At the recent One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Canada, I caught up with mental health advocate, poet and soon to be the first British Muslim in space, Hussain Manawer. Watch this insightful interview below, and make sure to check out his performance 'Mother Tongue' also!
Posts By: Mohammad Lone
Today was the final day of the One Young World 2016 Summit in Ottawa, Canada. Sitting in bed in a hotel room at 11:48am, I'm still trying to comprehend the scale of the impact of these 4 days on me, and my direction in the future, so I won't go too deep into the details of what happened exactly (accounts and reflections from the summit will be coming from next week!).
But, fresh from the stunning closing ceremony, during which we reflected upon these 4 packed days, and passed the OYW baton to Bogota, Colombia, where next year's summit will be, I can say this: attending this summit changed my life.
And I know what you might be thinking- and I thought exactly the same when I heard others saying it. 'That's just a cliché'. 'He's getting all emotional'. 'No one's life can change in just four days'.
But honestly, these days have been incredible. I came out with so many of my views of the world challenged, and my perspectives on some major issues shifted. You'll find out why later this week, but for now, Emma and I would like to send our sincere thanks to the University of Bath, the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Emily Richards, Jenny Medland, Bethany Derrick and Professor Ian Butler, just to name a few. Also, outside the university, we are grateful to the One Young World team, especially founders David & Kate, and Michael McLennan. All your help throughout the process, and the actual offering of this opportunity, is greatly appreciated.
Emma and I both noted something interesting here in Ottawa. We didn't manage to find any other university students from the UK or the USA during our days in the summit, despite searching actively.
Our (largely older) fellow delegates were very accomplished. Many were social entrepreneurs, or creators of NGOs, or employees from established companies like Coca Cola and Facebook. But upon hearing we were sponsored by our university, all pretty much had the same response: 'I wish I had that opportunity when I was your age'. We thought this was something that spoke volumes about the role that our University of Bath wants to play in the future, investing in us to go out into society and maximise our positive impact. More than ever perhaps, we felt immensely proud and honoured these past few days to represent the University at such a prestigious summit.
I would personally like to also show my immense gratitude to my family, who supported and encouraged me to take the step to put myself forward for this process.
We are excited to present to you what the Summit was like- but even more, we cannot wait to start trying to make positive impact and bring some of One Young World back to Bath!
If you'd like to see some initial photos from the summit, check out our Twitter: @oywbath
On Monday, Emma and I went to a reception in Canada House, London, organised by the One Young World team. I was excited to meet the massive variety of delegates coming to Ottawa at this event, and it certainly didn't disappoint!
The first thing to note as I emerged from Charing Cross station is that Canada House, the High Commission of Canada in the UK, is in an awesome location, overlooking Trafalgar Square. Despite the fact that the building is almost draped in Canada flags, I never knew the nature of the building having seen it so many times before.
Interestingly, our opportunity to meet awesome people started before we actually entered the building. Waiting in the queue outside to enter, we met and had a chat with PJ Mandewa Cole, a returning One Young World Ambassador who spoke last year as a delegate about his work with his organisation Lifeline, which provides support to former child soldiers. Just chatting to PJ, seeing the visible excitement in him to go to Ottawa, and learning about the massive impact his work has had, was a great experience that reminded me of the rewards of saying hi to new people- even if it's just in a queue!
Canada House was as you'd perhaps expect- as grand and majestic inside as it is from the outside. We entered a large hall where there around 60 delegates from the UK had gathered. It was a great experience to meet and hear the backgrounds of others who were in the same first-time OYW position as us, as well as those who had attended previously and had a little more experience. I got the opportunity to speak to people working for organisations as varied as the Civil Service, BP, and a range of social enterprise organisations. There was also some very tasty finger food on offer!
We heard from Kate Robertson, co-founder of One Young World, as well as the newly-appointed Canadian High Commissioner to the UK, Janice Charette. Something emphasised in these talks was that this summit really is a high level, influential event. "OYW is not a youth summit." stated Kate, in a rather firm manner. "It's about leadership.".
