Life is divided into two moments, before One Young World, and after One Young World.
I attended the Bangkok Summit in 2015 as a delegate and I’m returning as the South America Coordinator Ambassador this year.
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I have been engaged in social and environmental causes for my whole life, but my energy and will was enormously strengthened after One Young World. The Summit allowed me to gather forces with other young leaders across the world and brought me not only inspiration and clear direction, but also hope and a network which made me more effective and even more passionate.
The current world picture is quite serious - starvation, poverty, extremism and climate change along with all of the other social and environmental issues killing our planet and making humankind forget its essence.
Pretty tough to change that reality, but together we will make a difference. By “together”, I mean every single one of us.
I have a dream: one day, 7 billion of us will engage in taking care of ourselves and our planet as one home.
Let’s be realistic though. We haven’t engaged 7 billion people in such global, changing movement yet, we are not even close to it. In fact, many of us are still going in the opposite direction. So what now? How are we going to turn it around? How can we empower those with good will? How can we maximize social projects' results, support people and communities who are bringing creative solutions to these issues and maximize their achievements?
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Global Business carries that hope. It is the sum of knowledge, will and power.
I can’t wait to attend this Plenary Session, and I’m sure we will get the answers for most of these questions there. Multinational businesses hold huge power over our societies and environment which directly influence most of the aforementioned issues. Picture how one single company can help to fill the gender gap through inclusion and strong diversity Human Resource policies, fight climate change by reducing their carbon foot print, produce their own clean energy, or create a sustainable consumption and production cycle by adopting a responsible supply chain. Think of the various other hundreds of projects they can lead.
Now, who is going to drive the force of change? You and I.
One Young World has leaders inserted in the most powerful companies in the world, and we are the responsible for showing our leaders, CEOs, bosses, or whoever it is, what is happening and what needs to be done.
Let’s figure it out together, and on behalf of those who need, we will carry the flag of peace.
Nothing will stop us. I’m sure we will change this reality and we won’t leave anyone behind.
If you are a delegate joining One Young World for the first time, I would like to share advice that was given to me which really helped me make the most out of this experience.
Don’t hesitate to talk to anyone, even if that person is Professor Muhammad Yunus. Carry your business card with you. Study the schedule. Download and use the Convene app. Focus on the Plenary Sessions. Before you commit yourself with anything, make sure you’re really able to accomplish it. Sleep well. Have fun. Breathe that love in, let your imagination fly, but keep your feet on the ground!
You are about to meet super heroes! That’s what those people are, 1,300 heroes from 197 countries: peacemakers, reality changers, future thinkers, all of them with something to teach and open to learn.
Find the hero within yourself, collect your stories and get ready to share them.
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Fernando Oliveira is a Coordinating Ambassador from Brazil. He is a Retail Manager at Apple where he has created and lead initiatives of volunteerism and sustainability within the company. He is also involved with Teto, an NGO that works with extreme poverty-stricken communities, building emergency houses for underprivileged people in over 20 countries.