On Wednesday evening (4 October), Ulster University hosted an event welcoming over 100 of the One Young World Ambassadors onto the Belfast campus for an evening themed around “How can we fight inequality through education?”.
During the event, representatives from Ulster University shared insights into the University’s strategic plan centered on ‘People, Place, and Partnership,’ specifically sharing the university’s efforts to widen access to education for local communities throughout Northern Ireland. Local school and community groups also attended to share with the audience how our partnerships are making strides in extending education opportunities to all.
Afterwards, Ambassadors were invited to reflect on a Summit keynote speech they heard earlier in the week by HM Queen Rania of Jordan who encouraged them to “pass on a better world” to those who follow, as they dined on locally and sustainably sourced cuisine.
In the same space where earlier this year, President Joe Biden made his key address, Ambassadors heard about the amazing work happening at Include Youth by guest speaker John McComb, who provided insights on how they have adopted a transformative, youth-work-based approach to educational attainment.
Mary Montgomery, Principal of Belfast Boys' Model School also addressed the audience describing the paths to achievement for her pupils, most of which are from a working-class background in historically one of the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland.
To round up the evening and as a symbolic gesture, Ambassadors were invited to plant wildflower seeds on campus, creating a rooftop ‘One Young World Garden’ to commemorate the Summit’s visit to Belfast during the 25th Anniversary year since the Good Friday Agreement.
Dr Laura Bradley McCauley, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Ulster University Business School said: “We were delighted to host over 120 One Young World Ambassadors at the Ulster University campus in Belfast. The University has a longstanding tradition of addressing equality and widening participation in higher education and thereby addressing inequality in Northern Ireland. Hosting these future global leaders has allowed us to share our vision and best practice, in collaboration with our education partners, of how we address inequality by transforming the lives of our students in a place of study where we empower “each person to become their ‘best self’”. By sharing our successes and learnings the young leaders can take away practices to positively impact inequality globally.”
The wider summit will explore themes such as sustainability, peace and reconciliation, the food crisis, and mental health, with notable guests including world-renowned signer Sir Bob Geldof; Former Irish President, Mary Robinson; Former international football star and pundit, Rio Ferdinand OBE; Author, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe; Founder of Grameen Bank, Professor Muhammad Yunus, and former international football star, Didier Drogba.
The One Young World Summit will continue in Montréal, Canada next year.