Posts By: Emma Powell

From Bath to Barcelona

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I have just returned from Barcelona, which hosted the second European Caucus of 2017. Over the weekend we had talks on Inclusion in the Workplace, Refugee Rights, Gender Equality, Innovation in Large Organisations, Sustainable Design and Climate Change. I arrived late on the Thursday night to settle in the city before we began on the Friday evening, though many people came on the Friday after they had finished work. We had a social on this  Friday evening in a bar which was great, as it gave myself and others time to catch up with each other. Many had not seen each other since at least Ottawa and for some they reunited with people from previous summits. This was also a great opportunity for those who are coming to Bogotá for their first summit to meet fellow ambassadors before then.


The main event took place on Saturday the 1st, with the morning starting with a film screening of 'Borders and Promises'; a documentary film which follows three female artists from the Arab world as they meet for the first time in Barcelona. The film was incredibly moving, focusing on the self censorship that these women face with their creativity. It was a reality check for myself, it is very easy to forget how privileged our own lives are. The trailer for the film can be seen here, it will begin showing at various film festivals later in the year. The film was shown, then we were lucky enough to partake in a plenary session with the producers of the film, who answered questions posed by the chair of the talk as well as the audience. This was a fantastic chance to gain a deeper understanding of the film itself. We broke for lunch after this.

The afternoon sessions moved at a fast and focused pace, opening with a keynote from Caroline Casey which was engaging, humorous and poignant on Inclusion in the Workplace. Caroline has been partially sighted her entire life, with her visibility deteriorating each year, and chose to hide this from the age of 17 , when she was formally diagnosed, until she was 28 due to the fear of being discriminated against. After working for a large corporate in her twenties, Caroline left and began raising awareness of those with disabilities. She spoke at the Dublin summit in 2014 with a panel of disability activists, an incredible session that can be seen here. Caroline's talk set a very high standard for the rest of the day, joking that she was standing in for One Young World Co-Founder Kate Robertson. Personally, I could not have thought of a better way to start the day.

We next moved on to a plenary session on Refugee rights. The panel began with Gerald Canals as the keynote speaker who is head of missions at Proactiva Open Arms - an NGO which manages life saving missions in the Grecian and Central Mediterranean Seas helping refugees get their feet on solid ground. They have saved thousands of migrants so far. He was joined by One Young World Ambassadors Romy Wakil; a mental health counsellor based in London who works specifically in trauma and with increasing numbers of refuges and Diana Constantinidou, an International Human Rights Lawyer. The session was chaired by our own Charlie Oliver, managing ambassador for Europe. The videos from some of Proactiva's missions illustrated the huge scale of the problem, backed up by personal accounts shared by Romy and the legal positioning from Diana. The session can be watched in full from the Facebook Live stream here.

A short networking break followed this, then the Gender Equality session. The panel for this was a really exciting array of female superstars including Caroline Casey from the aforementioned keynote, head of diversity and talent at Telefonicá Lucia Gutiérrez, Viola Thomas who is an Emma Watson Scholar and Founder of 'A Woman in Power' and Jemima Lovatt from The Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence. The session was chaired by my fellow Coordinating Ambassador Carlota Calvo Cotado, who coordinates Spain. The session was powerful, addressing everyday issues head on. The most interesting point for me was the talk of 'Unconscious Bias' in who is invited for interview and eventually chosen for top jobs. It was discussed that nearly all of us have this 'Unconscious Bias' - you can test your own here. Out of all of those on the panel, I have worked closest with Jemima. We are both part of a working group that meets in the Head Offices of One Young World every few weeks on a new approach to tackling Domestic Violence. We are looking to launch this in Bogotá later this year, as a help to us it would be great if you could fill out this survey. 

This was only half of the day! To save an incredibly long winded post I am going to cover the day in two halves. To watch all of the sessions in full visit the One Young World Facebook page. It was really great to be able to catch up with fellow ambassadors who I know either personally from Ottawa or virtually through my time so far as coordinating ambassador for UK2. I always find it inspiring to see the projects that emerge through the partnerships at One Young World and what they are achieving. It is impossible to leave an event such as this feeling that anything is possible.

#LeadTheChange #ImpossibleToIgnore



The first of many reflections...

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Hello everyone!

It has been a truly manic month since the summit and the experiences I had there are still sinking in. Mohammed and I saw, heard and tried things we never thought we would. This is my blog post on what I have taken from the summit, and how this has changed my outlook on the world since coming home.

