Global event for young leaders in Belfast with ‘big rebellious spirit’ concludes

The 2023 One Young World Summit in Belfast had a “big rebellious spirit”, a delegate has said.

The summit saw thousands of young leaders from more than 190 countries have discussions over three days on the biggest issues affecting humanity.

Delegates listened to speakers including the Queen of Jordan, Sir Bob Geldof, Rio Ferdinand and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Between panels, delegates were given the opportunity to network and collaborate on issues including climate change, peace and reconciliation, education, refugee rights and racial justice.

Akanksha Deo Sharma, a One Young World delegate from India, at the summit in Belfast (Claudia Savage/PA)

“I think this summit has been very inspirational, very thought-provoking,” she said.

“And what I loved the most was it had an undertone of a very big rebellious spirit, which I really respect.”

She added: “I have heard so many amazing young shapeshifters, change-makers, and the one lesson that I will take is that – you are enough, you can make a change.

“Everybody, no matter if they are one person or an organisation or running a big team. You all have the capability to make change.”

Nothulasizwe Mokoena, a delegate from South Africa, said her time in Belfast had been “mind-provoking”.

Nothulasizwe Mokoena, a One Young World delegate from South Africa (Claudia Savage/PA)

“So really mind-provoking and really just mind-blowing. A lot of learning to take home with me to go back and start working and working hard.”

Ms Mokoena said her discussions at the forum gave her a new perspective on how global issues vary from country to country.

“When I came here, I thought we kind of like have the same challenges, but each and every country is actually experiencing different challenges,” she said.

“And what we are experiencing in South Africa is completely different to what they are experiencing in Japan. So we all come in here with different challenges and sharing perspectives, and it has been interesting.”

Ryosuke Bamba, from Japan, waved a Japanese flag as he took pictures with other delegates he had met during the week.

One Young World delegate Ryosuke Bamba, from Japan (Claudia Savage/PA)

Motaz Amer, who is originally from Yemen and is living in Northern Ireland, said the week was “unbelievable and incredible”.

“People from different parts of the world, more than 190 countries, the same place together sharing perspective and experiences. Just a lifetime. Yeah, you cannot find it anywhere else,” he said.

Mr Amer said he had learned to speak some Japanese.

Motaz Amer, who is originally from Yemen and is living in Northern Ireland, at the One Young World summit in Belfast (Claudia Savage/PA)

“We are not the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today.”

Semiratu Abdallah, from Ghana, works in renewable and green energy.

“The week has been very amazing,” she said.

Delegate Semiratu Abdallah at the summit in Belfast (Claudia Savage/PA)

“And then the message of hope has been very repeating over everything that I’ve learned and every discussion that I’ve had, so that’s the one thing I’ve taken away from here is the message of hope.”

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