One Young World continuously identifies, connects, and promotes the world’s most impactful young leaders. It aims to create and maintain an action- environment for the youth- such an approach in the center embraces the idea that young people must be acknowledged for their capacity to drive impactful developments within their communities. To that end, young people deserve to sit around decision-making tables, contribute to national and global progress, create a lasting impact and have their voices be heard.
Founded in 2009, OYW gathers together the brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections and create positive change. Safoora Biglari, Director of Community at One Young World in this interview with Youth Time shares the immense impact of this global nonprofit organization. She elaborates on how OYW maintains engagements with key stakeholders and its huge community.
Since 2010, approximately 12,000 leaders, referred to as Ambassadors, from more than 190 countries and more than 26 million people have been impacted by OYW Ambassador-led initiatives. Giving a real-life impact to these impressive statistics, Biglari elaborates what these figures mean for the positive changes that this organization is making in prospering youth’s opportunities for growth.
Read on to learn more about the work of the organization which, among many other things, managed to have prominent names defining their scenes, such as; Kofi Annan, Meghan Markle, Emma Watson, Jane Goodall, Justin Trudeau, and more.
In the beginning of the discussion with Youth Time contributor, Biglari explains how they manage to reach this huge audience with their activities.
“We have a community team who are responsible like any alumni body to look after the network that we serve, so we build relationships with these ambassadors throughout the year, we track their work and we have a very important global team of volunteers who we call managing and coordinating ambassadors who help us as the linchpin between us and the local community in which they serve and our community around the world.”
Seeing through the success of OYW Summit
OYW organizes the annual One Young World Summit which convenes the brightest young talent from every country and sector, working to accelerate social impact. In this part, Biglari shares with us its importance in connecting the youth worldwide.
“We have over two hundred private sector companies who come alongside with young leaders from every country of the world, as well as governmental institutions, NGOs, universities and other educational bodies.”
“There is no other place where for four days there is this confluence of global issues, of action-oriented activities, sessions, social activities that are all about creating this movement and also this network that acts very much like a world family.”
This connection motivates young leaders to co-create solutions together.
Working with most informed, connected and educated generation
What changes OYW have witnessed in youth leadership since the founding in 2009 and today’s youth fulfilling all its capacities?
“The greatest change in youth leadership, since the founding of One Young World is the respect that is given to young leaders. One Young World was born out of the need to provide a platform that recognizes their leadership and achievements. Mainly, what we have seen and what we have massively contributed to is a perception of capacity and ability when it comes to young people today.”
She continues “They are the most informed, connected and educated generation in human history, so it comes with great responsibility, of course, to ensure that we are creating the avenues where they can continue to create that change, spaces in which they are recognized for their work, but also that the door is not closed to them due to their age. “
Moreover, she adds that “we are witnessing a time when a lot of different organizations are putting the youth in front of their agendas.”
Biglari further reminds our readers that OYW exists to promote and connect young leaders and so their eal focus as a team is on how they continue to support and connect these young leaders that are doing work across every issue area in every part of the world.
“We invest a lot of time in sparking regional collaboration, so we work on our community-based in all parts of the world through these managing and coordinating ambassadors. To keep the momentum alive, we organize events, workshops, engagements, both in-person and online now during the pandemic. We almost work like an agency for the world’s young talents, and we also create opportunities for them- to plug them into things.”
As an example, she shares their COVID-19 young leaders’ fund which was established for the young leaders on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, providing them with grants to enhance, scale and accelerate the impact that they are making.
Adapting to the changing world of technology
OYW successfully operates in a constantly changing world of technology. But, how do they manage to bring together people from different cultures and countries in this era of technology.
“We first want to ensure that every aspect of the participation in our summit is as smooth as possible for people of all abilities and countries to actually engage with our scholarship opportunities and how they register and send us their information. We are constantly trying to find ways of using technology to enhance accessibility requirements of the summit to make sure people of all abilities have the possibility to participate.”
According to her, the most important asset in their organization is their staff.
“The reason why we are such a successful organization is because we have a culture that supports the ambition, the wellbeing, the positivity that comes with each and every member of our staff that is part of One Young World.”
The biggest challenges faced by youth today
Speaking in more general terms, in conclusion, Biglari mentions some of the biggest challenges and shortcomings faced by youth today.
“What we have seen is a huge amount of passion, of excitement, of proactivity, a desire to really make a difference. But, the avenues and the opportunities to inject themselves into those opportunities are actually quite limited, there are so many even overqualified individuals who are really struggling to even find basic jobs.”
However, she shares the other side of the coin.
“What we are seeing increasingly is a desperate desire to start initiatives of their own, but funding is honestly among the biggest challenges which is why we launched the Lead2030 prize fund and Covid-19 Young Leaders Fund to get money into the hand of young people who are driving forward impact.”
OYW will continue to build the bridges between potential donors and young people so that those leaders can establish themselves as trusted, legitimate leaders of any sort of work.
If you know any inspiring stories featuring young people, please feel free to share them with our Youth Time contributor by reaching out to her via Twitter.
Photos: One Young World archive