To start with, the Opening ceremony was astounding. It took place on Parliament hill, outside, with a 360 degree view on Ottawa's 'best bits' of architecture. In the space of a couple of hours we had seen Prof. Muhammad Yunis, Kofi Annan, Emma Watson, Meghan Markle and been addressed directly by Justin Trudeau. Trudeau introduced himself as Canada's Youth minister, and took the opportunity to introduce his new Youth Council. His approach to his introduction forced you to accept that he is serious about young people, young leaders and the need for change. We then had the flag ceremony, which really showed the volume of countries we had represented at the summit. This was followed by a light parade through the city which ended at the Shaw centre, where most of the sessions took place. We were all treated to some Poutine* and had our first opportunity to network.

*Basically; cheese, chips and gravy. Canada's national dish, would definitely recommend!

Then we launched into it. It has taken me a month to get around to writing this post because the dust has only just settled around all that I saw. We began at 8am on the Wednesday morning, and didn't stop until 10pm on the Saturday night. We covered mental health, equality, technology, clean water access, terrorism, peace, education, disability rights, LBGTQ+ rights, health, the environment and human displacement. This is to name a few. I have picked three experiences to talk about, I cannot even say they are highlights because every talk, plenary session and discussion was as powerful and impactful as the last.

I will start with Yolanda Joab, a new mother who came from Micronesia to speak on a delegate panel about the effect global warming and rising sea levels is having on her community. A community which sits just one metre above sea level. I  have put her address below, I really challenge you to not get goose bumps and feel fired up after watching this. The cheers which came up after this were huge, and it is magical to think that of the people in that room (from BMW, BP, Shell, Google, Facebook and Barclays to name a selection) really do have the chance within their networks to change global player's views on the importance of saving our planet.

Another experience I loved was my external breakout session. I chose to attend the 613 refugee talk, which was attended by around 50 other delegates. The session took place in a theatre underneath a church around 20 minutes outside the city centre. I learnt about how Canada are adapting and changing and welcoming those who need it most. They have a system in Canada where you can choose, as an individual, work place or group to sponsor a single or a family of refugees to come and live in your community. This is a huge responsibility for the people of Canada to take on but more and more people are doing it. I spoke to two separate couples who had had great outcomes from the scheme. As a sponsor you commit to funding for the first year of providing housing, healthcare, schooling and integration into the community. As a result, those who come feel thoroughly welcomed and part of the community.

The session closed with the sponsored refuges talking about their experience in coming into the country this way, and the gratitude radiated off them. The real difference I found with this scheme from others is that those moving to the country felt like active and valued members of the community. Each had a horror of a journey to make it to where they were and it was so touching to witness the real affection the sponsors and recipients had for each other. By putting the power to welcome into the hands of the people the Government has made it so much easier for those who need to access the country to be able to.

I will close with Emma Watson's session, because that is definitely the number one thing I have been asked about since coming home! In short; she was incredible. Not because she is Emma Watson, not because she has spoken at the UN (even though this is 100% noteworthy) but because of the way she used her platform. She used her position of incredible influence to allow those making change in their communities to have a voice. She is a delegate sponsor and chose a handful of representatives to join her on stage and share what they are doing. This is what I loved about her part, she sat down and ran a session on hugely topical issues such as domestic violence, LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality with young people who are on the frontline of fighting these issues everyday. Her introductory talk was powerful, graceful and (I have to use the word somewhere in her part!) magical. I have provided a link below to ELLE magazine's coverage of her talk, partly to show how great it was but also to show an example of the variety of coverage the summit gets around the world.

Since the summit, I have been up to the Google offices in London to reconnect with those I met in Canada and also individuals who have been to past summits. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this network and organisation now, and will do my best to make the most of the on-going opportunities I have. I would like to say a huge thank you to the University of Bath, Jenny Medland, Emily Richards, Bethany Derrick and all the rest of the supporting staff. Also a massive thank you to One Young World, for putting on such an amazing event.

I will keep updating the blog reflecting on different sessions, hopefully by next year's summit you'll know about the majority of them!

Thank you for reading,




Off we go...

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Good evening! (Or morning or afternoon? Being in three different time zones in the last 10 hours has thrown me a little!) Mohammed and I have now landed in Ottawa and wifi permitting this will be posting as we travel to Andaz, our hotel. We are looking to explore the city a little this evening, hopefully find some good local food ahead of getting a solid rest in anticipation of both the Social Business forum and the Opening Ceremony to be healed on Parliament hill tomorrow evening.

