I had the privilege of attending this year’s Global Partnership Summit in New York from 25th- 28th July, held at the Landmark Waldorf Astoria Hotel, with other sessions conducted at the United Nations Headquarters. The focus was for us to discuss strategies of how we as young active citizens can advance the 17 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) in Partnership with Government, Business Leaders & Civil society to create sustainable impact. Each of these sectors has their unique set of resources, knowledge, expertise, experience and power, therefore enhanced accomplishments of these goals can be achieved when these sectors unite. JCI is the organisation that consolidates these sectors, and with targeted solutions to the unique problems in our communities, we can to build a better world with greater global impact.
We enjoyed a prestigious opening night gala hosted by the JCI Japan Secretariat & had the pleasure of listening to keynotes from the likes of Aminata Tourè- Former Prime Minister of Senegal, who emphasized the importance of peace building as a foundational element in achieving the goals through breeding a culture of tolerance between nations.
Other speakers included: Pascal Dike- 2016 JCI World President, Laurence Bolotin- 2016 JCI USA National President, Arrey Obensen -2016 JCI Secretary General and Tekeshi Nakamura- 2016 JCI Summit Chairperson. We were motivated to see the problems of this world not as challenges but opportunities to create impact, and move beyond creating awareness by taking action. Following this, we savoured on cocktails & canapés to round off an overall intriguing night.
Summit Day 1 – JCI Leaders and Ambassadors
The following day saw us indulged in a plethora of keynotes & panel discussions from top influencers, exploring avenues of uniting all sectors of society to create sustainable impact & reinforcing ways that businesses could adopt & incorporate the SDG’s as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
Our own Katherine Sparkes, founder of Flamingo Creatives, (a UK corporate responsibility consultancy that helps businesses function ethically) spoke about how businesses can enhance social inclusion, and afterwards she was honoured with JCI Ambassadorship for her tremendous work in spreading JCI’s mission.
Panelists included Senior Advisor on Strategic Partnerships and Deputy Executive Director for UN Women Ravi Karkara, who made recommendations of how to collaborate in executing these goals with strategies that are inclusive, participatory and accountable.
On Wednesday we had the honour of going to the United Nations Headquarters where we had the pleasure of hearing from my good friend and fellow Jaycee John Loughton- Founder and CEO of Dare2Lead, (a global Leadership Training Company), who captivated us with his fine art of storytelling & speech articulation, challenging us to reflect on practical ways to promote peace & providing models for us to emulate. Later, the delegates were encouraged to share their ideas towards the 2016 JCI Global Partnership Resolution focusing on action plans to advance the goals.
At the UN Headquarters
In the afternoon it was time for “The Peace is possible scavenger hunt”, which was a fun & exciting way to bring awareness of our worldwide peace campaign to the streets of New York, whilst touring and exploring the city’s great landmarks. The Evening was reserved for an exhilarating Hudson River Sunset Cruise, where we enjoyed breath-taking skyline views of the city’s landmarks from a different vantage point. There was an open bar with live entertainment & a dance off from the senators & delegates whilst we perfected the fine art of taking selfies.
Raising awareness of the #peaceispossible campaign on the streets of New York
Thursday saw us back at the UNHQ, where JCI Japan presented their Youth Ambassador program and showcased their ideas of advancing the global goals. We also witnessed Social Enterprise contestants presenting their business cases for a funding grant for their projects & sponsorship to the World Congress later this year. The Global Youth Empowerment Fund was also launched, where grants will be issued for youth-led projects in local communities around the world.
We ended a fantastic program line up with the ultimate climax – a keynote address from the UN Secretary General – Ban Ki-Moon, who stated that “we are in an era of opportunity to tackle global challenges. New heights of collaboration and action are required in order to advance the sustainable development goals, and youth are the drivers of change and innovation”. He strengthened our resolve as JCI to advance the SDG’s & also received our pledge & commitment to keep Agenda 2030 at the forefront of our strategic plan of action.
Ban Ki-Moon on stage
Following the official end of the summit, there was a wind-down of the week with continued with City tours, shopping and meeting local friends before safely returning back to our respective countries.
With this week-long exposure, we were equipped to return to our respective chambers, ready to take local action for national and global impact. I was inspired to take responsibility by taking up the role of JCI UK Community Director 2017 in order to implement the strategies discussed and also strengthen relations with existing and potential collaborative partners to implement these goals.
We will therefore ensure the adaptation of these goals into our community projects, partnering with relevant stakeholders and reinforcing our Corporate Social Responsibility as an organisation. Utilizing the JCI Active Citizen Framework and JCI Project Management system, we will identify and address our communities’ greatest needs in relation to the global goals. One of our universal pledges at the partnership summit was to install a National SDG’s committee that will be responsible for advancing these goals in various chambers. I will be setting up this committee, ensuring accountability and tracking the progress of all global goals.
It was an overall very productive summit, and I look forward to working with our various chambers within my capacity as 2017 JCI UK Community Director.
By Epi Makiba, JCI UK Community Director 2017
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Sarah Beckwith