The ninth One Young World Summit, which was held in The Hague in late October, provided an exciting forum for the future. The BMW Group was represented at the congress by 36 delegates from ten different countries. The young people came together with committed international participants from a wide range of different disciplines to discuss economic, political and social problems and develop innovative new solutions together. One of this year’s delegates, Maximilian Hahn, shares an exclusive first-hand account of his One Young World experience.
The 27-year-old spent four days with participants from all over the world, discussing issues that are very important to him, such as social responsibility. Maximilian has been with the BMW Group for 11 years and is currently spending four years working in Aftersales in the US. He kept a detailed account of his time at the forum and what he learned.
I am used to traveling quite a bit for work, so I know what to pack and how to time things. This time is a little bit different, as there is no way to prepare or know what to expect. Normally, I go to workshops or suppliers with targets and outcomes – I am used to prepping for that.
I spent last night doing a lot of research about OYW, what it does and what I can contribute. I have to say, I am getting more and more excited. I hope I packed the right clothes and that it will be great. Soon, I will meet the BMW delegation and people from all over the world. I feel very honoured to be participating in the event itself, but particularly, to be a delegate of such a great company like the BMW Group.
Maybe I will meet another OYW participant on the train or at the airport during transit. I will keep my eyes open.
Arrival Day 1:
I arrived around 8 am at Schiphol Airport. I admit, I thought every person in the right age range could be going to OYW. Making my way to the train, I met three other OYW delegates from Canada. This was off to a great start! I passed through wonderful countryside with beautiful windmills before I got to The Hague, which itself was golden with sunshine. The city is very young with good vibes. Staying up, working and walking around a bit at night, I learned about Santa Claus coming on 5 December in the Netherlands, bringing typical treats. What a wonderful culture this country has! I am excited for tomorrow, but can feel the jetlag today.
BMW Group Workshop at BMW Netherlands: I just got into the BMW NSC building and feel very special to be able to experience this. We will likely be asked about our expectations: Mine really is to be able to properly answer the question “What is OYW?” when I go home. Right now, I can only tell from webpages and what I learned from the internal briefings. I met the US delegation for breakfast and they are all great, impressive, young people. Can't wait to meet everybody else soon. We are now in the café and will head to the networking event.
Day 3 - 4:
The summit began early Wednesday morning with the pick-up from the hotel. It was very exciting, because the morning was still filled with emotions from the previous night; it was actually hard to fall asleep. Kate and David (Editor’s Note: Kate Robertson and David Jones, Founders of One Young World) opened the ceremonies each day with motivating words. On Wednesday, I learned a lot about social entrepreneurship and how people have turned negative and tragic feelings into positive energy and changed the world. This is such an inspiration. Since Wednesday, I have been asking myself what I can do. The message is still that it can be something small and to do something is what counts. There is NO excuse not to do anything or accept problems.
The BMW Group delegation is getting closer and closer and I am very impressed with the entire team. Everybody deserves their place here, representing the BMW Group. We are all very close, but during the day also spend time with other young leaders from around the world. It is nice to talk to familiar faces though, I have to admit.
On Friday, our Board of Management member Peter Schwarzenbauer gave his presentation. He met us the night before. It was quite interesting to see him doing his part. Peter himself does a lot in the social area.
A lot of delegates from the OYW have commented to me on how they liked the BMW Group presentation from three of our fellow delegates and Peter. This made me quite proud.
The last day has started. Everybody was a little bit tired in the morning. Nevertheless, we still walked to the Worldforum in The Hague. The stories we heard and information we learned are slowly changing me. Problems seem to be put into perspective, which I consider one of the main impacts of the summit.
The closing ceremony was in the Circus Theatre just 20 minutes from the Worldforum. We had a person talk to us about setting up a school for refugees. Out of nothing! The summit was over and excitement for [the next event in] London is already building.
We meet at eight in the hotel for the final internal BMW Group workshop, which was very good to set expectations, brainstorm and say goodbye. In my personal opinion, an unbelievable group of young people came up with so many ideas and such motivation. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this. I am excited!
Day 6 - Travel day, return:
I get up early in the morning to travel back home to the US. I feel different, which leads me back to the first day. This was a very different kind of business trip. Everything I did, i.e. drinking water from a plastic cup, waiting in the check-in line or interacting with my fellow humans, was different. Made me think quite a bit about what I can do to make things better. I am looking forward to talking to my managers, colleagues and friends about the summit. I am thinking of some things I want to change within the BMW Group.
Thank you for allowing me to be a delegate at this year’s One Young World in The Hague.
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