The inaugural One Young World national USA caucus was held last month at Google’s NYC office. The event was planned by the OYW USA Coordinating Ambassador team and was emceed by OYW Ambassador Jennifer Kamara, founder of World Health Equity. The team hosted 40 ambassadors and friends in-person, and had another 40+ tune-in to the virtual broadcast of the event.
The attendees welcomed to the stage two very special guest speakers that day. The first, Kate Otto, is a physician-in-training at New York University and founder of Everyday Ambassador - a network of global citizens who believe human connection in an increasingly digital world is key to lasting, positive change. Kate spoke about the four values she has identified as necessary in fostering meaningful human connection: empathy, patience, focus, and humility. She challenged the audience members to consider ways to incorporate these values into the going-ons of everyday situations. More information can be found in her newly published book, Everyday Ambassador: Make a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World.
The second external speaker, Jacob Lief, founder and CEO of the Ubuntu Fund, blew everyone away with his inspirational story. Upon visiting South Africa at age 19 for a job that ended up being a scam, he spent 6 months living in a township, which culminated in starting Ubuntu, an organization that has since evolved into a world-class model of holistic philanthropy. Ubuntu chooses to focus on caring for individual children, from cradle to career, as opposed to providing one service to as many children as possible. In 17 years, Ubuntu has helped 2,000+ children in a community of 400,000 people reach university-level education. Jacob’s new book, I am because you are, challenges the philanthropic community to ask the right questions and change the way philanthropists think about impact, for example, by asking them to rethink setting goals to reach the greatest number of people with unsustainable programs in favor of aiming to impact fewer lives, sustainably.
The caucus also included talks from three One Young World Ambassadors, who set the room ablaze with their passion. Parker Liautaud spoke about his work setting up a Climate Policy Think Tank. He discussed the energy sector’s recent improvements in solar and wind power and their implications on reducing global dependence on fossil fuel. He ended on recommending that ambassadors interested in getting up to speed with Climate Change issues take a look at the New Climate Economy Report for a comprehensive summary.
Poonam Thimmaiah, co-founder of CLIMB, an organization inspired by Amanda Dufresne’s emotional speech from the 2013 One Young World summit in Johannesburg, discussed CLIMB’s work in helping break the silence to sexual violence and create awareness in society. In under a year, CLIMB has reached 20,000 people in 11 countries across 4 continents. One of the organization’s main programs involves accompanying rape victims on mountain climbs that signify the daily physical and mental challenges that survivors face. Poonam called for web developers, marketers, sexual abuse victims, and supporters interested in joining the movement to email [email protected].
The final speaker of the afternoon, Marvin Mathew, discussed his work helping the United Nations support youth innovation and entrepreneurship that is inline with the UN’s Proposal for Sustainable Development Goals. During the General Assembly of the United Nations this year, UN-Habitat released Marvin’s publication, Innovation, Technology, and Youth; Harnessing Lessons Learned for Strengthening Youth participation in using Technology for Sustainable Development. This document highlights the impact of youth-led social enterprise and calls for governments and businesses to look to youth innovation and social entrepreneurship in order to achieve the aforementioned Sustainable Development Goals. Those interested in learning more can sign up to receive updates here.
A special thanks to all those who made this event possible: Jennifer Kamara, Angelo Carino, and Jennifer Linares - the One Young World USA Coordinating Ambassadors; Matthew Belshaw and the One Young World global team; the Google NYC Events and Security team; Ruthly Francois, Deep Mallangada - the AV and photo crew; and the special guest speakers, ambassador speakers, and all those in attendance.
A video recording of the caucus can be watched above, as well as pictures here.