Reflections on OYW: Learning from the wisdom that comes with experience, while being inspired by the energy of youth

One of the most striking things about One Young World is how people, young and old, came together to learn from each other.

As delegates, we listened to extremely accomplished individuals, including Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, who exuded a sense of calm, understanding of the human condition and relentless idealism. While reflecting on working with military dictators in the Organization of African States, he told the audience, “Sometimes you have to shake hands with the devil,” and indicated that the path to progress can be challenging.

During a panel on Transparency and Business Ethics, a senior executive from Siemens discussed the corruption scandal that plagued the company. Because of the scandal, Siemens was forced to completely rethink its business model and processes in order to change the culture. She explained how the leadership team was able to learn from prior mistakes and emphasized its importance.

On the flip side, I was constantly inspired by the energy and passion of the youth in the room. During plenary sessions, delegates made 5-10 minute speeches about a given topic, and then the floor was opened to other comments and discussion. During the Global Business discussion, Junna Hashimoto, one of my fellow Bainies from Tokyo, talked about the applicability of business skills in the social sector, sharing important lessons she had learned after just two years at Bain & Company. During the Human Rights plenary session, countless individuals went to the microphone to talk about their experiences with human rights violations and to make calls to action.

In listening to the distinguished speakers, delegates could set their sights high on becoming a future president or secretary general.  However, in allowing the voices of the youth to be heard, we were encouraged and motivated by all the good our generation is already doing.

I was inspired by my experience at One Young World and I plan to continue finding ways to maximize my social impact during my externship at Endeavor, my time at Bain, and beyond.

About Jelena Djordjevic

Bain Associate Consultant in the San Francisco office, currently on externship at Endeavor Global.
This entry was posted in OYW, Pursue your passions. Bookmark the permalink.

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