The journey over has given me a good amount of time to reflect on what I wish to accomplish most from the summit. Before leaving my house this morning I saw a clip on BBC news which really struck me. In the middle of bomb stricken Aleppo, a large bomb crater had flooded with liquid from a burst pipe. The water was mucky, with many bits of litter floating in it amongst debris from the ongoing conflict. However, what caught me was that there were a a few young boys playing in this pool. They were flipping into it, and swimming and playing in the exact same way children do in the sea everyday in my hometown. The children were full of joy and happiness, but the backdrop to the scene was devastation. It was heartbreaking to see that this joy they shared was so fragile in the place they know as home, as minutes away hospitals are overflowing with the wounded and bodies lie in the streets. It made me more determined than ever to start conversations with anybody I can over the next few days so I can gain a better grasp on the scale of the refugee crisis facing this world.

I hope to leave the summit not only with a better understanding of this crisis, but through this understanding an action plan. I am fascinated by the 613 refugee initiative in Canada as well as Trudeau’s empowering attitude towards finding solutions. I have been before preoccupied with the lack of Education available for these young children and adults, but this clip has shown me that before that can even begin to be addressed much more basic needs need to be met. Safety and security being a priority.

We have tweeted a link to our Snapchat on the Twitter page, throughwhich we will be posting live photo and video updates of Keynote speakers, One Young World events and hopefully our individual internal and external outbreak sessions.

More updates coming soon!


My chosen sessions for the Summit


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Hello again everyone,

Since my last post I have been given the opportunity to choose two sessions out of a huge variety on offer at the One Young World summit that interest me most. One is internal and the other external, and are run by people involved within the issues; whether that be through policy, charity or personal experience. I thought I would take this chance to explain to you what my choices are, and why I chose them. I hope by doing this it gives other students an opportunity to contact me with any ideas of thoughts they wish me to take forward to the sessions with me.

The first choice I made was to attend a session called 'Eliminating Domestic Violence through Education'. Within the session we will split into groups and talk about ways to install this teaching into educational settings, and what businesses and government can do to help.  I am a big advocate for using education as a way to tackle all kinds of world problems, whether that be physical or mental health, rights awareness or safety - so felt this sessions perfect for this personal belief. What really drew me in was the description of the session, stating that it was to help all young people, male and female, in their awareness of what domestic violence is and how to recognise it. I see much media awareness around women as victims of domestic violence, and I am not belittling their struggle, but young men also need a strong education on the matter. We are in need of  rising awareness of male mental health as recent figures show that male suicide rates are at their highest in the UK since 2001 (Davis C, The Guardian. 2015). If more young men are given a platform to speak about issues such as domestic violence against them, as well as other issues which are harmful to mental health and self worth, these figures may fall.

I hope to suggest this education as a platform to show how many have overcome such issues, and that there is a way forward for victims. A recent example I have seen of this is of Reshma Quereshi, a 19 year old girl from India who was a victim of an acid attack from her Brother in Law for 'defying' him. Since the attack which took place in 2014, Reshma has worked with charity Make Love not Scars (MLNS) and become the global face of the #EndAcidSale campaign which appealed directly to Indian government to stop the open sale of acid in the country. There are estimated to be over 1,000 victims of acid attacks in India each year, many of these with domestic origins. However, Reshma's latest platform is that she will be walking the New York Fashion Week runway in September which will bring global awareness to the reality of the acid attacks which are taking place everyday. An idea I have for the session is to suggest building a network of survivors who can go into schools and colleges and speak about the realities of domestic violence, and can show a real life example of overcoming and escaping their situations. I have provided a link from the New York Times 'Women in the World' section here so you can read Reshma's story and see a video of the moment she was told she would be walking the catwalk...

My second sessions is called 'Connect in intimate conversations with refugees, activists, private sponsors, settlement workers and other members of the Refugee 613 coalition', this is so I can gain a better understanding of the refugee crisis from those who are most affected by it. There will be a number of speakers at the events who I will be able to interact with in conversations about all aspects of refugee life, including healthcare, education and settlements. I hope to see how different bodies feel about these issues, as there will be humanitarian workers, government officials as well as academics attending the session. Refugee 613 is a Canadian initiative based in Ottawa which allows residents to help bring refugees over to the country, or to sponsor them and even to help volunteer help. I wish to see how this charity are working with the Canadian Government and how much of a change it has brought about. It provides a fantastic platform for those who wish to help but are unaware of how they can do so to find exactly which role would suit them best.

