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The city is a frontrunner in the race to host the One Young World Summit in 2012 and to clinch it, residents and businesses have been urged to support the bid.
JOBURG needs your support: South Africa’s economic capital is in the running to host the annual international One Young World Summit in 2012, but it cannot do so without the help of its residents.


JTC CEO Lindiwe Kwele Hosting the youth summit will be a plus for Joburg, says JTC CEO Lindiwe KweleIn December 2010, the Johannesburg Convention and Events Bureau, which is a division of the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC), submitted a bid to host the third global conference. It was supported by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, but there has been a call for more commitment from the city.

In response, the JTC is hosting a breakfast at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst on 30 June in an attempt to garner the support of various African embassies, consulates and corporations. These large companies are being urged to sponsor at least 10 African delegates to this year’s summit, which is being held in Zurich, in Switzerland, in September.

“While the jury’s still out on which city will host the global One Young World Summit in 2012, Johannesburg is a frontrunner in the race, confident that it will be bringing this exciting event to Joburg next year,” said the JTC’s chief executive, Lindiwe Kwele.

One Young World is a forum for young people of leadership calibre. Its purpose is to connect the brightest youth and ensure that their concerns and solutions are taken seriously by people in power. The first summit was hosted in London in 2010; since then, 823 people under the age of 25 from 114 countries have made an impact in areas such as business, media, environment, interfaith dialogue, health and political leadership development.

One such example is South African delegate, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, whose project champions the African renaissance by engaging with student leaders from universities across Africa.

“Clinching the bid for 2012 is important for Johannesburg on so many levels,” Kwele said. “Africa is the continent with the largest proportion of youth and it would be significant to host this event on a continent which so many young people call home and which offers so many opportunities and challenges.

“As the African continent’s most accessible hub and vibrant business location, Joburg makes sense as an appropriate destination to inspire youthful leadership, networking and brainstorming solutions to issues across the spectrum – from health care, development, finance and business to social issues and politics,” she said.

Joburg is also a fitting city to host the summit as 42 percent of the population is under the age of 24 and 49 percent is under the age of 34.

Consequently, there are a number of youth development initiatives in place. For instance, Joburg has community-based youth advisory centres that are managed through the Mayor’s Office.

Catherine Peter, the Africa director of One Young World, said: “What One Young World really is, is a brilliant network of extraordinary shared accountability, a rare and unique platform to engage the world’s youth on what matters now, and what will matter the most tomorrow.”

At the inaugural summit in London in 2010, six resolutions were tabled as the most pressing contemporary issues:

Political leaders need to make clear their stances on humanitarian issues;
Global business need to define and act on its role in the fight against poverty;
Leaders and followers of all faiths need to commit to delivering peace among all nations, races and creeds;
Media need to use their influence to help protect truth and personal freedom;
Governments need to take more legislative action to guarantee that carbon emissions reduction targets are agreed on and met by 2020; and
Businesses, governments and civil society must work together to prioritise health care and nutrition.
Dialogue and debate on the issues have been encouraged and facilitated by world leaders such as former South African president, Thabo Mbeki; Tutu; and former Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to name just a few, and will continue to be the focus of the summits.

Should Joburg win the bid to host the summit in 2012, it will keep the focus firmly on facilitating debate and raising awareness in these arenas.

“The opportunity to host One Young World in Johannesburg will provide us with the platform to share ideas on the importance of developing youth into future leaders, learning from both developing and developed countries,” Kwele said.

For more information and to support Joburg’s bid to host the One Young World Summit in 2012, visit the summit’s Joburg Facebook page.

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