One Young World: Diversity at its Best!

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I would like to thank the University of Bath for giving me this privilege to attend the One Young World Summit in Dublin this year. As I was given the opportunity to meet present day global change makers such as Kofi Annan, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, first female President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Wikipedia founder - Jimmy Wales, NASA astronaut - Ron Garan, and many more.



From the moment I reached Dublin airport to attend the One Young World Summit, the second largest gathering of nations on Earth with over 1400 delegates from every country in the world, I felt a warm welcome from the 'One Young World' banners displayed in the airport and all across the streets.

It was such a great experience to see like-minded people determined to make a difference in the world. Not just students, but employees of leading corporate firms, NGOs, young politicians, all under one roof being inspired by each other and by the world leaders who acted as our councillors.

As the flag bearer of Sri Lanka, it was fascinating moment to step on to the stage and walk with pride along with the countries. It felt like it was the whole world under one roof collaborating and cooperating in harmony. A question struck me: why can't we all live in peace like this?

I was highly motivated and empowered by engaging and listening to the stories of two girls from Cuba and North Korea and the struggle they faced to escape their own countries in search of democracy. It was interesting how at the same time, I met an employee of Coco Cola stating how they have conquered, and operate in, every country in the world except Cuba and North Korea.
I was also blown away by meeting such successful young entrepreneurs with great achievements who did not pursue further education, proving that anything is possible and that you do not need to go through the traditional route to make a difference in the world and be successful.

Below are some quotes from inspiring people I met:

'I wish the gun was a pen and the bullet was a pencil', Delegate from the DRC at the Peace and Conflict session.

'Diversity is a pre-condition for companies'. This was said by the most successful entrepreneurs’ session.

'Think of you as a job creator, not as a job seeker. Having job is old fashion, create things that solve problems and become job creators'. Professor Yunus.

'Don't accept the way the world is, you change it '. Professor Yunus.

I was involved with the Q&A sessions where I was privileged enough to raise a question to the Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus about the challenges and the critics of microfinance. I was also fortunate to interact with the Founder of Wikipedia and asked him a question on what they are doing to improve the validity and reliability of their content. During the Internal breakout session, I had the opportunity to present to the audience the case study which we discussed as a group on increasing the Mushroom farming. I presented ours ideas on the marketing strategies, distribution and finance. As part of the external breakout session, we were taken to the Google Head office in Dublin, where there was a talk about what technology can do for the problems facing global society.

I was simply blown away by all of the talent, courage, and drive I saw in Dublin! So happy to have met and connected with so many amazing people. OYW has indeed transformed me to be more socially responsible and demand change NOW NOT TOMORROW!

I am now a proud One Young World Ambassador.

Nipuni Perera


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