Since joining the #OYW Movement I have been amazed with the great opportunities that entail. Last year I was fortunate to listen to Professor Muhammad Yunas talk about social enterprise and to hear about his extensive work and in particular, a project focused on increasing the financial literacy (and thus empowering the capacity) of rural women in India to take charge and leadership within their communities. Or listening to former Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Kofi Annan share his epic experiences on the world stage, along side Sir Bob Geldof who both challenges us to think critically about the level and influence and power we as a generation have in order to change the world. I beamed with pride hearing former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland encourage us all to champion the cause of climate change, challenging us all to do our parts.
In addition to the fabulous speakers, one of the greatest highlights for me was meeting a diverse range of peoples from across Oceania. All of us, as delegates from the Pacific were able to immediately connect, and make broader connections to the organizations we are attached to, and also friends and family we all know. This global movement and conversation provided a unique platform for all us from the small Islands of the Pacific to come together and to stand united and committed to addressing the common challenges our region faces. This was timely given our global community was preparing for the COP21 in December of that year, giving One Young World delegates the opportunity to call upon our various leaders to take the issue of climate change seriously.
We had a strong delegation from Samoa, Palau, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Australia and New Zealand. We stood with immense pride, hope, and admiration as our brother Bryant Zebedy from the Marshall Islands delivered a stern and passionate talk about the effects of climate change in the Pacific and the very real scenario in which many of our peoples could become climate change refugees; forced to migrate due to processes of climate change, if the international community were not able to commit itself to greater emissions reductions and greater care of the environment in time. Our reps from Samoa and Vanuatu were also featured in an interview with the German media.
Since the One Young World Summit in Thailand, we’ve all kept in contact, sharing ideas, resources and best practices. One of the great things that instantly connected us all in Thailand, was that all of us were involved in some youth organization, or some form of youth advocacy within our respective countries, many of us tied to our regional body the Pacific Youth Council (PYC), our regional representative body in some shape or form. What I look forward to most at this years Summit? Of course the wonderful and amazing Cher – but equally as important to me; meeting our newest group of delegates from Oceania, connecting with them, learning more about what they do, and then forging working relationships and network to continue empowering the youth of our wonderful region. Thank you One Young World for validating our work and giving us these global opportunities to do what we do best.
Tim Baice is the Coordinating Ambassador for Oceania, passionate about Pacific youth engagement and equal opportunities. Through community work he helped to establish the Auckland Samoa Fa'afafine Association (ASFA) in 2014, the Otahuhu Mangere Youth Group (OMYG).