Antiguan heads to global youth summit

The largest gathering of young leaders on the planet will feature an Antiguan & Barbudan in its proceedings.

Regis Burton, 24, left the island on Monday night; en route to Bangkok, Thailand, and will take part in the 2015 One Young World Summit.

The summit – which will run from November 18 to 21 – will bring together over 1500 delegates aged 18 to 30, from 196 countries.

It is geared at trying to develop next-generation solutions to global issues, most pressing of which is climate change.

Burton – the co-founder and CEO of the professional development organisation, Nolan Hue Inc – spoke with OBSERVER media just before his journey.

He said he is most looking forward to getting a better appreciation for “What are some of the actual challenges other people are having. I’ll be getting it straight from the source.”

The Antigua Grammar School alumnus added, “You can see some of the amazing things that people are doing,” since he and some his global counterparts have already begun linking with each other.

One of the key parts of Burton’s trip will be his “Call on COP” speech, a 2-minute appeal that he will direct to Prime Minister Gaston Browne, advocating for action in specific climate-related areas.

This address – one that a representative from each delegation must make to their head of state – comes in the lead-up to the global Climate Change Conference, COP21, slated for Paris, France in December; where nations will look to finalise concrete, governing climate regulations.

Climate Change won’t be the only thing on the agenda, however, as each delegate will also take part in an “External Activity” development programme of their choice.

Burton – a former captain of Antigua at the youth cricket level, and member of team USA at the under-19 cricket World Cup in 2010 –  selected “Leadership through Sports” as his area.

“I selected the (programme) that I think that I could learn from and bring back to Antigua most. Because if we do look back in history when the Caribbean – and specifically Antigua – was leading in the sporting industry, positive things were happening, we saw a lot of community development,” he said.

He will return home on November 23.

Asked about national development within an ever-ranging global village, Burton charged, “It’s (up to) us to look and learn, and tell ourselves we’re gonna do what it takes…by working together.”

He was chosen for this summit via approval of an online profile and application by the One Young World organisation’s team of selectors.

Beginning in 2010, this is the sixth summit of its kind, and will include addresses from dignitaries such as former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan; Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson; and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

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