I hope to speak to those present on how Education occurs in refugee camps, and if formal education is happening hat can be done to help strengthen it for the sake of the young people who will have no future otherwise. If any readers have any particular issues they would like to be brought up at the meeting then please let me know.

I hope this has given you readers a better feel for not only what the summit has to offer but also what issues I am most passionate about. Mohammed will shortly be doing a follow up post on which sessions he is attending, as we have both chosen differently so we can attend sessions on what interests us most.

Thank you for reading, to finsih I thought I would show you this video I found online the other day made by The Global Goals as I think it is a really fantastic piece of work that highlights key issues facing young girls worldwide, so I will leave you with this...#WhatIReallyReallyWant




Teachfirst Impact Conference 2016


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Hello, It is delegate number two Emma Powell writing today. I thought I would give an update on what I have been up to over the summer. A couple of weeks ago I attended the Impact Conference put on by Teachfirst in Leeds, where I attended sessions on everything from parental engagement with children's education to commonly misunderstood myths about teaching. However, the highlight for me was the introductory speech from Dr. Sakeena Yacoobi. She spoke on starting up schools in the midst of Taliban control within Afghanistan, and her never wavering belief that Education is vital for every child.

I heard Dr. Yacoobi speak about not only education but how important it is to stand up for what you believe in even when the odds are against you. Since starting up her first school in a basement, Dr Yacoobi is the CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning  (AIL) after founding it in 1995 in response to the lack of education and skills among the young people of the country after years of war and difficulty. Since founding her schools and the AIL Dr Yacoobi has directly or indirectly affected the lives of more than 12 million Afghan people. She has also been nominated for a Nobel peace prize.

I felt incredibly lucky to be able to hear her words, even to be in the same room as someone who has fought so relentlessly for what they believe in. I am even more lucky to be able to expand my understanding of globally impacting people by hearing them speak at the One Young World summit.

She was just one among many amazing speakers who came to Leeds for the two day conference, I learnt so much which I hope to benefit from both at the summit and in my future prospective career in teaching. The words Dr. Sakeena finished on were the same ones I will leave you with; 'Education is the key issue for peace'. Once we achieve global education, many other goods will shortly follow.

Until next time!

Emma 🙂



Hello from Delegate number Two!


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Hello everyone!

As you learnt from Mohammed’s earlier post we are the two Delegates from Bath attending the One Young World summit at the end of the Summer. The opportunity is one I never would have expected to have and I am incredibly grateful to The University of Bath for making it a possibility. I cannot wait to travel over with Mohammed and fully immerse myself in every aspect of the event.

To introduce myself, I have just finished my second year at Bath where I am studying Education with Psychology. The degree allows me to study a broad range of issues facing children and young people from all around the world, from Education to child labour. Studying these areas has made me realise how many challenges are faced everyday by children worldwide and I look forward to engaging with other delegates and discussing these issues.

I am originally from Weymouth, a small seaside town in the south of England which is where I am spending my summer. I work in a small but well known fish restaurant here called the Crab House Café which I really enjoy, and from which I am learning more and more about fish every day. I really love living by the seaside and miss it hugely when I am in Bath, when I am home I try and spend as much time as possible on the beach.

Weymouth pleasure beach

A few days after returning from the Summit in October I will be starting a new job at The University of Oxford which I will be at for the duration of my work placement year as part of my degree. I will be working as part of two research teams looking into education provision within the UK, and how the home and the school can work in unison to develop a child’s being. I hope this year of experience in a real life research situation will equip me with the skills for a possible career in Educational research.

I hope by attending this summit I will be able to speak to like-minded people who feel this same passion about equal opportunities for all children. My main focus for the past year has been the astounding numbers of child refugees who struggle to have access to a stable home, let alone a consistent education.  I hope to see more being done to tackle this issue as soon as possible, otherwise whole generations may be lost.

Unlike Mohammad I do not have my own blog or channel, but I will be keeping all of you as up to date as possible on my journey too and time at the summit! A huge thank you again to Bath for this amazing opportunity, I am really excited about what the next year has in store for me.

Speak to you all soon!