THE ONE YOUNG WORLD SUMMIT: WHAT ARE THE LESSONS I LEARNT?

If there is any incredible, lifechanging and inspiring summit I have attended, then it is the ONE YOUNG WORLD (OYW) SUMMIT 2022. The Summit is the landmark event of the year. It is a chance for the individuals like you and me, responsible for shaping the future of our world, to come together to confront the biggest challenges facing humanity; be it health crisis such as COVID-19, climate change or food insecurity. The Summit is the ultimate place to be inspired, share learnings, and connect. Together we raise the bar for what it is possible to achieve as leaders, individually and collectively. 

The OYW 2022 in Manchester UK was remarkable. The event brought together incredible speakers and delegates. Honestly, I can’t hide my joy being part of this awesome delegation, thanks to AstraZeneca for the sponsorship.

During the opening ceremony of the OYW 2022 Summit at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester UK

If you didn’t get the opportunity to attend the event, don’t you worry. I got you covered. I have gathered some of the lesson I learnt in the write up below and I hope it leaves you truly inspired and fired.

Lesson 1: Get out of the Boardrooms

Hey, maybe you should take this literally. The OYW22 summit inspired me to get busy in the field, be at the battlefront and lead whenever leadership demands. Folks, the annual One Young World Summit inspires and celebrates changemakers. It celebrates those who are intentional and “fired” to create longstanding change. It’s not just a ‘talking shop’- the focus is on concrete action and individuals rolling up the sleeves and “getting their hands dirty.”

Lesson 2: It’s only the living that can change the world

I remember during the summit when a speaker said, “Those in their sickbeds have only one wish. That they be well again.” This got my head spinning, literally. Upon deep reflection, in an attempting to comprehend the message he was passing, I realized that he was actually reminding me that it is only the living that can change the world, and not those who are sick or are dead. This is where I remind you of that favorite bible quote. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” It takes me and you who is healthy and living to change the world. So let us be the agents of change; the change we desire.

Lesson 3: Don’t be part of the Problem: Instead, be part of the solution

I must confess that although it was incredibly hard to listen to the stories of people who have experienced injustices and adversity, it is those same testimonials that actually bridge the gap between hearing another “sad story” and actually being inspired to take action. One Young World taught me that whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions, pointing out obstacles and playing a victim every time.” By doing so, you are just another problem. The energy should instead be channeled into useful, positive and impactful actions.

Lesson 4: It is a world of technology

Technology affects almost every aspect of 21st century life, from transport efficiency and safety to access to food and healthcare, socialization and productivity. The power of the internet has enabled global communities to emerge, and ideas and resources to be shared more easily. It was fascinating, even mindboggling, the massive technology deployed at the OYW2022 and the revelation of the possibilities brought by it. With the advent of the 4th industrial revolution marked by systems that mimic human intelligence (Artificial Intelligence), Big Data and Block Chain, it is possible to create longstanding change in every facet of life. The OYW2022 for sure, was seamless, leaving an incredible memory of what we can achieve if we harness the power of technology in whatever we do.

Lesson 5: Partnerships! Partnerships!

I firmly believe that nothing great was ever achieved by one person; singlehandedly. Now, more than ever, it is required of us to coalesce our ideas and jointly execute them. Achieving our individual targets and goals requires a revitalized and enhanced partnership. The OYW2022 was an embodiment of strong multi-disciplinary partnerships and collaborations. The networking sessions during the summit made it possible to meet and connect with like minded people with whom I can partner with in projects and programs.

Networking session with AstraZeneca Staff

Lesson 6: Never Say Never

I have been applying for One Young World Fellowship since 2017 and all this while I have been getting the “ we regret to inform you email.” In 2020, I came close to getting the scholarship to attend the OYW summit but again missed it by a whisker in the last stage of application. But I didn’t give up. As an ardent admirer of the OYW summit, I promised to try it out until I make it. In 2021 when applications opened, I gave it a shot and voila, I got selected. To folks who have been applying without success, do not give up. Never say never. Keep trying, I am certain you will get the chance to attend this life changing summit.

Lesson 7: Be grateful

Being in the “short list” of people who were awarded a scholarship to attend the OYW2022 summit in Manchester humbles me every minute. Only 36 delegates worldwide were sponsored through the Young Health Programme by AstraZeneca.  I honestly feel that I am not better than those who missed this opportunity. This does not, in any way imply that I feel I inadequate and undeserving. If anything, I am proud of myself and and my “go getter” personality. However, the fact that I was given this opportunity when tens of thousand of people missed it just humbles and makes me forever grateful. Thank you AstraZeneca!

Published by Oduor Kevin

ODUOR KEVIN is a Public Health Specialist with considerable experience in the health care industry. He has worked in various organizations, leading projects and programs aimed at improving the health outcomes of people living with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and the general population. Oduor Kevin is currently the Chief Programs Officer at Stowelink Inc, a youth-led organization with a single most focus on addressing the burden of NCDs. Oduor’s experience in project management is attributed to his work at Population Services Kenya (PSK) where he served as a member of the National Coordinating Committee for Kitu Ni Kukachora project. Further, in 2019, Oduor Kevin was appointed as Kenyatta University Campus Director by Millenium Campus Network (MCN) to supervise and lead Millennium Fellows in their Social Impact projects. During this assignment, he successfully supervised the fellows and delivered them for graduation under the banner of Millennium Fellowship.

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