How I told world leaders about the value of education at Ethiopian summit

By Eden Tadesse, an A World at School Global Youth Ambassador from Ethiopia

My proudest achievement thus far is attending the Women in Parliaments Global Summit (WIP) in March. This summit was held in the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was invited by the Founder of WIP, Silvana Koch-Mehrin (who is also the Former Vice President of the European Parliament). 

I attended this conference as a Global Youth Ambassador representing A World At School. Not only was I the youngest attendee of this prestigious event but, for the most part, I was the only Ethiopian.The Ethiopian Prime Minister had actually attended but left very early.

The experience was a phenomenal one; never had I imagined myself to be dining with both the Malawian President and the Secretary-General of UNESCO together at the same table. It was one of those rare experiences.

Eden with Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Founder of WIP

I was invited to give a speech about the importance of education at one of the sessions called “The Future of Education”. One of the seats in the chairing panel was available – that’s when Fidelma Healy Eames (Senator of Ireland) asked me to be part of the chairing committee. This officially made me the youngest person to ever lead any WIP Conference.

I spoke about the value of education from a youth perspective. The session was over two hours long. I had the opportunity to speak alongside distinguished world leaders and the audience was a vibrant mixture of journalists, renowned parliamentarians and politicians from all around the world.

Though I was initially meant to share my perspective as a mere audience member, by being part of the chairing committee I had the wonderful opportunity to stimulate interesting discussions, answer questions from the audience and raise other impending issues such as peace and security of primary school children in Nigeria.

Eden with Irish Senator Fidelma Healy Eames

After my session had ended, parliamentarians and journalists congratulated me on my speech. Afterwards, we all went to the multi-purpose hall for dinner. Dinner was hosted by the Mexican government, following a very festive ceremony presented by members of the Mexican embassy in Addis Ababa.

Overall, it was a very delightful experience to meet and converse with today’s global leaders from Iceland, Malawi, Ireland, Mexico and UAE who are implementing social change in their community, and the greater world.

I also took the opportunity to network with people in the African Union and United Nations. I couldn’t be more grateful to  World at School for allowing me to represent their organisation’s firm stand on education.