This year’s “Ambassadors in Action” Session at the Summit in Johannesburg featured Ambassadors' initiatives that have been inspired by the One Young World Summits.
Parker Liautaud was the first Ambassador to be featured during the Session. Speaking on the need for focus on climate change, Parker encouraged the other delegates to take the reins on climate change issues. In his words, “The responsibility for addressing climate change falls our shoulders and it will require enormous resilience on our part. We will have to go to the ends of the earth to ensure the protection of future generations. We will have to be humble in learning from the experience of the generation of our Counsellors.”
Having walked twice to the North Pole in a bid to drive a cause for concerns on climate change, Parker, inspired by Sir Bob Geldof in previous Summits, announced the Willis Resilience Expedition - a world record South Pole speed expedition starting in November this year. Parker intends to walk 400 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole to plant the One Young World flag at the geographic South pole on Christmas Day this year.
With the Willis Expedition, he intends to contribute to an understanding of the climate system and to change the way the world thinks about science today, the importance of the changes that are occurring in the polar region and other parts of the world.
The InkuluFreeHeid movement was founded by Ambassadors Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, Erik de Ridder and Lefu Dlamini. InkuluFreeHeid is a non-partisan movement of all who live in South Africa. A movement that works and acts on social, political and economic issues to enhance freedom, promote dignity and realise the vision of an economically empowered and truly free South Africa. In seven months, InkuluFreeHeid has signed up 2000 members and captured the attention of the international community. It has also mobilised over 110 organisations behind efforts to shape the future. It has engaged 10,000 people on the ground across the country with constant reach of over 200,000 people every week through their online channels. They have started implementing change at an official level in three top South African universities, and initiated major national debates, influencing millions of citizens as well as trade unions, political parties and government.
On InkuluFreeHeid, Sir Bob Geldof expressed his impression about the movement and classified them as an example of “being a threat without violence”. He encouraged the delegates to ensure that conversations were progressive.
Counselor Kofi Annan encouraged the InkuluFreeHeid team to push climate change to the top of the government agenda and to keep using social media to drive their agenda while staying focused. Addressing the delegates, he emphasised that it takes individual and group efforts to make this kind of change.
Ahmed Kathrada impressed with the movement, admonished them to keep organising and influencing the South African youths for positive change.