As the countdown to 2012 in Pittsburgh, has begun, and during some short and some long plane and train rides home, I am sure there has been lots of reflection happening in the minds in each and every delegate, as well as everyone that has been involved in One Young World’s 2011 Summit.
These are some of my personal reflections on what I really got out of these past few days. I am not sure where to begin exactly, so l’ll just begin….
It is possible it was optimism when I entered the meeting hall during the opening session the night of the 1st September and was overwhelmed by the sea of people in this hall genuinely exchanging smiles, greetings, or nods as stranger’s eyes and bright faces met. This happening while everyone kept their attention with the extraordinary counselors that were introduced one by one as they took to the stage. The aura was absolutely incredible!
It is possible that it was admiration when the Crown Prince of Norway addressed us and spoke with resilience and courage on how he daringly dealt with the tragic events that happened in Norway last month by promoting unity through love and respect. Showing the world that the strongest and most effective retaliation to violence is overwhelming peace.
It is possible that it was the challenge posed by Bob Geldof as he blatantly laid down the realities of the millions suffering out there and placed the responsibility in our hands to fix it, saying “you have to get us out of this mess, cause we have failed.”
It is possible it that it was inspiration when Desmond Tutu enthused us with his wisdom and faith as he kindled hope and confidence in us to possibly be able to see the day when we can eliminate poverty, hunger, suffering in all forms, if we would just come together and care for one another.
It is possible it was the opportunity that we would have the chance to speak with more than 1200 delegates from 170 countries, and reaching out to several thousands of followers on twitter–and learn and share about the truly remarkable experiences of each other. When again will a possibility such as this happen?
It is possible it was energy of the David and Kate duo, and their dedication that was portrayed in the way they paid attention to every minor detail on and off the stage. They were the true dynamite for the next couple of days that even made the time to reassure, thank, and interact with delegates when they had a spare few seconds, and still had time to do their own tweeting throughout the sessions!
I was lucky enough to have the chance to speak with so many of the extraordinary support team that truly did their best to ensure that our needs were attended to!!! It was so interesting to hear their viewpoints about what was happening inside our meeting hall that was relayed with the utmost enthusiasm and respect.
This is just the beginning. Whether it is us going out there and setting an example of tolerance and interfaith dialogue in our communities and being the living examples and ambassadors of our faiths showing where peace, love and understanding can get us, promoting and being those social entrepreneurs that apply better business practices rather than “just” corporate social responsibility, reaching out to women and men and boldly addressing our cultural and social taboos that hold us back from being able to support each other and develop the healthy partnerships and interactions that would facilitate our societies progress by making sure all girls AND boys have equal opportunities for education, healthy lives, support structures, protection from any harmful or tragic situations at home or in their societies making sure we are those journalists that get the “truth” out to the world through not just more responsible reporting but as well as utilizing, expanding and inventing alternative forms of media that we can use to spread knowledge and information and especially making sure that we are sharing our knowledge and experiences to those that didn’t have the chance to be here…
It is US not falling short of OUR own expectations.
So for those of us that were looking for the “results” coming out of the summit, I think it is clear now. The results are in our hands. The results were not meant to happen in these few days. Let’s be realistic. We were more than 1200 delegates, and the fact of the matter is, that it is now that the world is experiencing by sheer numbers the most youthful population worldwide in history.
WE are the lucky ones. We are the ones who have the chance to make a difference every single day, and also have our special support network at One Young World. And at the same time we have to remember that we only represent a smaller fraction of more amazing young people that do remarkable work every single day, and that we should be finding and working with so that we truly can have our exponential effect…
This is it One Young Worlders, it IS YOUR wake-up call… because a year on, and hopefully 10 years on, WE will be the ones that will HAVE or HAVE NOT spearheaded it all! Because when the buck will stop in front of you, whether you are a politician, businessperson, volunteer, father, mother, teacher, engineer, journalist, doctor, whatever and wherever if you have not moved forward the agenda of ‘our utopia’ then it is us that will be held accountable.
So what are you going to do about it?
Guest Post by Rania Elessawi. She is an international development professional, with a ‘child-rights’ approach. Strong technical expertise in program and project development including conceptualization, designing, planning, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation, guided by a strong understanding and ability to develop cross-sectoral interventions that integrate child and youth participation. Also has experience in contributing to social policy dialogues; establishing partnerships; institutional strengthening; development of capacity building programs for government and non-governmental partners; participatory planning; behaviour change and communication interventions.