While preparing for my first Summit in 2015, I had no idea what the real impact of being at the Summit would have on me. Being a delegate changed the way I see the world, and my own country, forever.
While surrounded by people who have done incredible things, my beliefs were strongly reaffirmed: that each individual has the power to change the world in some positive way and that the future of our world is contingent on what young people start doing now.
I encourage delegates to reflect within themselves to know why they are coming to One Young World, to have a vision of what they would like to achieve at the Summit, and most importantly, to prepare in order to ensure that they leave with the knowledge that they made the most of what for many is one a once in a lifetime experience.
I was fortunate enough to be a Delegate Speaker in a panel debate with former Telefonica CEO, Ronan Dunne, on Digital Life in 2015. Leading up to the debate, I was incredibly nervous until I remembered that this was my chance to take onto the world stage all the voices that could not be there. Suddenly the nerves disappeared as I realised that the moment was not about me, or my organisation, it was about doing justice to the millions of voices that cannot be heard on the main stage. For me, these voices are the children and teachers of rural South Africa. Whether you are fortunate enough to be a Delegate Speaker or not, make sure you carry your country’s unheard voices in each interaction. Make sure that they are heard.
With each delegate carrying their country’s story, the Summit will expose individuals to issues around the world that they either never knew about before or those that had not fully resonated with them yet. The responsibility you take home from the Summit is to share your fellow delegate’s stories with your family, friends and colleagues, and to challenge their thoughts on the pertinent issues facing our world today. Go to One Young World with an open mind; allow your views to challenged.
My hope is that delegates come prepared, connect with as many people from various backgrounds as possible, challenge their beliefs on issues they may find uncomfortable and realise the responsibility on each and every one of them to not only bring their own stories and messages but to also take those of others home with them.
I look forward to meeting the 2016 delegation!
Mandy Benjamin is a Returning Ambassador from South Africa. She is a Property Private Equity Transactor at Investec Property, and the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of a non-profit, imagine.nation. They focus on change through education across the following spectrums: social entrepreneurship, tech education, and formative year education and early stage upliftment.