One Young World Summit
Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Each year more than 2000 of the world's brightest young leaders in the age range of 18 to 30 are brought together in unity for a common goal – working towards building a fair and sustainable future for all. Individuals representing diverse communities, cultures and religions from an astounding 190+ countries, assemble in unison to confront some of the trying challenges faced by humanity.
The One Young World (OYW) summit consists of a four-day program comprising an array of talks, interactive panel discussions and engaging workshops that are inclined towards a common theme of peacekeeping and conflict resolution. The delegates are counseled by influential global figures and leaders dominating a multitude of fields such as politics, business, and humanitarian activities. Famous personalities such as Meghan Markle, Justin Trudeau, Prof. Muhummed Yunus, Ban Ki-Moon, Mary Robinson and Dr. Jane Goodall have graced the OYW stage providing the audience with invaluable advice and insight to support their individual missions and intuition for devising innovative ways to promote unity in their own local communities .
The experience of the attendees are enriched with opportunities for vibrant networking and knowledge sharing among fellow delegates from diverse backgrounds to facilitate the exchange of ideas and thoughts with bonding over ways in which they can come together to create a brighter future for those in their home countries. This summit equips them with a positive mindset and set of skills required to solve critical issues such as extremism fueled violence and conflict in their communities by inculcating peace. Every young leader who attends the summit is named as an OYW Ambassador at the closing ceremony and leaves with the honor of being a valued member of the OYW global community.
From its humble beginnings in London in February 2010, the OYW summit has developed into one of the largest multinational congregations of aspiring young leaders making it a much-anticipated event each year. The summit has been hosted in various cities across the globe, the chosen host city typically being culturally vibrant, youthful in spirit, forward thinking and willing to invest in the OYW cause. This year’s summit took place in Manchester from the 5th to the 8th of September 2022 despite the harsh trials posed by the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Sri Lanka, even though a small island, has always been vocal at the OYW summit. Many Sri Lankans have proudly represented our nation at this event throughout the years. One of the first such outstanding individuals is none other than Anoka Abeyratne. She has been a passionate activist lobbying for a change in Sri Lanka’s deranged political system, working alongside youth and journalists advocating for a better tomorrow. She believes that young people possessing powerful potential should not leave the country in times of crisis but stay back to contribute to the failing economy by taking up leadership positions.
The delegate that made waves for Sri Lanka in this year's OYW summit was Anojitha Sivaskaran from Jaffna. She is the first and only Sri Lankan to have received the EU Peace Ambassadors Scholarship and is also a proud recipient of the Diana Award for Humanitarian work. “We have always been told that we are leaders of tomorrow, but the reality is that we are also leaders of today.” were her inspiring words voiced at an interview for the Daily Mirror.
Among the other notable Sri Lankan OYW ambassadors are HL Ananda Piyakara, Chamath Siriwardana, Shalini Weerasooriya and Nushelle de Silva. The outstanding performance of these talented Lankans at the summit have brought great pride to our country inspiring upcoming youth activists in Sri Lanka to apply for attendance at future summits. Sri Lanka has repeatedly been making a global name for itself at the OYW summit. Kudos to all past delegates and here’s to the hope of future Sri Lankan delegates returning to the country as strong and vibrant OYW ambassadors, well-equipped with new thoughts and competences to steer our country to greater heights of unity and peace in the years to come.
“An unparalleled gathering of young leaders from every corner of the world.” - Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada)