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Focusing
on a positive impact

“Every problem is solvable, you just need to start simple” Professor Muhammad Yunus

By Stella Baylore

One Young World is not just a Summit, but a movement, bringing together over 2,000 young change-makers from more than 190 countries across the globe. These young leaders are counselled and inspired by influential political, business and humanitarian leaders including Professor Muhammad Yunus, HRH The Duchess of Sussex, Dr Jane Goodall, Sir Bob Geldof and Sir Richard Branson.


In the weeks leading up to One Young World I had begun to feel overwhelmed with problems that our world is currently facing; widespread poverty, displacement of people, rainforests ablaze and plastic smothering our oceans. To quote Greta Thunberg “our house is on fire and we need action”. 

One Young World brings the recipe for solutions. This is the time for change, and I am very grateful to be working for Johnson and Johnson (J&J) who is not just reacting but are proactively working to alleviate and resolve these issues. J&J have been partnering with OYW since 2013, sending over 240 delegates from across the globe to further advance young leadership. I was very excited to be part of the chosen delegation this year, along with Alaa’ Mansour representing the Middle East. I met other change-makers and was inspired from people from all walks of life. Many have faced extreme adversity and have not only just survived but became empowered and used this to help others, their courage and determination making a profound difference.

With this article I wanted to share some of my key take-aways from the Summit;

Responsible business is the only way forward.

We all are responsible for our environment and although many of us are trying to act in reducing our carbon footprint, using less single use plastics and buying sustainable products, it is of vital importance that large companies are on board and we hold them accountable to make big changes to help save the planet.

Companies at the Summit shared their experiences and what changes they are making to improve our world. Jeremy Darroch, CEO and President Sky presented their campaign ‘Sky Ocean Rescue’ and showed the unimaginable scale of plastic that is dumped into our oceans and the devastating effects this causes. In their campaign they are working with WWF to help protect oceans across Europe and have also launched #‘passonplastic’ campaign in which they are removing single use plastic from their operations, products and supply chain. From J&J, amongst others, Bimo Agung presented his initiative CarbonEthics which helps those in the region calculate their carbon footprint and offset it. Different workshops were hosted including ‘The biggest reforestation project in the world” hosted by Barry Callebaut looking to help support sustainable farming and conservation of diverse rainforests.

Companies have begun to act and now we, the consumers, have the choice. We should be doing due diligence on what initiatives companies are involved in and only buy services and products from those acting within a responsible and considerate way. This is when change happens.

 

 

Nobody should be left behind

One young world highlighted for me some very important issues surrounding the inclusion of people.

1.  Poverty is a global problem and requires solutions. The world is becoming more divided with wealth inequality with 28 people in the world owning more than 50% world wealth and the bottom half of the world adult population owning only 1% global wealth. Dr Jane Goodall spoke about her own personal experience with the decimation of the forests in Tanzania where people were cutting down forests to sustain the population increase. However, as the forests disappeared those people had no more resources and were struggling to survive. Dr Goodall founded the ’Jane Goodall Institute’ and the ‘Roots and Shoots’ program which improve education and working within the communities to create partners in conservation. Professor Muhammad Yunus spoke about how we need to be innovative in our thinking and to break away from the models of business and profit, to create a more inclusive society with zero poverty.

2.   Speaking out for the voiceless. There was a talk by Yeonmi Park, a North Korea defector and human rights activists, who spoke about her ordeal in leaving in North Korea, and how she and her mother were subject to trafficking and abuse. “Freedom is not something you take for granted” Yeonmi Park. GeumHyok Kim reiterated the horrors inside North Korea and it is their activism is highlighting those who cannot talk out and sharing with the world what is happening. I was particularly touched by Breshna Musazai who was shot multiple times at her University in Kabul but still uses her voice to promote education in Afghanistan.

3.   #InclusionRevolution; The importance to remember and appreciate otherness. Caroline Casey spoke about the power of collaboration and collective energy and how important it is to bring inclusivity into the workplace when it comes to disabilities. There was a truly inspiring talk from Oscar Anderson, disability activist, who had neonatal jaundice which untreated led to cerebral palsy who has been campaigning tirelessly to increase the awareness and inclusivity surrounding disabilities.

When looking for future leaders, and into ourselves as we prepare to lead, we have to understand that leadership is about people, and therefore we can never categorize humanity or leave anyone behind. 

 

 

 

Resiliency for Change

My Company J&J this year centered around the topic of ‘Resiliency For Change’. Resilience is what allows each of us to continuously adapt, recover, and grow in the face of adversity. Mental health, of which resiliency is very much part, challenges millions of people around the world and can have a devastating effect on people and their loved ones. J&J’s Company Group Chair for Medical Devices EMEA Hani Abouhalka our 2019 J&J OYW scholar Wesam Eid gave a very touching and enlightening speech on the main stage on their personal experiences on how they build their resiliency and how to best lead when times are hard. J&J also hosted a workshop to help the global OYW delegates address their own challenges and become more resilient leaders.

 

 

If you are ever feeling overwhelmed remember you too are, or can be, a resilient leader. The late Kofi Annan said, “You’re never too young to lead and you’re never too old to learn”. Use every opportunity to shape the world around you for the better. J&J and One Young World have shown me we are a generation of resilient changemakers, peace- makers, compassionate and innovative leaders and we can create the change to combat the injustices, the suffering and the challenges our world is facing.