“About 896 million people in developing countries live on $1.90 a day or less. The number of people living as refugees is highest for the first time since World War 2. One in nine people in the world does not have enough to eat. More than 226 million children do not attend secondary school. 2.4 billion people do not have adequate sanitation. In addressing these and many other global challenges, where do young people come in? And do we see the person as a problem or a solution?,” WYA President Lord Pomperada addressed the youth delegates of the 2016 International Conference on Global Participation and Humanitarianism held from October 14-16, 2016 at Taipei City, Taiwan.
Lord presented three myths about young people today namely young people are not ready, the youth is a lazy generation and young people don’t care to make a difference. “Are young people a problem or a solution? Well, for me and I’m sure for everyone here in the room would agree with me that young people are part of the solution. Young people are dreamers, innovators, and creative problem solvers,” Lord shared to the delegates.
He then presented some of the stories of WYA members and other young people around the world who are making a difference in addressing global challenges like poverty, climate change and health among others. “These young people and millions of other young people around the world like you prove that the myths that I mentioned aren’t true. Young people are inspired, passionate and want to be involved,” Lord added.
Lord also introduced WYA’s history and shared some of the work that WYA is doing around the world to build a global coalition of young people who actively promotes human dignity in policy and culture. He then invited the youth leaders to join WYA and become dignity defenders.
“Have you ever thought of what the world will be 10, 50 or 100 years from now? As you move forward with the different activities during this conference and in drafting the Youth Declarations, I want you to ask yourselves: What kind of world do I want to leave to the future generations? And how can we make that happen?” Lord shared with the delegates.
“My challenge to all of you is to chase your dreams (and never give up), contribute to your community (and country) and to promote human dignity (respect others, believe in yourself and be good leaders). Young people are not only the leaders of the future. They’re the great leaders of today. To close, your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring. Continue to make a difference. I believe in you, you can do it!” Lord shares as he concluded his presentation.
“You meet people in life who make an impression, and this man definitely left an impression. With such inspiring words, how could one not be left in awe and with enough motivation to begin on the path to change?” shared one of the delegates from Ireland.
The keynote speech was followed by a panel discussion where Lord Pomperada and Mr. Wasantha Karunarathna, Secretary for Youth Affairs of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, answered questions from the youth delegates. The panel discussion was moderated by Professor Kwei-Bo Huang.
“I was deeply motivated and empowered after listening to the speech. With such encouragement, I would pay more effort for the positive changes towards our future world. My dream is to devote myself in social enterprises, hopefully contributing to the development of the society,” another delegate from Taiwan shared after the panel discussion.
This year’s Annual Youth Conference on Global Participation and Humanitarianism was participated by over 200 youth delegates from Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America. The gathering was organized by Taiwan’s Youth Development Administration.
WYA wishes to thank the Youth Development Administration (YDA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for their generous invitation especially to YDA Director General Dr. Lo Ching-shui. WYA also wanted to thank the officials of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in New York especially Ambassador Lily Hsu for their generosity and continual support to WYA’s mission.