Young leaders make themselves heard at Davos

Global young leaders addressed the political and business elite at this year’s World Economic Forum and set out their own vision for responsive and responsible leadership.

Ambassadors from One Young World called on delegates at the forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week to pay greater attention to issues affecting young people, making a series of passionate contributions to WEFLIVE, the online platform operated by WEF’s communication partner KPMG.

They included:

[[[image 2- small left]]]Innovate on Mental Health

Alicia Raimundo’s call to arms for action on mental health, as she highlighted that the world’s suicide rate has grown by 65% in the past 45 years. Raimundo noted that 10% of the world’s population is affected by mental illness, saying it was incumbent on world leaders to appraise themselves of the subject. “Learn about mental health, talk about it, and invest in it,” she implored them.

[[[image 3- small left]]]Use Big Data for Social Good

Florence Broderick detailed the potential benefits of Big Data, looking to a future where simple keyboard strokes could help to bring an end to such scourges as Dengue Fever, or to reduce urban air pollution. She said that recent advances in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence for commercial use must also be harnessed for societal benefit. “We desperately need the leaders of today and tomorrow to reassure society by using data in a responsible way,” she said.

[[[image 4-small left]]]Don’t Lock Workers in the Closet

Simon Rodgers focused on the need for workplaces to be more inclusive of LGBT workers. He highlighted research by OUTstanding which found that 85% of respondents to a poll believed that LGBT workers “waste energy” by their efforts to conceal their sexuality in the workplace. “Leadership in the lobbying for change is within our gift, as individuals and as businesses,” he said.

[[[image 5-small left]]]Hate Speech Cripples Society

Francois Reyes wrote of how, after the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ attacks, he set up a think tank to heal divisions. He highlighted the damage caused to communities by hate speech, and argued that the key to unity was remembering that “everyone has something to say”. He argued that “current leaders of all backgrounds have a duty to empower their young people”.

[[[image 6-small left]]]Millennials are optimistic about bridging divides

Members of the One Young World Ambassador community across the US shared with us how, in the aftermath of a divisive election, they will be working to reunite their communities and country. Overwhelmingly, Ambassadors were in favour of engaging in peaceful and constructive dialogue and see this as the primary means to move forward.

One Young World’s presence at Davos was recognised by the actor Matt Damon, who thanked the organisation for the support it has given to his safe water and sanitation project.

The CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, sent the One Young World community, and the young people of the world, a message from Davos: “Make your voices heard; actively participate in the political process; put your spending behind responsible companies; and yes, last but not least, live what you preach and put yourself at the service of others.”

Other key contributions to the platform from global young leaders can be found here.

The momentum for bringing pressure on politicians and business leaders to bring about positive change will be carried forward to the One Young World Summit 2017, which takes place in Bogota, Colombia on 4-7 October.


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