- The One Young World summit held in Bogotá, Colombia in October gathered thousands of young leaders from around the world.
- Harry Flett and Jozo Frankovic were delegates and representatives of Chartered Accountants ANZ.
- The summit boasts some of the world’s most influential leaders and covers everything from the role of big businesses, to human rights and poverty.
It’s a global event that gathers 1,300 young people from 130 countries. And it’s a forum which offers a chance to not only hear from highly influential people, but to discuss global issues and challenge world views. This year’s forum certainly didn’t disappoint for two students from Australia and New Zealand.
Among the delegates were Harry Flett and Jozo Frankovic, two young men, who are keen to make their mark on the world. When Acuity caught up with Christchurch student Flett, 20, and Wollongong-based Frankovic, 22, they had returned home and were back to settling back into reality.
They found that apart from big ceremonies and emotional stories, One Young World is also an opportunity for young delegates to open their eyes and to allow their own world views to be challenged.
(Pictured: Harry Flett)
Flett is currently studying Finance and Accounting at the University of Otago in New Zealand and with plans for a corporate career, discussions on the role of big businesses really struck a chord with him.
"On the first day, we discussed entrepreneurship and taking charge of your own life. Why do you have to work for someone else, why can’t you work for yourself? Do corporations have the right purpose? Can you make more of an impact on the world and be successful by yourself? That really challenged me, because the corporate path is one I've wanted to go down.”
The simple message was that profitability and success are not mutually exclusive from social impact and making the world a better place
The next day was a real contrast, however, with talks shifting to the positive impact of large businesses. "The discussion really said that the place where you can make the most change is through corporations. They have the scale, they have the size and they have the ability to make a difference.
"The simple message was that profitability and success are not mutually exclusive from social impact and making the world a better place. That really resonated with me, the fact that you can do well and you can do good. It really reinforced how I want to approach my working life,” says Flett.
(Pictured: Jozo Frankovic)
With Frankovic studying for a Bachelor of Commerce (Dean's Scholar) majoring in Finance and Accounting at the University of Wollongong, how he forges his career wasn’t far from his mind either.
Related: What young chartered accountants really want
Young CAs are seeking empowerment and responsibility in the workplace, as well as companies with a social purpose.
“It was really impactful to hear stories of young people around the world that are influencing real change in their communities and thinking globally but acting locally. These young people are stepping up and being leaders, which is incredibly inspiring.
“As I start out in my career, it showed me the importance of making a difference in my community, so I’m not just focusing on myself. We all need to act now and I think that was the overriding theme of the event. There’s no point delaying, you’ve got to start now,” says Frankovic.
This year’s event was held in Bogota, Colombia in October, with some top global leaders headlining the bill.
One speaker was One Young World disability activist Oscar Anderson, a young man who has fought hard for equality for people with disabilities. He left a lasting impression on Frankovic.
(Pictured: Oscar Anderson)
"He was born with a really rare condition and he has campaigned for inclusiveness for those with disabilities. He talked about the hardships he has faced throughout his life and the work he had done, so he was incredible and very moving," says Frankovic.
And while Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, was certainly a highlight for both students, it was heartbreaking stories from fellow delegates such as this were the most powerful for Flett.
“It was really awesome that they gave us chance to speak and that was the most inspiring because they are all around my age. They were all a part of the delegate community, so it was powerful to see your peers get up there and speak because they are more relatable,” he says.
Next year’s summit in The Hague
One Young World stays true to its name and really is a global event, with a different host country every year. Next year's summit is headed for The Hague, Netherlands and for the 2018 delegates, attitude is critical, say Flett and Frankovic.
"For anyone going next year, arrive with an open mind and a positive attitude. It's a cliché, but it's honestly life-changing to be a part of a delegation of 1,300 young people and be surrounded by global business leaders, as well as having the opportunity to discuss world issues.”
(Pictured: One Young World 2017 delegates)
Going to the One Young World summit is a chance to meet people from countries all over the world, with very different cultures, so you must be ready to be challenged.
“Be relaxed and take it as it comes. Have lots of energy and be ready to meet new people, but don’t force it. It's not as easy as it sounds. It takes a long time to get your head around and it definitely challenges your world views,” says Flett. "Come in ready to learn and ready to listen.”
Watch the video below:
Related: One Young World, two young leaders
Two young accounting students are rubbing shoulders with young world leaders at the One Young World summit.