Being the energetic and proactive person that she is, Lisa van der Heijden was one of our very first EPIC apprentices. During her apprenticeship the Public Leadership Foundation (PLF) linked her to One Young World (OYW). OYW is a UK-based charity that brings together the brightest young leaders from around the world during a annual summit, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change. Next year the summit will take place in The Hague and we are hoping to play an active role. In October OYW 2017 was taking place in Bogotá, Colombia, and guess who went to it? Lisa bloged, vloged and looked back an intense and amazing summit.
“Colombia was amazing and at the same time it startled me. After I got back I got a lot of questions about One Young World Bogota and my answer was the same every time: I don’t know yet. And ever since I have kept this feeling.
One Young World Bogota was amazing, because I got the opportunity to meet all kinds of new people around the globe. I got to see keynote speakers such as Kofi Annan and Muhammed Yunus. They already have showed that they are MAD and they are known for their actions to build a better world
One Young World Bogota was also eye-opening. People from Afghanistan, Jerusalem, Colombia and Kenia who witnessed the horrors of war first hand. Who actually have seen the terror of hate and its consequences. People who survived genocide or being kidnapped by the guerilla.
One Young World Bogota was also really intense. I have never been known as a woman who cries a lot. But everytime I heard a personal story of a young person who, for example, has seen how his father is murdered in front of his eyes, and still was able to forgive this people, made me cry. A young woman who was going to be killed because of her nationality. Read this sentence one more time: because of her nationality! People are buried alive because of their nationality in Kurdistan. It is something we see as something from the past, but this is not true. The world we are currently living in, is not different from the world we lived in hundred years ago.
One Young World made me realize that we are far away from One World. We are treating people less than ourselves, we are discriminating towards other minds and we don’t respect those with a different religion or background. We do not listen to each other. We only listen to ourselves. And this made me sad, it made me realize that we are no better men than those before us. It made me realize that for achieving One World we have to stop thinking in terms of religion, in terms of language and in terms of boundaries.
Of course, One Young World was not only a sad experience. It also showed that a lot of people are already building a better world. A lot of people are MAD! It is up to us to build a better world, not only for our generation, but also for the ones to come. It is up to us to stop talking and to start listening. It is up to us to solve worldwide problems by thinking in terms of one race: being a human.
I do not know what the future holds, but I do know that I want to contribute. I want to contribute in building a better world by creating a better governance structure in which society, private and public sector are coming together to solve boundary-crossing issues by thinking in terms of unity and letting go the boundaries that have been dividing us all these years.”
– Lisa van der Heijden
Check out more of Lisa’s experiences during One Young World – Bogotá: