Global Ambassador to Begin Tour Around the World for 2011
February, 2011 – With the 2nd One Young World summit in Zurich, Switzerland soon approaching, youth leaders throughout the world are bidding to participate in this year’s global gathering of the world’s brightest and most talented young minds, coming together to voice their ideas and engage with solving pressing issues faced by their communities. This year’s summit promises to deliver an even larger impact than London 2010, where the summit expects the participation of more than 1,000 youth leaders, elected their peers in their countries to represent their voices here in Switzerland in front of global counselors like Sir Bob Geldof, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and many others.
For One Young World Malaysian Ambassador, Michael Teoh, 24, he has taken this responsibility of highlighting about the involvements of youths in co-creating and co-organising efforts to foster change and solve problems in their societies to a truly global level. He was down in London, visiting the EuroRSG office, the organizer for One Young World and had a brief chat with the team about his exciting year ahead in 2011.
“My 2011 year can be summed up as globe-trotting, celebrating the spirit of enterprise and promoting global citizenship and more importantly, working with different communities and people on environmental conservation projects to re-education initiatives in rural areas to participating in dialogues and knowledge exchange sessions with renowned industry thinkers and leaders. It would all be in a day’s work for me, everyday in 2011,” said Michael Teoh, who was one of the delegate speaker on the New Media panel in One Young World, London 2010.
To many Malaysians and youths around the world who know this 24 year old Penangite from Malaysia, all of them said that 2010 was a Year for Michael to remember and it all started from his first experience during One Young World, held in the Excel Centre in London.
Recalling on his contributions towards One Young World, Michael was the 1st delegate to embark on the ‘Our Future Says – One Young World’ Youth report project, a youth report detailing the solutions, ideas and recommendations posted by more than 36,000 young Malaysians, documented in a report book distributed out to the global councilors and leaders who were present during the summit. Admitting that he had only used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to garner the wealth of input and ideas from Malaysian youths to be presented at the summit was an eye-opener to many of the delegates.
Aligned with his speech on the New Media panel, Michael echoed how Youths should use social media platforms and technology advancements enjoyed by the current generations to mobilize efforts for positive change, to crowd-source for participations and support and to spread a collective message globally. The ‘Our Future Says – One Young World’ report had since reached the hands of Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, fellow Cabinet ministers in the country and to global icons like Sir Bob Geldof, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and many others.
Upon his return to Malaysia following the inspirations and contacts which were made during the One Young World summit in 2010, Michael was recruited to join a newly established Malaysian youth foundation called myHarapan.
“myHarapan means myHope, and the name is significant to me as it reflected on how the youth foundation was created to identify untapped youth talents and projects in Malaysia and facilitating them in bringing those ideas, solutions and hopes to life. We work with the youths to network with potential collaborators like companies, organizations, NGOs and government bodies to co-create programmes and to scale up the impact of their projects to the community. It is my passion and I love doing it – I would like to think that we are the ‘Google’ for youth foundations in Malaysia – Fast-paced, agile and responsive towards the calling from the youths!,” shared Michael, who is now a Youth Evangelist for the youth foundation, based in Malaysia.
On an interesting note, Michael also referenced how it was the One Young World summit in London that renewed his passion and commitment to spearhead youth projects and to inspire other young people to take charge of improving their respective communities. To date, Michael has spoken at over 100 events both in Malaysia and overseas about Youth Empowerment, with his speaking gig in Oxford University and Stanford University being the more notable ones.
On the home front, Michael has been an advocate for Enterprise, as evidenced through his involvements in promoting young start-ups and business projects ran by youths during the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). A believer that youths need to equip themselves with the ‘Enterprising Spirit’ to remain competitive and relevant to the globalizing world, this 24 years old Malaysian have garnered many successes in his entrepreneurial journeys – Co-founding a community of more than 2,000 aspiring young entrepreneurs called Youth Entrepreneurs Malaysia to being awarded as the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW)’s Most Enterprising Youth of the Year in 2010. During his free time, he has also helped mentor young people in launching social enterprise projects and to further develop themselves to be enterprising to come up with solutions to address pressing community problems.
Now in 2011, our Malaysian Ambassador, Michael Teoh is set to embark on one of his biggest adventures yet, a world expedition to more than 20 countries in 10 months, participating in world-changing community development projects.
