The One Young World Summit is a four-day annual global forum where young talent are tasked with finding innovative solutions to world problems that they can then work to implement as future leaders.
Each year, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand sends two delegates on an all-expenses paid trip to the Summit in an effort to support the next generation of difference makers.
We spoke to this year's delegates before and after the event, to discover what they hoped to get out of the experience and what it was actually like.
Meet the delegates
Beatrice Aurelia and Christopher Aldridge have a lot in common. They are finishing up their degrees in Accounting at the University of Adelaide and University of Waikato NZ, respectively, and have both secured graduate positions at Deloitte next year. They also share a passion for making a difference in the world.
When we spoke to Beatrice before the Summit, she was most excited to attend the education panel and learn how she can make an impact in that area after the Summit.
"I grew up in the Philippines where we didn't have a lot of education opportunities. From a young age, I was aware that there weren't a lot of people in school there, so moving to Australia, it was a real eye-opener. This is why I'm really passionate about education," Beatrice said. "I don't just mean creating opportunities for developing countries, but also making the system in first world countries better."
As he looked through the Summit's topics for 2018, Christopher was thrilled to find that a few of them were close to his heart - poverty alleviation in particular.
"I remember I was put up in a hotel in Auckland for a job interview last year and as soon as I walked outside, I could see so many homeless people. The disparity made me think. The fact that we could have such a level of affluence in one respect, and then right outside this door, there's people on the street doing it tough. That's something that really stuck with me," he said.
Aiming to bridge knowledge gaps and build networks
Christopher was keen to take the opportunity to learn as much as he could in order to achieve his goals and build his professional network.
"I want to meet people and learn the skills that I need to take some of my ideas to the next stage. I feel like I have all of these great ideas, but I lack some of the networks and skills to potentially take those ideas from concept to implementation."
"I'm a member of a delegates page on Facebook, and every day I see different delegates post summaries about themselves and different initiatives and projects that they're involved with. It seems like such a great bunch of people," Christopher said.
I've met people in the last week that are literally changing the world, from people helping to bring sanitation and toilets and clean water to refugees to people trying to get youth smoking banned in Indonesia. The absolute spectrum of people I've met over the last week has been incredible.
Beatrice's motivation also came from a desire to advance her career, but in terms of determining the ways in which accountants can become difference makers in their own right. "I really want to gain a global perspective of the issues the world is facing and how, specifically, the role of current Chartered Accountants in business can play a part in finding solutions to the issues we're going to be talking about at the Summit," she said.
At the Summit: A new global awareness and fast friendships
Beatrice and Christopher described the keynotes and workshops they attended as inspiring, insightful and challenging.
Beatrice reflected on the panel session that discussed the impact of poverty as an eye-opening experience: "They talked about how children in developing countries don't have access to education, which can be a difficult topic for people in first-world countries to understand, because it's not something we see in our everyday lives. We need to focus on the important issues and highlight the problems at hand, so that we can solve them."
The delegates also took the time to get to know each other in-between keynotes and workshops. Christopher said he established genuine friendships with people from Pakistan to Manchester within his very welcoming delegation and in a short space of time.
"I've met people in the past week that are literally changing the world, from people helping to bring sanitation and toilets and clean water to refugees to people trying to get youth smoking banned in Indonesia. The absolute spectrum of people I've met over the last week has been incredible," he said.
The long days of the Summit itinerary were well worth it as both our delegates discovered things that could help to combat global problems and the work others are doing to fight injustices. Seeing the difference in the world that has already been made by some of the Summit speakers and attendees, they felt like we should be doing more back home.
"Its those little things that we need to be aware of and have a global mindset and awareness that as first world countries, we should be helping more. We have a responsibility to help people to have the same privileges as us, because we don't want to perpetuate inequality in the world," Beatrice said.
A lasting impact
Christopher's key takeaway from the Summit was the power of collaboration. He said the event helped to break down barriers, allowing people from all over the world to come together for a shared experience. One of the most powerful moments of the event came from two delegates from North and South Korea.
"During the opening ceremony, the delegates from North Korea and South Korea stood on stage, held hands and waved their flags together. That was a great moment," he said.
Christopher and Beatrice agree that their experience at the One Young World Summit has made a lasting impact on their future plans. Christopher's list of difference making ideas grew as the Summit opened his eyes to the goals he could achieve: "It doesn't seem like such a farfetched idea anymore that you can start with nothing and build a business whose purpose is to help people. It seems more feasible now."
"Realise that you can actually make a change. Small things have a ripple effect," he said.
Beatrice's focus has broadened to a global scale after looking at the opportunities that are lacking in so many places around the world. She said attending the Summit has made an impact on where she wants to go in her career by changing this focus. "Whatever I do in my professional career, I want it to have a purpose and to help people."
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