Today, 1,300 delegates from every country in the world have descended upon Bangkok for the One Young World Summit 2015, the most global gathering of young leaders in 2015. It started with the most spectacular Opening Ceremony yet, as delegates were transported by boats on the Chao Phraya River to the Royal Palace, Sanam Luang, at the heart of Bangkok’s historic centre.
The highly successful One Young World Opening Ceremony has the added distinction of being the first ever non-royal event to be held on these grounds and was graced by One Young World Counsellors, old and new, and esteemed Counsellors Kofi Annan, Sir Bob Geldof and Professor Muhammad Yunus brought the house down with their arrivals on stage.
The Opening Ceremony officially began as the delegates started to arrive at the Royal Palace. The air of excitement was tangible as they took in the stage and its beautiful backdrop. The international audience was reflected in the stunning flag ceremony, where delegates from almost every nation on earth paraded their flags in national dress.
The delegates were treated to entertainment from Ong-Sa-Sil, a famous percussion group, proceeded by a highlight reel from the 2014 Summit in Dublin, showing them what is in store for the next three days.
One Young World Founders, David Jones and Kate Robertson, were then given an extremely warm welcome by the delegates, before thanking the One Young World Bangkok Advisory Board, led by Pearly Ingkakul, the amazing Thai One Young World Ambassador in charge of the bid.
Kate Robertson also used the Opening Ceremony to introduce Call On COP, the most global climate action campaign in the world, which is being run from the One Young World Summit this year. Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland appeared via video link to encourage the delegates to get involved and Call on COP to ensure leaders engage in meaningful and constructive talks at COP21.
Kate and David led the moment everyone was waiting for as the Counsellors entered the Ceremony. The welcomes for Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan and Professor Muhammad Yunus took the roof off before the Summit attendees were officially welcomed by the Governor of Bangkok, Sakhumbhand Paribatra who wished to 'extend the city's heartfelt welcome to One Young World' and offered his personal condolences to the victims of terror worldwide after the attacks in Paris, Beirut and Iraq'.
Kofi Annan followed the Governor to the stage and told the delegates that they 'have the unparalleled capacity to catalyse constructive change' and challenged them to stand up and lead, when the 'current leaders stop leading'.
Professor Muhammad Yunus demanded that, together, they work towards the 'three zeros: zero poverty; zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions', while Sir Bob Geldof said that 'writing letters is simply not enough', both calling for action from the young leaders and encouraging them to become fully engaged in the next three days.
The Opening Ceremony ended with a beautiful firework display and a festival-style dinner, with food stalls from all over Thailand.
The Summit Sessions will be starting bright and early tomorrow with the Founders' Address from Kate Robertson and David Jones at 08:35 (ICT). Look for Opening Ceremony highlights on the One Young World YouTube Channel.
Make sure you don’t miss a minute of this year’s Summit by watching the live stream here.