From ideals to actions at the international One Young World summit
Thinking up solutions for global issues such as environmental pollution and poverty. This is what young people from all over the world will be doing at the One Young World summit from 17 to 20 October in The Hague. Follow Leiden students Jennifer Pfister and Thomas Gevers who will be reporting on their experiences.
Two thousand young people from all corners of the world - representing almost 200 nationalities - will spend four days debating and devising innovative solutions. The idea behind the event: the young people of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and they can't start early enough jointly devising sustainable solutions to pressing issues. Thomas Gevers and Jennifer Pfister were chosen to represent Leiden University at the conference. With their essays and video pitch they convinced the jury that they were the most suitable candidates. Why do they want to go to the conference and what aim do they have in mind?
Thomas Gevers, bachelor's student of International Studies
‘This conference is a great opportunity to turn theoretical ideals into concrete projects. By networking, we can look at whether we can strengthen new or existing projects in the area of sustainable development goals. Besides young people, many companies and NGOs are also involved in the summit. One area where I want to do more is peace and justice on social media. I'm currently doing a study as a volunteer for an NGO in the Middle East on Facebook and activism. In some countries, the only way activists can spread their message is via social media, but at the same time they are attacked by their opponents through that same medium. In countries such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka or Libya, appeals on social media can have violent consequences. This undermines peaceful activism and democratic processes. I want to hear about the experiences of participants from these countries. Ideally we will find a way to improve online accountablity without infringing personal privacy.'
Jennifer Pfister, bachelor's student Leiden University College The Hague (track Governance, Economics and Development)
‘I think it's fantastic that I now have access to the broad One Young World network: two thousand committed change makers across the world with whom I can work in the future. These are young people who can bring about positive changes in their communities and who are dedicated to achieving sustainable development goals. The participants come from different backgrounds: they work for NGOs, in the private sector or, like me, are still studying. I am honoured to represent Leiden University. During and after the conference I want to share new inspiration and visions via our social media channels. I believe in the effect of inspiring examples. The subjects that most inspire me are poverty prevention by means of high-quality education and the empowerment of women. I have been involved in educational projects for vulnerable groups in Mexico, Kenya and Germany, and last summer I taught English in Lebanon to Syrian children who were unable to attend school. Together with students from Leiden University College, I am committed to the Women in Innovation and Leadership Association. Organising interesting lectures is one of the ways we try to build a bridge between students and professionals. After graduating, I want to work in international development, but I don't know yet what kind of job that would be. The conference will help me discover what direction I want to take.'
Banner photo: Vice-Rector Hester Bijl with Thomas Gevers and Jennifer Pfister
Do you want to follow the happenings at the summit from a different perspective? If so, you can view the alternative programme. Tickets for One Young World are no longer available, but students who are interested can follow the speeches by the keynote speakers on 18 and 19 October via livestream on the Spanish steps in the Wijnhaven building in The Hague. All the plenary sessions can also be followed live via Facebook live. If you are interested in joining the discussion and following more of the themes of One Young World, you can go to the Global Human Rights Teach-out on the Coursera platform (organised by the Leiden University Center for Innovation).