The final day started with an energising activity to uplift our spirit more. We were told to feel happy and inspired with Shakira’s Waka waka (this time for Africa) being played. We even had a train march to encourage everyone to join us.
On the day, there were three breakout sessions and each individuals could attend up to 2. The sessions were on: Sustainability, Education and Economic Empowerment, and Health and Well-being. Personally, I attended the sessions on Sustainability and Education and Economic Empowerment. The most memorable point made from these sessions were that “You don’t need to engage in ground breaking initiatives, engage in small initiatives incrementally.”
The first session was moderated by Vice President Katherine Cheng from the USA. She opened her session by quoting her own experience and showed how little change can make a big difference. In the past year, she convinced her company to use eco-friendly light bulbs. Since then, her initiatives reduced energy cost to her company and even saved two job heads, which is certainly a huge impact. The speakers of the panel were Jimmy Lee (Vice President of Strategy and Regional Affairs for GBCHealth), Aaron Nelson (President and CEO of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina, USA) and Joseph Hearn (President of Advanced Remarketing Services).
The speakers brought into their experiences and achievements and how we, from JCI, can help spread the good work in our local communities. They were clear and honest that the main purpose with business in engaging in environment sustainability is not because they care about the environment (the individuals do care however). Green initiatives for businesses mean reduced cost, good reputation and more clients in some parts of the world – thus a sound business case. Green Plus an initiative by one of the speakers, Aaron Nelson, consists of simple guidelines on how businesses can become greener. It also consists of a forum on which members can engage with other members on lessons learning. But the point is again, the changes do not have to be big but they will help businesses save money and maybe employees. Hopefully we will get hold of these presentations, which we can distribute to our local chambers of commerce or employers. Let us start with small incremental changes.
Education and Economic Empowerment
In the Education and Economic Empowerment session, we had the pleasure to hear from David Donaldson (Director of Education at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF), Erin Sawyer (Director of International Operations for Junior Achievement) and Sarah Gunther (American Jewish World Service’s Associated Director of grants for Africa). What we heard was that education and economic issues do not only relate to the developing world. David Donaldson gave clear problems which a lot of communities across the United States are facing because cost cutting activities. What we heard from Erin Sawyer and Sarah Gunther, were how their organisations were helping teenagers across the globe to empower themselves – whether through teaching them business skills or through creating their own networks. It was clear to the audience that we should partner with these associations because (1) we are already doing similar work in our local communities, (2) JCI has a huge amount of volunteers which these partners can make use of, (3) it will be for our mutual benefits since more young people will be empowered and JCI members will learn new skills that they can put into practice at work or in their businesses.
Closing of Summit
After 2 great sessions, all delegates reunited at the grand hall for the closing of the summit. The Secretary General of JCI, Mr. Edison Kodama, showed us two very emotional videos. The first was about MDG partners work in 1 day. The second was regarding the work being accomplished by different JCI Chapters around the world, with “Heal the World” as the background music. Vice President Ester ter Beek then presented the resolution to us:
As active dedicated to the advancement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and inspired by our shared commitment, we, the delegates of the 2011 JCI Global Partnership Summit, do hereby resolve as follows:
* That every JCI National Organization will take action to identify a need in its country within the framework of the UN MDGs by the 2011 JCI World Congress in Brussels, Belgium
* That every JCI National Organization shall commit to at least one project by 2011 World Congress, but may embark on additional projects as new needs are identified before 2015
* To proceed to launch the implementation of such a project simultaneously around the world on JCI Active Citizen Day, December 11, 2011
* To commit to report annually on the progress of the implementation of such a project at the JCI Global Partnership Summit
This resolution agreed herein shall guide the activities of JCI National Organizations until 2015.
JCI President Kentaro Harada presented his gratitude to us delegates and urged us to act upon the resolution in his farewell speech. The chair person, Toshinari Fujii from JCI Japan, also expressed his gratitude and the success of the summit before closing it.
Closing Ceremony at the UN HQ
After the closure of the summit, we headed to the United Nations Headquarters for the closing ceremony. Not everyone has the opportunity to have a closing ceremony at the UN but I can say without JCI I would very unlikely have had the chance. The closing ceremony was a final chance to meet more JCI members and partners before the next JCI event. As I mentioned in my previous posts, these JCI events offer more than networking. They give you the opportunity to bond with other professionals around the globe. Personally, I had the chance to talk to the permanent mission ambassador of Madagascar, H.E. Mr. Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy, and Japan, H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishada, to the UN. Talking to the Secretary General of JCI, Mr. Edison Kodama, in itself is a privilege.
As a JCI UK member, I was also very proud to see our newest member, Ms Jaruwan Bumroungruksa of JCI London, being awarded her JCI membership pin by the JCI President, Mr. Kentaro Harada. To put it in perspective, Jaruwan has been a member of JCI for only 4 weeks and she is already making a difference globally.
The ceremony ended with all members of JCI present to sign a scroll, representing an agreement to the resolution. I was privilege to sign the scroll as an acting JCI UK President. Afterwards, there were lots of photo shoots with members and partners.
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Stephen Wells