One Young World Ambassador from Albania, Enika Bushi tells us about being selected for All Bar None and her experience at last year's Summit.
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When I first applied to be a All Bar None candidate, I had been working on bringing the Wake Up Call to Albania. I rejoiced when I was contacted by the One Young World team telling me that I had been shortlisted and soon found myself gaining full sponsorship to represent my country; Albania, at the 2012 Summit.
One Young World has given all of us young leaders not only a platform within which to interact, exchange and join forces but has put us in direct contact with entrepreneurs, philanthropists and world leaders. Professor Yunus’ words empower you, and make you ask yourself: “What are you going to do?” – This urges me to learn, work and make all I do useful and socially responsible. Doing, rather than just talking is, to me, the key for moving forth.
(Above: One Young World Ambassador, Enika Bushi)
We can argue that, we, young people, are ever more an inspired “product “of our past and present, of our struggles and successes, of the people that blessed us by coming into our lives, people that through their passion, devotion and hope showed us that trying is just one step away from accomplishing. As my favourite Counsellor, Carole Stone told us during the ‘Women’ Up’ Session in Pittsburgh, “We are defined by the company we keep”.
Without sponsorship from All Bar None, I would not have been able to be a part of the truly inspirational, touching, energising and entirely moving exchanges that took place in Pittsburgh. It was within the Summit that I could meet with The Schoolbag board personally and now happily have opened a branch in Rome, Italy.
In line with my “empowerment” passion, I am currently a student and youth Ambassador to the World Congress on Access to Postsecondary Education. In addition to these new commitments, I am working with other NGOs like Continental Rescue Africa for the ‘Being the Change’ Booklet. In short, when I have felt I could contribute to youth empowerment I tended not to shy away.
I began asking what I can do while calling Albanian citizens to actively participate in building the (young) Albanian democracy, urging that the Albanian institutions have to create the right conditions to allow young Albanians to help shape their country and head towards national and/or international positions of decision making in addressing issues of democracy and human rights.
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Growing up in a modest family with not much in terms of material resources, I remember I used to dream of speaking different languages, traveling around the world and meeting new people, learning about their cultures, their needs, their dreams … to see if in different parts of this globe different people could be committed to the same “change”. As I was growing up, I started to build up my dream for change little by little. My strong will to make a difference made me work hard and endure sacrifices. Obtaining several scholarships I was able to finish my studies graduating both in my bachelor and masters, summa cum laude.
Sadly in my country there is a lack of quality control for both public and licensed private education institutions. Brain gain policies, whenever present, seem ineffective resulting in more of a brain drain. The greatest concern comes from the lack of internal conditions, for the Albanian youth to actively and effectively contribute to the prosperity and development of the country lato sensu.
During the One Young World Summit in Pittsburgh, I saw that people across different continents are today resolute for empowerment, for progress, for education. Education is understood not as a luxury but rather a necessity to world society. Through education, young people worldwide can show their true potential and move forward bringing alternative solutions to the problems we face every day - the same problems, which our elders seem unable to make history. While education alone cannot end poverty, it certainly changes people’s perspectives. To me being a good citizen does not mean to be wealthy, but rather to be generous, committed to put all of our potential to good use. A common denominator of all One Young World Ambassadors has been proved to be their generosity.
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(Above: Enika Bushi sitting on the stage of the One Young World Summit in Pittsburgh)
My plea to all of the youngsters who are reading this blog post: never quit demanding; never settle knowing that the responsibility for change lies on everybody’s shoulders. If government policies fail to achieve then the civil society should be ready to step in, having particular regard to vulnerable categories. Only through empowerment and education, can we together unlock the doors to freedom. My call is directed to all of you: to continue to challenge and dare yourself.