Plenary Sessions start with a vibrant discussion on Human Rights

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This morning, the first of One Young World’s six Plenary Sessions took place and left the delegates with a sense of what to expect for the next three days. 

Keynote speaker, Father Mussie Zerai, a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee for his work with refugee communities worldwide, setting the scene for the Human Rights Plenary Session, which was focused on the unprecedented migrant and refugee crisis which has dominated global headlines this year. He told the delegates that they are 'the present leaders and the future of change', he insisted that everyone must make a commitment to justice. 

The topic of refugees and migrants had been agreed upon at 22 caucuses all over the world, where 630 One Young World Ambassadors voted on the issues that were most important to them. Migrants were identified as the least protected group by the One Young World community and 80% of the One Young World Community agreed that the world is facing a migration and refugee crisis. 

The Delegate Speakers’ speeches reflected the views of the One Young World community, all five Speakers work with refugees and asylum seekers across the world, providing education, helping them to integrate and teaching people about human rights and the rights of migrants. 

Before the first speech, One Young World Counsellor Hope Solo, USA Goalkeeper and World Cup Winner, introduced Danijel Cuturic to the stage. He passionately discussed his work in refugee camps in Jordan, providing education for Syrian children in the infamous Zaatari and Azraq Camps. Danijel was followed by Model and Maternal Health Advocate, Liya Kebede, who welcomed 19-year-old Kamolnan Chearavanont to the podium.

The next two Delegate Speakers, Michele Schifino (Brazil) followed by Alexander Lange (Germany), were introduced by Counsellors Alexandre Mars, the Founder and CEO of Epic Foundation, and Hans Reitz, the Founder and Creative Director of Grameen Creative Bank. Both Delegate Speakers insisted that there needed to a more permanent mechanism for welcoming refugees and urged the delegates to help integrate refugees into their societies. 

Finally, Father Mussie Zerai returned to the stage to welcome the last Delegate Speaker, his friend and fellow Eritrean, Meron Semedar. Meron, who is a refugee himself really resonated with the audience. He discussed his work in integrating refugees in the San Francisco area and teaching the Eritrean community about their rights as refugees. He implored them to welcome refugees into their home countries and 'show their humanity, even in the face of terrorism'.

The Session ended with warm applause for all the Counsellors and Delegate Speakers, before the delegates had their say, through an internal voting system, on the topics that were discussed.  

To make sure that you don’t miss any more of the One Young World Plenary Sessions, watch the live stream here.

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