Wow! Time is absolutely flying… only two days until I am heading to Canada to join the WU crew of Kelsey, Alimatou, Carlo, Andrius, Maria and Shahm! I am absolutely wrapped to be representing Western Union and even more excited for the opportunities that will no doubt present during the next week setting up the foundation for the rest of my life!
It sounds wild right? A foundation for the rest up my life? Sure it is a big statement, however from everyone I have spoken to and the story’s I have read the One Young World (OYW) Summit certainly has an impact on your life, your considerations and perspective of the World for better.
Over the last week I have been fortunate enough to have already participated in two OYW events.
Earlier in September I was invited to an OYW Australian Delegates dinner by the local OYW representative Triona. So on Tuesday 20th September I packed my things and jetted from Melbourne to Sydney to meet the Australian team. I honestly had no idea what to expect… how many Australian are going? What experiences have they been exposed to? Are they from Corporations or Charities? Well just after 6pm all my questions were answered… Triona greeted me at the door of the venue Folonomo which is a NFP café/restaurant in Surrey Hills Sydney – the venue itself is beautiful and the concept of using the profits from the revenue generated to go back into the community is a great one.
What I learnt early was that Australia has 35 delegates from all corners of the country of which 18 were attending the dinner. I spent particular time with a young gentleman Charles – who is a student representing CA (Chartered Accountants) and a very switched on Michelle who works for a refugee integration company in Parramatta. They are both focusing on refugee initiatives and wish to understand what people are doing globally to bring back ideas and potential partnerships to tackle the refugee crisis. It was particularly interesting to hear from these two as one of the main objectives from the WU team is to focus and better understand the refugee circumstances and also develop a strategy to leverage education and skill sets to integrate refugees back into society through to WU Foundation.
The second event I attended was honestly remarkable, I was invited to attend a tea with the High Commissioner of Canada, Paul Maddison… It felt like I had made it to the ‘table’.
So, on the 24th September after a 6am start at work to service my clients after Janet Yellen of the Federal Reserve System made her rate announcement, I boarded a flight to Canberra at about 11 in the morning. Similarly to the Sydney Dinner, I couldn’t stop thinking how privileged I was to be in this position… However I was also ‘wigging out’ because this was no ordinary meeting. You assume a tea would be fairly intimate right? Well it was…
As my taxi rolled up to the Canadian High Commission in Canberra, I saw another OYW representative who was at the dinner in Sydney – Brad. He is representing Westpac and works in their commercial projects team. We hit it off straight away in Sydney as he is a big AFL man… Which you would expect from an Adelaide local. We went through security which was tighter than anything at the airport and had to surrender our phones (sorry no photos) to security at the boom gates.
As we entered the Commissioners tea room, we were joined by 3 other Westpac delegates; Amy, Louise and Brenton…. SORRY TO CRASH THE WESTPAC PARTY LEGENDS!!! Haha, we all had a laugh! As we all got comfortable, the commissioner made his way into the room.
Now, what we discussed must stay strictly between the 4 walls of the tea room of course 🙂 … haha only kidding!
The commissioner kicked things off with a quick overview of his responsibilities in Australia and then opened up the table to an open discussion. The environment and climate change was the most discussed topic, however we tipped our hats to the refugee crisis and equality.
It was interesting to hear about the initiatives the Canadian Government is undertaking with refugees. The recently elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau successfully relocated 25,000 refugees by February and his quest is to forever make these people feel welcomed in his country and integrate back into society.
I asked a fairly raw and direct question around the urgency of what happens between closed doors on climate change and the world leader’s ability and actually execute and deliver on the frameworks agreed on.
The commissioner smiled as the topic is certainly ‘political’. However he emphasised that the intent to change the world for better is there… it just comes down to working together and navigating through sometime challenging bureaucracy to get to where they need to get to.
The tea wrapped up after a couple of hours and I headed back to Melbourne.
Well, I better get packing! Catch you in Canada!