New Delhi 2011
27 Countries, 8 peer facilitators, 57 Global Changemakers
It was a summit like no other!
It brought together a diverse group of talented, passionate and dedicated people and molded us into change makers to make our world a better place. As the summit commenced on 18th July 2011, it was a platform for change makers from Asia and UK to come together, brainstorm and find practical solutions for issues that affect our world.
I first entered the Heritage Village Resort after a long drive in the Delhi traffic. Soon I was bounding up the steps of the hotel’s dining room to meet the other amazing change makers. Listening to their stories was so amazing!!Each person had some unique experience that made them become change makers in their respective societies.
Some were facing violent opposition to their campaigns by governments including prison sentences while some had terrorism and other issues that hindered their country’s progress. The inspiration, the passion, the amazing energy that fuels us and our causes in a fiery manner inspired all of us in many ways, making us want to reach greater heights. Our fantastic guest speakers gave us insight into how their lives were shaped into being the real changemakers in the society through practical and personal experience.
For 7 days, till the 22nd of July we learnt so much about each other, about our campaigns, speakers who motivated us to transcend boundaries and so much more about project management and fundraising. It was a truly beautiful experience. I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday with these amazing people 🙂
Fran, Kathy, Gaby, Louise, John and Matt along with Reesha and Guru from British Council India made our stay fantastic with so much of love, care and making us develop ourselves in a truly independent and positive manner. It’s a life changing experience that you never ever want to leave and believe me, you’ll want to do anything to stay with your fellow GCMs.
I also appeal for post AYS / GCM reunions (possibly summer camps annually or every 6 months ) 😀 as it seems to be a twist of fate of that so many amazing people meet yet may never see each other again. Therefore we believe that it will help inspire each other more and unite GCMs in a brilliant manner!
Writing this on my 3-hours plane journey home, with heart-wrenching sadness[seriously, my poor heart is in pieces 😦 ] , I bid farewell to my beloved GCMs and Louise, and I quote Veronica Colomdrum, a speaker who inspired me and truly touched my heart with her very personal experience and inspiring words “ It’s all about what you leave behind. What you will be remembered by. THAT is your legacy”.
And that, my dear GCMs is what we stand for.
1. Skip bottled water! – Yep take your own bottle of water. It can save the piling up of over one million tons of plastic!
2. Buy quality electronic and household items – this way you use them for longer and don’t dispose easily unlike cheap stuff that break real easy.
3. Recycle – seen the awesome trash bins in British Council? try it out at home, compost your bio-degradables, make gift wrap out of waste paper (contact
me for tips! ) and send only plastic in your trash.
4. Sell and earn – sell your old clothes to thrift stores and earn! also sell newspapers, glass bottles and metal to places who wiegh and Pay you! 😀
5. Consume more native food – this helps to bring up the economy and put down exports which bring in loads of non-degradables to Sri Lanka.
6. Walk – quit taking that elevator, you are already getting flabby! try out some stretches and get your own personalized workout (yep, contact me again for
gym related stuff)
7. Light up – use LED bulbs or CFLs. The best ones is LEDs which consume way less than CFLs and safer that CFLs since CFLs contain Mercury!
8. Air dry – your clothes and your hair. Like kettles, hair dryers consume a lot of energy since they heat up in an instant.
9. Participate – in policy dialogues, forums, online. Voice out, use media effectively. Quit being apathetic and letting others decide (and ruin)
10. Go Organic – food, clothing, cleaning products, body products, everything can be bought or made. These lack killer chemicals that
cause cancer and other insane diseases. Kill two birds with one stone much? 🙂
The 15 fresh faces trooped into breakfast and introductions were made over coffee. Through the bustling 1st Avenue, they walked in animated talk towards the building of promise: The United Nations.
Soon the enigmatic discussants arrived. This was none other than the first ever collaboration between the World Economic Forum Global Shapers and the United Nations. Facilitated and mentored by Vijay Raju, Yemi and Manuel, the shapers met and discussed the work done upto now and the endless possibilities we could do together. The collboartion is the brilliant brainchild of no other than Professor Charles Shwab the founder of the Global Shapers.
With the vibrant Amina Mohammed presiding over the meeting and facilitated by John McArthur, the discussants were able to gain perspective of youth and the work done around the world by the 52 Shapers Hubs in existence. Our focus was on cross-sectoral accountability and intergenerational accountability with regard to the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development.
Jan Eliassaon, the Deputy Secretary General of the UN gave profound insight with his story of working at the UN and how youth are shaping are the world.
From speaking with Ahmad Alhendawi, the Youth Envoy to the UNSG, John Hendra and George Kell from the UN, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to present my work and the Colombo Hub’s work at the meeting.
Soon we met Paul Polman; CEO of Unilever, Richard Curtis; the amazing film writer over lunch moderated by Corinne Woods of the UN Millennium Campaign and learned a lot more on the 2030 campaign and the importance of sustainability.
We ended our day with discussions with the Shapers and our mentors and created The United Nations Global Shapers Sustainable Development Council. After this historic initiative, it is upto us the Shapers to ensure that the recommendations and ability to work with the UN in a more cohesive manner is done. Thank you Global Shapers for the continuous support and love, especially to Wieyuan, Vera, Yemi and Asanga and last but not least Professor Schwab for this amazing initiative.
“You are the future. Don’t lose hope.” – Lord Nicholas Stern over coffee in Durban
The city is normal except for the unusual number of suit clad people bustling in around the International Conference Centre (ICC) – home to the Conference of Parties 17 by the United Nations Framework on Climate Change.
Arriving with BAD jet lag (having been reading Kyoto Protocol related papers during a 36 hour flight span), I managed to meet up with my champs and eased into the rhythm of the hectic schedule of COP. The ginormous size of it with 16,000 delegates, the high level negotiations, the role of youth and the meetings with high profile persons soon sunk in and I was soon on the go.
The Sri Lankan Ministers for Environment and Energy were very nice to the young ‘un :p So was Gregory Barker – the British Minister for Energy and Climate Change. The special envoy John Ashton was brilliant! (The UKYCCC gave him a I ❤ KP tshirt ) I have 2 tshirts for free shipping to 2 people who have done great work in the past year.
I was soon meeting the COP President, the Head of Delegation of China and Executive Secretary to the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres! I must say Mrs. Figueres is one of the most amazing speakers and inspires me each time I hear her.
My days began at 4am with me being in the Conference centre by 6am and then working on meeting and talking issues while promoting Sri Lanka’s very cool music video featuring me.
We did the first ever youth side event by Sri Lankans and launched the video!!
We also met a very special guest, our very own GABBY and her beautiful family. (We LOVE your daughter!)
COP17 has been a defining week of my life and my heartfelt gratitude goes to British Council, Global Changemakers and Climate Champs for making it possible Special mention to Sophie Lashford our gorgeous in charge !
The negotitions, the personal insight, the wonderful youth (hats off to the Canadian youth who literally “turned their back on Canada” and Abigail, a US youth activist who in frustration of the non-progressive US response grabbed the mic before Todd Stern.
However, the “Durban Package” came into existence to address 4 pillars of climate change.
We the youth aren’t renegades, we have just realised that the world cannot wait, that the animals and plants cannot wait and that without a proper deal, we will all perish regardless of the economy and your personal gains.
We have realised that working together is the only way forward and that we must take a stand for our planet, our only real home and not destroy it mindlessly.