How Millenials can advance the SDG agenda

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This year, the theme of the 47th World Economic Forum annual meeting is 'Responsive and Responsible Leadership'. Here are a few ways that I think Millennials can help:

1. Speak- Stand up, let yourself be seen

We want leaders to listen to Millennials. For that to happen, we need to challenge ourselves to stand up, to speak for the values and issues we care about. This digital generation should use social media as a force to shape the global agenda, as a way of building bridges and closing the gap between governments and youth. Governments should do the same. If we all had a goal of using social media for ‘good’, the world would change.

2. Listen - Step back, listen to others

Find partners and supporters who share your sense of purpose but not necessarily your views. Their approaches, values and styles might different from yours but avoid being upset or panicked. This is not a perfect world, and it would be boring if everybody thought alike.

I have peers from South Africa, US, UK, Latin America etc. in my company’s One Young World community; we discuss so many topics. Sometimes we have very different ideas, but we always respect and listen to each other, we know we have a unified goal – to make the world a better place.

3. Take action - Start small, step by step, collaboratively take responsibilities

Both the World Economic Forum and One Young World provide platforms and create networks to encourage and even urge participants to take actions, and to be responsive and responsible in the world.

As a millennial professional, you can make a difference by starting with something small; persistently purse your goal to do good. For instance, the “Green” themed volunteer group in China I initiated 6 years ago now has a larger core team of young professionals who value sustainability and they’ve decided to drive their own sustainable development goals in 2017.

4. Utilize – make the maximum of the synergy and resource of your community and organization, even your nation

You can’t rise to Professor Klaus Schwab’s call to be a responsible leader if you don’t dare to utilize the community synergy, organization resource and national strategic roadmap.  

I, and others from Chinese multinational corporations, believe that the youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity and the future, part of the tri-sector leadership in our community.

5. Connect – engage multiple generations

Given that global business is still largely led by other generations and given we need multiple generations’ efforts to solve issues in this planet, Millennials will fail to inspire optimism and trust if we don’t connect with them.

I think all of us believe that trust and transparency matter, and want to advance the anti-corruption agenda.  

Fearlessly speak up, inclusively respect and listen to others, collaboratively take actions, utilize community synergy & organization resource and connect the dots with people or businesses; these are the 5 ways to get responsible leaders started to listen to us. What’s your way?

Justin Fan is a One Young World Ambassador from China, he spoke at the One Young World Summit 2016 during the Global Business Plenary Session. He is a Business Analyst at Thomson Reuters. As the Co-Chair of Thomson Reuters' Asia Pacific volunteer network, he’s been growing cross-region efforts and creating enterprise-level synergy. He won the 2012 Community Champion Award issued by the Thomson Reuters CEO.

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