Already arriving to Dublin was pleasant, as even the baggage pickup lines were marked with the “Welcome One Young World” signs to us, the delegates. Then there was a booth with volunteers waiting inside the airport with perfectly organized transport for each of us to the hotels. The warm and caring atmosphere continued for the whole time we were in Dublin, and so I also fell in love with the city where the 5th OYW Summit took place.

The Summit itself was intensive: waking up at 6am in order to reach for first talks, and despite not sleeping enough, still having the desire to stay up late and listen for the last presentations – for me that was a true sign of a constantly inspiring and motivating experience.

During the Opening Ceremony, I had the privilege to be the Montenegrin flag bearer in solemn and colourful atmosphere together with representatives from over 130 countries and counsellors, such as Boris Becker, Sir Bob Geldof, and a number of former South American Presidents.

The first day started with talks on circular economy. Dame Ellen MacArthur reminded us that 118 years, that is estimated we are left with coal reserves, are actually just how long ago her beloved grandfather used to be born. CEO of Iglo, a company exploring possibilities to redefine food waste, told us that: “You need to be strong first, in order to be good” -- an important thing to remember when asking from companies to be sustainable.

We then learned about climate justice, a relatively new term that people are getting familiar with, encompassing also human rights, and economic development, together with environmental aspects. Former Irish President, Mary Robinson, founded Climate Justice Foundation with the aim to leverage on her and the influence of other leaders and to facilitate actions on climate justice to empower the poorest people and countries.

Marielle Fillit told about climate justice program in Kenya with the aim to reach all the electricity needs and at a fraction of price from grid connection using only solar panels. And in the world where energy is becoming the new currency producing it from the sun as the most abundant renewable source in an African country sounds like a perfect choice.

Of course, there was lots of talk about entrepreneurs. Michelle Phan, a successful young social entrepreneur, advised us to embrace failure, not to take shortcuts and instead of reinventing things – just to ask customers what they need, and then adapt. According to Michelle, the best way to start a successful business is to know very well what you are doing.

Owing to the fact that I come from Balkans, I was involved in

, we could learn from the experienced panelists how the rule of the arts is incredibly important when achieving peace and reconciliation. Namely, we need to draw stories we always imagined about ourselves and through storytelling to “restorify” our conflict past into a peaceful present.

 

The final day of the Summit featured some of the most inspiring and touchy sessions. The first such session was

herself legally blind, introduced 5 other people labelled with different types of disabilities: from being in a wheelchair, to suffering from depression. Caroline has managed during the 45 minutes session to achieve something that many organizations supporting people with disabilities have not being able for long time: to show and make each one of us to feel how inclusion is needed for every single person, and what it means. Namely, at one point, Caroline asked us to turn off all screens, and then the lights in the large hall went also off. From then, a large part of the session happened in the dark, during which time we could only hear each of the five participants introducing themselves. They talked enthusiastically about their activities and achievements. After that, when the lights went back on, we could meet them without any prejudices and biases that, as the session wanted to demonstrate, otherwise we often unconsciously have. I am really thankful to OYW and Caroline for the so important message she managed to bring.

Another touchy, and the session that achieved highest visibility after the Summit, was the


Besides the formal Summit experience, it was about meeting and connecting to a number of talented and inspiring fellow delegates. With some of them, we will stay in touch as friends, and with some we might work on common projects in the future. We together partied in the amazing Guinness Storehouse, commemorated the fall of Berlin wall with white balloons and explored beautiful Dublin.

 

Thank you OYW organizers and counsellors; thank you Dublin, volunteers and fellow delegates!

 

A few OYW quotes:

  • "Capitalism is the Worst Economic System, except for all the others that have been tried."
  • "When they built the Statue of Liberty at the East cost, they forgot to build the Statue of Responsibility at the West coast (in the US)."
  • "Don't ask what the world needs you to do, but ask what makes you alive -- because the world needs alive people."

 

Montenegrin delegate at OYW 2014

Sanja Šćepanović