One Young World is nicknamed the “Junior Davos Forum,” referring to the world economic summit that reunites all of the world’s leaders at the end of every January. Every year since 2010, the event has brought together thousands of managers aged between 18 and 30 years old from corporations and NGOs. This year, 2000 young leaders came from 190 countries. The goal? “Identify, promote, and introduce the young leaders to one another to create a better world with more responsible, efficient leadership.”
The idea behind the event is to allow participants to meet, exchange, and come up with concrete solutions to global issues such as poverty, education, gender equality and the environment.
Questioning the world today
David Jones summed up the event, of which he is a cofounder: “At a time when the lack of great world leaders is alarming, the role of One Young World— amplifying the voices and activism of young leaders— has never been so important.”
During each summit, workshops and conferences led by opinion leaders, entrepreneurs and activists who inspired participants. Among them were the musician and activist Bob Geldof, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and the former President of Ireland (1990-1997), Mary Robinson.
Vismay Sharma, L’Oréal’s UK Managing Director of the UK & Ireland, gave a conference titled “Can Businesses Solve Social Problems?”. He is the fourth company member to speak before these future leaders, after Emmanuel Lulin, Nour Tayara and Bernard Dingemans.
From inspiration to action
L’Oréal has been sending delegations of young managers to One Young World since 2012. In the beginning, 23 employees attended the event. In 2019, 51 young managers from 16 countries were selected and sent to represent the company, meaning that our number of participants has more than doubled since our first year at the event. Involving as many employees as possible gives us an opportunity to make a real difference in the world.
For these young leaders, the adventure doesn’t stop once the event is over as they commit to continuing their efforts for one year. Upon their return, they work on their projects in groups and present them before an internal jury.
A concrete impact
In Seven Years, Over 250 of our employees have participated in this extraordinary event, and a dozen projects have been completed. One example is “Interngration,” a program that gave refugee students internship opportunities. Karam, a young Sudanese who had to flee his country, joined L’Oréal thanks to this program. He worked on our company’s presence at the event, and its success was a personal undertaking for him. In his words, working for One Young World “It resonates with my story because the Interngration programme at L’Oréal was implemented by young leaders who went to One Young World and were inspired to make a difference […] The fact that I’m here is significant. If it can change the life of one, two, or maybe twenty people. It’s already huge.”
It’s a testimony that resonates with all the values our company seeks to convey through its actions and its employees: passion, an open mind, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit.