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KOFI ANNAN BRINGS INSPIRATIONAL 2012 ONE YOUNG WORLD SUMMIT TO SUCCESSFUL CLOSE

KOFI ANNAN BRINGS INSPIRATIONAL  2012 ONE YOUNG WORLD SUMMIT TO SUCCESSFUL CLOSE
On Sunday, the One Young World Summit ended much as it began – with fanfare,  inspiring dialogue about critical global issues and a much-repeated call to action for tomorrow’s leaders to “create the future.”
Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, addressed the 1,300 One Young World delegates, which he called “almost another United Nations,” except with stronger voices and younger.
Annan encouraged the delegates from more than 180 countries to become good global citizens. He emphasized that no one needs to begin by tackling big issues. Rather, they can begin small, in their own communities, and recounted his own start as a teenager organizing a hunger strike. Annan went on to share experiences during his time at the center of the world stage, including conflicts in Somalia, Rwanda, Iraq and, most recently, Syria.
Annan faced hard-hitting questions from delegates, including why the United Nations does not actively try to stop the Syrian conflict. The question came from a Turkish delegate who lives in a small town recently bombed.
“I’m convinced that there is no military solution,” Annan said of the Syrian conflict. “What is required is a political settlement. We need to assure the fighting groups that there is an alternative.”
During a session on global business, One Young World delegates were motivated by Counsellors Doug Richard (founder, School for Startups); Glenn Manoff (director, social business and sustainability, Telefonica); Michael Hastings (global head of citizenship, KPMG); and Carole Stone (managing director, YouGovStone). The session addressed the need for global businesses to become more socially responsible, as well as to help reduce growing youth unemployment rates worldwide. 

Australian delegate Benjamin Dunphy discussed the important role that today’s young people can play in starting their own platforms for change. Dunphy founded The Information Door, a centralized database of funding and scholarship opportunities accessible to students worldwide. 

South African delegate Jon Ratcliffe urged One Young World delegates to take action in helping to open more doors for youth, particularly in countries where unemployment rates are high and access to online resources is limited. “This group here today – the most inspired, brilliant people I ever have been involved with – I think that together we can do everything we set our minds to,” he said. 
There was also an inspiring discussion about the importance of involving young leaders in government. Counsellors for the leadership and government session included Michael Hastings; Oscar Morales (founder, One Million Voices Against FARC); Kal Penn (actor and former associate director for the White House office); Carole Stone; Bill Strickland (CEO, Manchester Bidwell Corporation); and Álvaro Uribe (former President of Colombia). 

Morales urged the young leaders to act with compassion, saying, “A compassionate leader is always a compassionate person and a compassionate person wouldn’t allow all the injustices that happen in countries.” 

Delegate speakers shared personal experiences about leadership, detailing their own activism to support issues they care about, such as political activism, clean water and women’s health. Delegate Speaker Angela Jhanji from the United Kingdom said, “All world leaders inherit a moment in history. The one we’ve inherited leaves no time for debate, just action.” 
A sustainable development session highlighted pressing global climate concerns with Counsellors Hans Reitz (founder and managing director, Grameen Creative Lab); Carole Stone; and Oscar Morales. 

Delegates called for a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies. “We have to make difficult choices to have a livable planet?” asked Yannick Kala Konga of the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I refuse to believe that. With a bit of will, sustainable development is possible.”
Other Day 3 highlights included:
·         In a video address, British Prime Minister David Cameron challenged the next generation of leaders to be ready to address tough questions and continue to use their ideas to offer solutions. The wide-ranging discussion with Cameron and One Young World Ambassadors ranged from tuition costs, unemployment and lack of confidence in government leaders. “We must use the talent, brains and commitment of our young people to solve these problems,” said Cameron.
·        Former Columbia President Álvaro Uribe elevated the vital role that today’s youth can play in helping to eliminate violence and corruption. Uribe is known for his successful efforts against the FARC – a revolutionary guerilla organization associated with continuing armed conflict and kidnapping in Colombia. The main driving force in eliminating corruption, he said, “is the fight of youngsters to demand from government open ways for participation.”
·         Counsellor Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post – via video message –encouraged delegates to send her a message and share their experiences through blogs on her website. “With your youth, your passion and your creativity, you have the potential to bring about the changes that the world so desperately needs,” she said. 
·         Former Olympic marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima inspired One Young World delegates to persist even when obstacles stand in the way. At the 2004 Summer Olympics, de Lima was on his way to becoming the first Brazilian to win an Olympic gold medal in the marathon when he was attacked by a spectator. The attack pulled de Lima from the lead, which led to a third-place finish. “In my defeat, I have actually learned much more than I have from my victories,” he said. “In this way I have learned to direct my life, always seeking the positive in it.” Today, he is dedicated to helping other young children reach their dreams and goals. 
·         NASA astronaut Ronald J. Garan – @Astro_Ron – shared his experiences of his six-month stay on the International Space Station, and said that the solution to world problems lies within global collaboration and open, transparent communication. He urged delegates to work with others to make change happen. Said Garan: “Every great achievement starts with a great idea, but an idea without action is empty. With any achievement comes a great deal of hard work and education – so just do it.” 
During the closing ceremonies of the One Young World Summit, delegates tied ribbons symbolic of their collective unity and hopes for the future and passed them onto the stage. Allegheny County Executive Richard Fitzgerald handed the One Young World baton to Chris Vondo, member of the Mayoral Committee of Johannesburg, site of the fourth annual One Young World Summit in 2013. 
 
“Johannesburg is committed to the youth, a city that is full of possibility and a city that is ready to host the One Young World summit in October 2013,” said Vondo.
More information about the Summit is available at www.OneYoungWorldPittsburgh.com and www.OneYoungWorld.com. 


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