A Global Youth Ambassador for Theirworld tells how he addressed hundreds of delegates at the global gathering of young leaders.
On October 16, I set off from the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, to the Hague in the Netherlands to attend the biggest global gathering of young leaders - the One Young World Summit.
Upon arrival, we were registered and later picked up to visit the famous Peace Palace which housed the International Criminal Court.
The opening ceremony attended by 1800 delegates from 190 countries was amazing! It was officiated by Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. What a day in the life of this young leader from Mafi Amerika in the Mafi Zongo Area in Ghana.
On the second day of the summit, I was announced as one of five winners of the 2018 Inaugural One Year Politician of the Year Award which was presented by Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
The purpose of the award was to throw light on the work of young politicians who were using their offices to make a difference in the lives of other young people in their countries and to also encourage non-politicians to venture into politics as a vocation.
I was given the award for:
- Developing the Women Rising and Empowerment Initiative
- Mentoring young Ghanaian leaders
- Organising free digital skills training for youths in communities in Ghana
- Organising health reproductive education workshops for over 1000 girls
- Distributing over 1000 pairs of shoes to children who were accustomed to walking barefooted to school, in partnership with the Right Generation Community Foundation
I spoke in front of over 1800 delegates from more than 190 countries.
During the award ceremony my fellow winners and I were given the opportunity to ask Sir John Major questions on the Sustainable Development Goals.
I embraced this because it was a chance to speak for the underprivileged and marginalised in millions of villages and rural communities all over the world.
My question was:
“l hail from a rural community of Mafi Zongo Electoral Area in a developing country, Ghana. So Sir John, I want to find out how the SDGs could be harmonised and mainstreamed to benefit deprived rural communities in the world, especially those in the developing countries.”
On the third day, I had the singular honour in my young leadership life to speak as a delegate speaker on the topic Poverty Alleviation: Can Solving Youth Unemployment Avert Future Conflicts?
I spoke in front of over 1800 delegates from more than 190 countries. It is worthy of mention that only 30 delegates out of the 1800 were selected to speak at the event.
I urged young leaders to rise up and make a difference in their countries by running for leadership positions. I shared the stage with Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson; Akon, the popular musician in Africa; Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos (an amazing woman who mentored me); Abrima Erwiah, Hans Reitz, Anthony Zappula, David Santiago Cano Salazar and other five delegate speakers.
I used the opportunity to call for international efforts in dealing with all forms of discrimination and inequality against youth and women.
I implored the youth to rise up and make a mark in the lives of people in their countries instead of complaining of the governance in their countries. I stated: "You are not too young to run for offices.”
My speech caught the attention of international organisations as they publicised quotes through various media. National governments were called in to assess the address and take note of the recommendations for implementation.
At the end of my speech, I received a standing ovation and Akon said he had been inspired to run for presidency in his country.
On October 20 the closing ceremony took place and we were presented with plaques with our names beautifully inscribed on them. At the ceremony, I emphasised that young leaders should rIse up and make an impact in their communities.
I said: “The world will not always give us the chance, we are to create those chances ourselves. If we are not invited to the table, we must create the table ourselves. It is time to rise up and make a difference”.
I set off the next day to Ghana, my motherland, inspired with hope and ready to impact my generation.
This was a humbling experience. I really have no excuse not to work to intensify our impacts, together with other young leaders. The world deserves more from me.
One Young World has indeed given me the platform to network, get a global connection and build rapport with young, ambitious and like-minded change makers, policy influencers and decision-makers to build the wave of transformation, exchange ideas and explore creative solutions to common problems in my communities and create partnerships to expand my society-transforming initiatives.
But with all interactions and networking I had at the summit, my focus was on how to leverage the opportunity to benefit youth, women, children and the underprivileged in my electoral area, Ghana and Africa.
I made my people proud, I made Ghana proud. I made Africa proud and I made the world proud. In all, we are One Young World.