Written by: Ariadna Salvador[Belfast, Northern Ireland, October 3, 2023]
My name is Ariadna Salvador, and I am currently on the national team for AIESEC in the UK. This past October, I had the amazing opportunity to represent AIESEC Global at the 2023 One Young World Summit. One Young World (OYW) is an international 5-day summit for young leaders all over the world to get together and talk about current global issues and how we, as young leaders, can make a difference.
This year, OYW day 3 was about raising awareness and discussing topics such as sustainability, AI, climate change, refugees, young leaders advocates, First Nations rights and knowledge, and enterprises that young people are putting together that could change the way that we live and shape the future of the world.
The goal of AIESEC in the OYW Summit was to engage with youth, to listen to what is going on in the world, and to show how we, as a youth-led organization, can make an impact and take these learnings forward. Moreover, a big part of our participation was to put AIESEC out there, make new connections and share what we do with the rest of the young leaders who are representing the world. Through networking spaces and workshops and through AIESEC’s participation in the Young Leadership Alliance (YLA), AIESEC highlighted the importance of opening the stage for youth to take action and feel empowered to speak up, to make a positive change on a global scale and connect with partners that want to make a difference.
With more than 190+ countries, 250+ organizations and 1000+ youth representatives, the plenary and stage were full of inspiring conversations. Starting off with Ecuador’s First Lady, Maria de Lourdes Alcivar de Lasso, ambassador for the Embrace for Adoption organization and Ecuador Grows without Chronic Child Malnutrition programs; alongside Maria Juliana Ruiz, former first lady of Colombia, they talked about the power of youth in their own countries. They showed the power of the global network of first spouses in starting the change from within their countries and left the plenary with this message, “Youth, you are the ones that need to go out and reach for humanity- you are those who can take the lead and make the change”.
Following up, Aiden Gallagher, UN Environment Goodwill Programme Ambassador for North America, spoke about ensuring responsible stewardship of our planet’s resources and raising awareness of critical environmental issues. He invited youth to think about what led them there and mentioned that the easy way to create change is by “knowing yourself and understanding that you have something unique to contribute” and that our goal as youth is to speak up and to “think big, start small & take people along for the ride. There is no limit to what you can do and who you can impact.”
Later in the day, there was a very inspiring and thought-provoking panel with Indigenous leaders speaking up and telling their stories, how they have fought for their lands and how their youth are now the ones to take action and connect with the “outside world.” Representatives such as Joanna Bernard, First Nations Interim National Chief; Mia Kami, activist and storyteller; and Vanessa Turnbull-Robers, human rights lawyer and advocate at Gadigal country, share a message everyone should consider. “Have you stopped to think that maybe we, indigenous people, are the ones who have had the answer all this time, that we are one with the earth and have been living by its teachings for decades, so, are we ready to listen to us?”
Subsequently, Alejandro Daly, president of the Board at El Derecho a No Obedecer and advocate for climate action in Latin America, expressed the power of art as a movement for conveying the message that words can’t. He fights for the right of youth to have a healthy environment all over the world. “Youth has the power to shape the future and make change. Follow that which leads you to make an impact, step away from the sidelines and take action.”
Lastly, AIESEC participated in the Young Leadership Alliances workshop, where discussions included how we, as nonprofits, can establish private-sector partnerships and implement new strategies for impact measurement. This space was of utmost importance for AIESEC since discussions about how to interact with private sector partners and reach them with our messaging were among the main discussions. The key learning of this space was that we, as a youth leadership organization, must find ways to make ourselves stand out and create tools that private sector companies can use and benefit from to make an impact.
So what now?
For AIESEC, being able to take part in such an amazing space was an opportunity to put our organization out there and learn from others who are also leading the change. This was a space where we got to hear the voices of youth worldwide and see how we can take action in shaping the world’s future through promoting global collaboration. If I had to choose two of the key takeaways I got from this summit, it would be:
1. As a youth leadership organization, we have to facilitate spaces for youth to speak up and say what matters. Let’s unite to shape the world’s leaders and inspire each other.
2. As a youth leadership organization, we need to create meaningful partnerships and work together with people and/or organizations that are great at what they do to build something incredible together.
AIESEC is one of the world’s largest youth-run organizations dedicated to developing leadership potential in young people through international exchange and volunteering opportunities. With a presence in over 100 countries and territories, AIESEC provides a platform for young leaders to engage in cross-cultural experiences and contribute to positive societal change.
For more information or media inquiries, please contact: Alysha Alva, Global Head of Public Relations for 2023, AIESEC International email@example.com