One Young World

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One Young World
One Young World Logo
London, England
TypeNon-governmental organization
Key people
  • David Jones, Global CEO Havas Worldwide/ Euro RSCG Worldwide, One Young World Co-Founder
  • Kate Robertson, Group Chairman, Euro RSCG, One Young World Co-Founder

One Young World is a UK-based not-for-profit organization that gathers young leaders from around the world to develop solutions to the globe’s most pressing issues.[1] One Young World stages annual summits in different cities where delegates from charities, non-governmental organizations, corporations and universities are joined by world leaders,[2] acting as counsellors. From 2009 to 2015, One Young World staged six annual summits with a total of 8,000 delegates between the ages of 18 and 30 from 196 countries.[3] By 2018, the number of annual summits reached nine.


Founded in 2009 by Kate Robertson and David Jones, One Young World hosts an annual international summit for ambassadors and speakers to collaborate and debate innovative solutions for global issues. The summit attendees range from corporations, non-profits, and governments and the young individuals they influence to provoke better understanding. Per Robertson, the summit intends to turn well selected delegates into future ambassadors who will be motivated to emerge in leadership positions. "There is a complete disconnect between what people under the age of 30 want and what is being delivered to them. That is the case in many, many instances. It is very important that their voices as leaders are raised and are sufficient noise as to not be ignored."[4] [OFID] is also one of the founding partners of the One Young World summit and every year supports the attendance of young leaders. To date, over 100 talents from developing and underrepresented countries have participated under the auspices of OFID.[5]

Delegate attendance[edit]

Applicants can apply to attend a summit either individually or under one of over 500 participant organizations. The applicant can either an employee from within the organization or sponsored by the organization. Should a candidate opt to attend individually, they may attend via scholarship or out of pocket. Delegate fees cover accommodations for the length of the conference, ground transportation and meals. Applicants must apply to One Young World with typed essay format answer to questions posed on the application form by a certain deadline each year. Chosen applicants will then opt to attend an interview either in person or virtually to become candidates. Individuals attending the summit for the first time are considered delegates. At the closing ceremony, delegates graduate to ambassadors and are afforded the opportunity to join ambassador networks to continue their independent social and environmental initiative work outside of the Summit.[6]


Opening Ceremony of the 2014 One Young World Conference in Dublin, Ireland

The One Young World Summit, which has been referred to as a “Young Davos,”[7][8] is an arena where delegates discuss global issues and develop solutions "to meet the challenges of the 21st century."[9] Topics are chosen by a survey of former delegates. The summit is facilitated by counsellors who have been politicians, activists, chief executive officers, musicians, models and chefs.[10]

Since One Young World’s founding in 2010, there have been six subsequent summits, the first being in London, England, in February 2010.[11] Subsequent summits were held in:

  • Zurich, Switzerland, 2011;
  • Pittsburgh, USA, 2012
  • Johannesburg, South Africa, 2013.
  • Dublin, Ireland, 2014[12]
  • Bangkok, Thailand, 2015[13]
  • Ottawa, Canada, 2016[14]
  • Bogota, Colombia, 2017
  • The Hague, Netherlands, 2018[15]

One Young World will be hosted by London for the 2019 Summit,[16] while Munich, Germany is set to host the 2020 edition.[17]


Kofi Annan[edit]

Kofi Annan at the 2014 One Young World Conference

Kofi Annan has spoken to delegates at four One Young World Summits.[18][19][20] He is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations for 9 years. He was a co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize with the UN. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as being the Chairman[21] of The Elders.

Muhammad Yunus[edit]

Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist and civil society leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize[22] for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. Yunus was a Counsellor at One Young World Summits: 2010 in London, 2011 in Zurich and 2012 in Pittsburgh.[23]

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu[edit]

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.[24] He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999;[25] and the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007. He spoke to delegates at the One Young World Summits in London[26] and Zurich.[27]

Vicente Fox[edit]

Vicente Fox was President of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. His term in office marked the end of 71 years of uninterrupted rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). He joined 4 other Latin American Presidents at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin, Ireland to discuss the Telefonica Millennial Survey].[28]

Meghan Markle[edit]

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex was a Toronto-based American actress who performed the character of Rachel Zane in the 7-year TV Series "Suits." She was a counselor for international charity One Young World and she attended its 2014 and 2016 summits. At the 2014 summit in Dublin, she spoke on the topics of gender equality and modern day slavery.

