According to the Los Angeles chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), 1,500 delegates from 194 countries took part in the 2017 One Young World (OYW) Summit this past October. At this conference, young leaders from around the world were given a platform to share their insights and stories while the professionals took a backseat to listen and observe.
OYW was held in the heart of Bogota, Colombia, and the event was said to be “dynamic, energetic and inspiring.”
“With your energy and imagination, you can create a more environmentally sustainable and happier world,” said Mayor Enrique Penalosa as he welcomed the crowd, which included Nobel Peace Laureate President Juan Manual Santos of Colombia, Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman and former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Laureate Kofi Annan.
One of the delegates attending OYW this year was Salem Afeworki, LEED GA, ENV SP and founder of Value Sustainability, an environmental and community consulting firm in Orange County, Calif.
As a sustainability professional and delegate to OYW, Afeworki believes the following points were key takeaways from the conference:
- Live with optimism and focus on shared values.
- Be a leader and take action.
- Be a job creator rather than a job seeker.
- Create a flexible infrastructure organized through flexible systems.
- New, innovative solutions are needed to solve future problems.
- Take the good and make it better.
- United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set a global framework for sustainability.
- Sustainability is good for business because it provides a competitive edge to early adopters.
- With the right leadership, partnerships and ecosystem, businesses can solve complex sustainability challenges and make a lasting impact.
- Every problem has a solution that can be found if we look hard enough.
- Technology and social media can be used to hold decision makers accountable.