‘From constructing a water-piping system to provide families at the mount of a volcano access to clean water in Peru, to educating young monks in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal on basic literacy, to hiking up the Canadian Rockies to examine the impact of climate change towards the northern hemisphere in North America, to working with exotic dolphins, whales and sharks in Italy on marine conservation researches to re-developing a rural community by the foot of an ancient ruin in Guatemala, these are the experiences that await me this year as I begin my trip to Volunteer, Learn and Advocate for Young People to Co-Own Responsibilities to Be a Part of the Solutions to Solve Global Issues!’ said a confident Michael Teoh, who started his world trip from Liverpool in the United Kingdom.
His one year expedition started after our Malaysian One Young World Ambassador won his place as the World’s 1st Ambassador in a competition that was participated by 45,000 people from 168 countries last November. The ‘Your Big Year’ social enterprise competition was hosted in Liverpool, U.K., a competition which pit 45,000 participants from around the globe with their entrepreneurial skills and talents in growing social enterprises and promoting the involvements of young people in charitable organizations.
Michael qualified from the 45,000 people to win a spot in the competition’s finals in Liverpool last November, where he was put into different tasks – From raising money for charitable bodies, to designing business plans for social enterprises, to networking with the Who’s Who in the global community and from consulting local councils and their leaders on strategies and programmes that would cultivate the spirit of ‘Volunteerism’ among young people to participate in initiatives that address key global problems.
‘Bringing my background from One Young World, I had an advantage, as I was already well adapted towards working with people from different cultures and was always taught to be solution-oriented and to have the support from the people, in order to launch any successful campaign. Certainly, my experiences of working with other One Young World Ambassadors had helped me in this competition,’ said Michael, who won the ‘World title’ and a trip around the world for a year.
‘I was remembered in One Young World for my speech about the Need for the Traditional Media to Recognise Youth Movements in the New Media. I remember those heart-warming moments where I was greeted by cheers by our One Young World delegates and was interviewed on CNN. However, this time, Let My Actions Speak Louder, Let My Expedition around the World Magnify, Let My Journeys to Learn and Collectively Solve Global Community Issues be a Following for other young people to do the same!’ stressed Michael, who will be producing a series of podcasts, and youtube videos highlighting the different projects that he will be undertaking around the world for 2011, in hopes of building a following among the youths.
‘We always hear the words – Yes! We Can! echoed by President Barrack Obama. But, how many young people would actually volunteer a month of their lives to live with families in Guatemala to help them to build stoves and work with their village councils to develop their society, with no access to electricity, internet or even a heating system? Well, I hope with this journey, young people would come to realize about their shared responsibilities to help others in our world.
Michael commented about the ‘World becoming Smaller’ as a reference that with technology, youths from anywhere around the world, can learn new knowledge and share their ideas and talents to solve problems in local communities globally. The One Young World summit in London has brought him to connect with influential young people from as far away as the USA, China, India, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. One thing he did learn was the importance to creating a compilation of inspiration stories and best practices done by these youth leaders, in order to inspire others to do the same.
When asked about Who would he like to meet during his world trip, Michael was quick to respond to the question – ‘I would really appreciate it, if I could get a moment of President Barrack Obama’s time, during my tour of the USA in the mid of the year.’
‘Meeting President Obama would trigger a chain-reaction that would reinforce, magnify and crystalise the confidence of young people to do good for their communities. Having such an iconic spokesperson who first echoed ‘Yes! We Can!’ and a Call for Change in our world, that meeting would not only serve as a platform for us to get our views, propose solutions and ideas across to the President, but of paramount importance, is to create that Inspirational Admiration among young people for the work that we, other young leaders from One Young World are doing, and also to Create Buzz and a Following for people to start getting involved with initiatives that promote the greater good for our society,’ said Michael Teoh, who is optimistic that he would meet the President during his world expedition.
Michael Teoh from Malaysia is just one of the many One Young World Ambassadors who went back to their home countries after the London summit in 2010, and got involved with mobilizing projects and rallying other young people to support initiatives that ultimately contribute towards solving pressing issues both in our communities and around the world.
‘I hope to be in Zurich, Switzerland for the 2nd One Young World summit in September to share my experiences and ideas which I have encountered during my world travels thus far with the delegates. The message I would bring would have to be – Getting more youths to participate and solve global issues with their ideas, projects and support. This is our One Young World after-all, and we have to co-own the responsibilities to help its inhabitants and stop pointing fingers at others,’ concluded Michael Teoh, who had left the United Kingdom for his first stop in his world trip to Hungary, during the publication of this article.
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