This reception lasted only 2 hours, but leaving the doors of Canada House, I felt like I'd benefited from a whole day of meeting new people, learning and being inspired. What really hit home with me, however, was the following line from Kate:
"Of those to whom much is given, much is expected of you."
OYW Ottawa is just a week away, and I'm excited to make the most of this incredible opportunity I've been given.
Last week, I posted about my choice of internal breakout at this year's One Young World Conference in Ottawa. One other choice was to be made, however, and that is what I'll be discussing briefly in this post today!
I'd chosen my internal breakout, now was the time to choose my external breakout- which, as the name suggests, will be held somewhere outside of the Shaw Convention Centre. The choices again were incredibly wide-ranging, encompassing things from a Fashion Crawl of Ottawa (those who know me personally will know I could well do with some advice on this), an insight into Canada's legal system at the Supreme Court, to a 'Canadian Indigenous Experience'.
It was incredibly difficult to select a single session to attend, so to make it easier for myself I first clarified what exactly it was that I wanted from the experience. This wasn't too hard to decide, fortunately- I wanted an opportunity to i) meet and connect with new, interesting people, ii) have fun, and iii) gain key skills that I could make use of back home.
These things considered, I chose to attend a session catchily titled 'The Five Step Game-Changer- Keys to leadership in the global economy and your own community'. It's run by Global Vision- a Canadian charity which mentors and guides young Canadians to develop as leaders, not just on the national but on the global stage. These guys have led Canadian youth delegations to G8, G20 and APEC summits- so I am pretty excited to learn a thing or two from them!
This session is going to cover the essence of what Global Vision preaches to its programme participants- that is, the 'Five Step Game-Changer'. Created by founder of Global Vision, ex-Canadian politician Terry Clifford, these 5 steps are said to offer the key to 'success in work and life'. They are as follows:
- The Power of Me- DIY
- Feed Your Curiosity- Explore Beyond Your Backdoor
- Relationships Trump All- Make Relationships Matter
- The Power of We- Collaborate to Lead
- Show and Tell… Then Deliver the Goods (A Promise Made is a Promise Kept)
I'm excited to learn more about these steps and put them to use in bringing One Young World to the Bath!
As Emma told us in her last fascinating post, the past few weeks for us have included a lot of mulling over the many many external and internal breakout sessions on offer at the One Young World Conference (which is excitingly less than a month away!). The variety and depth of sessions on offer mean that choosing just two was a difficult task- resulting in my choice being made dangerously close to the deadline that had been set.
The internal breakout sessions offered included a session on 'Using Sport for Good' led by the Laureus Foundation, a Corporate Social Responsibility workshop run by Johnson & Johnson and a talk on 'Measuring Social Impact' by PwC, all topics that were incredibly tempting for me. However, I finally chose to attend a series of talks and discussions on 'Modern-Day Slavery & Supply Chains in the Global Economy'.
This topic is so fascinating because, though many of us don't appreciate it, slavery does still exist in multiple forms in today's society, and it affects pretty much each and every one of us. An estimated 46 million men, women and children are exploited daily. And it's not just for things like sex trafficking, which seems a little more detached to most of us here in the UK. But some of the biggest profiteers of modern day slave labour are today's corporations. I don't like to think about it, but I have little doubt that sometime today I will use a tech device, or wear a piece of clothing, to which slave labour has contributed.
But there are so many challenges in trying to resolve this issue.
Would you stop using your smartphone if you knew it was a product of exploited labour?
Maybe, but I imagine most people (myself, I admit with guilt, included) would choose to ignore the fact. Because these things have become such an integral part of our lives, and many of us couldn't imagine living without them. Slave-made goods have proliferated to the extent that it might be considered unreasonable to expect a mass boycott of them.
Would a company stop producing their products in factories that make use of exploited labour?
Again, maybe. But for so many, the bottom line is what matters most. A labour force which is granted employment rights and benefits costs money- and, despite the longer term productivity gains that greater investment in a labour force can bring, companies choose to take the option that will bring them greater short-term profits.
