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Focusing
on a positive impact

Are You a Change Maker?

6
By Ekaterina Komleva, J&J OYW Delegate, Product Director, Janssen, Russia

My feelings about attending the One Young World (OYW) Summit sored to new heights on my way to Bogota, Colombia – on the plane to be exact. I found myself surrounded by fellow youth gathered to attend the Summit all speaking different languages, coming from different countries, it was like the world had come together on this one flight. We all came with different backgrounds but unified with one goal – to change the world for the better.

The OYW 2017 Summit and its participants have shown that our world has no borders. We are all people of one planet – the Earth. Borders only exist on man-made maps. They should not translate to our minds and cloud how we think and act. Each and every one of us is so different and unique from the other. This difference is what allows us to think about problems differently and ultimately pushes us to achieve the best solutions possible. If we all saw the world the same way, how would we ever arrive at new and innovative solutions? With 1,300 people from 196 countries all working to make the world a better place, the new ideas and projects I discovered at the Summit were truly inspiring.

A plenary session during the OYW Summit. 

One thing is clear in my mind, there is an urgent need to act and bring more positive change to the world. Sometimes we feel paralyzed by the need to change. We know the solution, but think it is too big or impossible to realize. If the speakers at OYW convinced me of one thing, it’s that nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it and do not compromise your goals for others. The incredible young people who took to the stage to share their experiences are true change makers – bold, strong, and compassionate.

Bogota, Colombia did not become the host city of the Summit by chance. Prior to the peace treaty signed in 2016, Colombia had experienced war for half a century. Some victims of the war shared their stories of resilience, like a young Colombian woman who was kidnapped by FARC gorillas and kept hostage for several months. Now that the war is over, the Columbian people are recreating their lives to overcome the destruction of the previous years. That same young woman is now leading a project helping former kidnappers, like the ones who took her, to adapt to regular civilian life, to integrate into a peaceful society. I have such admiration for this young women and others like her. Her sense of humanness, empathy, and forgiveness is my inspiration to believe in a better future.

Summit participants signed a giant Colombia sign to pay their respect to the host nation. 

Change starts with ourselves. I know without a doubt that everyone who attended the Summit left with an idea on how to better the world. That is the light inside each of us that will guide us forward. We cannot implement our ideas alone. So, look around you and find somebody with a common source of inspiration. Show the world that young people are change makers who can translate inspiration into action.

Ask yourself if you are a change-maker. If you know the answer, then join the One Young World movement!

Ekaterina Komleva, J&J OYW Delegate, Product Director, Janssen, Russia