include failure. He credits The Naked Leader Experience as the book that gave him the courage to welcome mistakes. Ideas never turn into business or capital all due to our fear of failing. Life is not a rehearsal!
There were breakout sessions on special topics both at the convention centre and in the Johannesburg area. Johannesburg? As super advanced and interconnected as any other major city you can imagine.
There is no limit to the number of Vincentian delegates. Representation from our country and the wider region must increase for us to gain opportunities to sit at the decision making table. Being a decision maker allows us each to have a greater global impact. Too many delegates said it’s the first time they’ve either heard of St. Vincent and the Grenadines or met someone from the country, while two delegates asked if it was a country. Start planning now to be a Vincentian representative in Dublin Ireland, Oct. 15 to 19, 2014. Funding is available via The All Bar None Scholarship, competitions and corporate sponsorship.
The summit is inspiring but also instils a call for action. An oath was made between the delegates and business leaders at the Summit for more responsible, responsive and inclusive business. In other words, moving beyond business as usual. I encourage you to visit www.oneyoungworld.com to read the oath and view speeches including the opening and closing ceremonies from the Summit. You will find the closing speech by the Summit’s surprise guest, Winnie Mandela.
If you own a business or run a social enterprise, expand your network by connecting with the Ambassadors on the One Young World website. Be open for business.
I look forward to being part of the Vincentian delegation with you in Dublin next year!