So, slavery has not been eradicated from our world- it has simply taken another form. And, gone unnoticed by most of us, it has grown deep roots in today's economy and supply chains. I'm very excited to hear what speakers such as Benjamin Skinner, (a modern day slavery expert who has actually gone undercover into trafficking networks) and Sneha Shah, MD at Thomson Reuters Africa, have to say on the issue.
See this great interview below with Benjamin Skinner to get a deeper insight into this issue!
Spending a minute or two looking out on the bustling scene of Piccadilly Circus from a nearby rooftop, there are so many observations you can make about the state of much of today's world.
The first thing that catches your eye is the massive array of advertising boards. Then, you've got the plethora of stores underneath them. Both of these highlight just the importance of the roles of advertising, products and consumption in our modern society.
Then, look on a level down from that, and you see the traffic. The buses, the limousines, and the cyclists sandwiched in between- you see people are busy, people are going places. In doing so, many people are actually causing damage- releasing all sorts of pollution, and, over time, in aggregate causing substantial damage to their city and their planet. And they may never see the results of this damage- but their children and grandchildren most likely will.
Take an even closer look, and observe the people who are in these vehicles, and the people being sucked into these stores. You see people from all corners of the world. Whether they are tourists or migrants, you realise the sheer diversity of today's metropolis. The world is perhaps as small as it has ever been.
It's just one scene, but the world today is such that there are a million different observations that can be made about it.
How to do business, how to care for the environment, they are two topics which I am incredibly excited to hear about and discuss at this year's One Young World conference. But what I look forward to perhaps even more is the collection of people I'm about to meet- people from all nationalities, with different backgrounds and different reasons to be there. Because just like the photo above, OYW is a place to learn massive lessons about the state of today's world.
Hello, my name is Mohammad Lone, and I have the honour of being one of the two delegates at the 2016 One Young World conference in Ottawa, Canada, representing the University of Bath. This year the conference will be held between the 28th of September and the 1st of October, so it's just a couple of months away, and we are both incredibly excited!
So, a little about myself...
I am a first year Economics student, born in India but raised in Taunton, a town not too far away from Bath. I like sports (however as a Chelsea fan, the past year has not been great for me), I like embarking on long late night walks, and generally I love to meet new people and learn from them. That's one of the main reasons why, despite being initially daunted, I have enjoyed university so much, and I am keen to make use of what I've learnt and develop further at this year's OYW conference.
More academically speaking, my interests lie in tackling social and economic inequality, the environment, and development economics. These are all covered extensively in my view by on one hand government policy, and on the other corporate behaviour- two areas I read a lot about and am looking forward to discussing and learning more about at the conference with other delegates.
What excites me most about OYW are the people. People like Muhammad Yunus (the Nobel prize winning founder of Grameen Bank), Arianna Huffington and Akala have long served as huge inspirations for me, and the opportunity to hear from such people in person is one that I cannot wait for. But it's not just these people that excite me- it's the other delegates who will be attending. Few (I think in the UK, zero) other universities offer such an opportunity to students, so Emma and I will probably be the among the youngest attendees. Other delegates will be from all kinds of places, such as private companies, charities, NGOs, and so on.
I was fortunate enough to get to know Ludi Wang (one of the 2015 delegates) over the past year, and the discussions we've had just walking around campus have had a profound impact on how I see key issues like the environment. I can't imagine what it'll be like to learn and be inspired by hundreds of people like her, from all around the world!
I run a website and YouTube channel, called poponomics. The aim of poponomics is to help people learn things (primarily economics related, but also politics, business, etc) that are often presented as overly complex matters by a lot of the media, without the prerequisite of a degree to understand what the heck I'm talking about. As well as this blog, which Emma will also be contributing to, I will be making use of poponomics to document the conference- both in day by day blogs and vlogs that will be posted on the YouTube channel.
So thanks for reading this introductory blog post, a massive thank you to the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences for giving us this opportunity, and I look forward to taking you along on this journey!