Additional Councellors [29] include Jamie Oliver[30] (Zurich 2011, Pittsburgh 2012), Natalia Vodianova[31] (Pittsburgh 2012), Jimmy Wales[32] (Pittsburgh 2012, Dublin 2014), Pete Cashmore[33] (Pittsburgh 2012), Marc Keilburger[34] (Pittsburgh 2012, Ottawa 2016), Dambisa Moyo[35](Ottawa 2016), and Thuli Madonsela[36] (Ottawa 2016).

One Young World Summits[edit]


One Young World 2010
One Young World 2010

The first Summit was held in London on 8–10 February 2010. Topics were environment, interfaith dialogue, global business, media, global health and politics.[37] It drew 823 young people from 112 countries.


The 2012 Summit was held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 18–21 October 2012. The plenary topics were education, global business, health, human rights, leadership, sustainable development and transparency.[38] Former President Bill Clinton of the United States was the keynote speaker.[39]

Pittsburgh was the first U.S host city[40] and the first to host smaller breakout sessions for delegates in offsite locations throughout the city.[41][42]

City Nation
Pittsburgh United States
Johannesburg South Africa
Melbourne Australia
Dubai United Arab Emirates


One Young World 2011 announcement

The 2011 Summit was held in Zurich, Switzerland on 2011 September 1–4. It was opened by Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, who spoke on the 2011 massacre in Utoya, Norway, and on his Global Dignity initiative.[43] Plenary topics were global business, media, global health, interfaith dialogue, environment and leadership.[44]

City Nation
Zurich Switzerland
Paris France
Pune India
Cape Town South Africa
Washington D.C. United States
Vienna Austria
Hong Kong China


In 2014 Ottawa, Canada submitted and won the bid to host the 2016 One Young World Summit. Planning and staging for the event was a two-year undertaking for the city of Ottawa and supporting organizations. The opening ceremony was held on Parliament Hill on September 28 to an audience of over 1,300 delegates, ambassadors, and world leaders. External breakout sessions were conducted at over 15 sites throughout the city to focus on discussion topics. A unique characteristic of the 2016 summit was the local community's participation in events, hosting delegates in their homes for an evening dinner. The Ottawans hosted a total of 135 dinners.[45]

Plenary Sessions focused on global issues related to Education, Global Business, Health, Human Rights, Peace and Security, the Environment and Indigenous Reconciliation.[45]


In 2017 Bogota presented the One Young World 2017 Summit.[46][47] It was the first time when the conference was held in South American region. It was held from October 4 to 7. In this conference, 1,408 delegates participated, represented 194 countries. 239 were provided with scholarships which were worth around £700.000.[48] Four Nobel Prize laureates were addressing young people from the stage of Simón Bolívar Plaza. President of Colombia also participated in the conference.


In 2018 The Hague, Netherlands will be the host city of the One Young World 2018 summit between October 17-20th. The Hague is known as 'the international city of peace and justice' and is home to international organisations such as Europol, OPCW and the International Court of Justice. The plenary sessions will focus on global issues related to: Human Rights, Education, Environment, Poverty Alleviation and Health.[49]


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  33. ^ Erlichman, Jon (2019-04-04). "Freshii's top shareholder backs founder amid stock slide - BNN Bloomberg". BNN. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
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  36. ^ "LOOK: UKZN's Kwazini Zulu becomes a global leadership ambassador | Sunday Tribune". Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  37. ^ World, One Young. "Senator John Kerry to Address Inaugural Summit of One Young World in London". Retrieved 2017-10-05.
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External links[edit]