Over four days, around 60 young BMW Group talents attended the One Young World Summit, drawing inspiration from renowned speakers from the worlds of business, politics, sports and culture. Now, they have joined forces and aim to present an action plan in the coming weeks that will help make the world a better place.
If you ask Frederique Albrecht, Philippa Green and Sina Beckmann which of the many speakers at the One Young World Summit 2021 (OYW) moved them the most, they are all surprisingly in agreement: Sarah Mardini, the young woman who fled Syria five years ago as a 17-year-old. On stage in the Olympiahalle, Mardini gave the more than 2,000 delegates attending the OYW Summit in-person and virtually a moving account of her odyssey across eight countries, during which she and her sister swam for three-and-a-half hours, dragging an overcrowded, and, ultimately, severely damaged, dinghy behind them until they had almost reached Lesbos. “She was brave; she didn’t give up and she fought hard – even though she was later accused of human trafficking for rescuing the refugees,” says Albrecht. To this day, the now 26-year-old Sarah Mardini serves as a special envoy for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), helping people with similar fates.
But other speakers also showed the delegates that it is worth driving the changes that are needed with their own ideas and projects. This year’s OYW Summit, held under the motto of “innovation”, also highlighted entirely new approaches – such as digital influencer Noonoouri. Noonoouri is a digital character with more than 200,000 followers on Instagram, controlled by artificial intelligence, who advocates for environmental and climate change issues, as well as human rights, in the world of fashion. “It made me understand that we can’t afford to wait. We need to act now if we want to change anything – and there will always be different, sometimes surprising ways to really have an impact,” says Beckmann, who followed the OYW Summit online from Berlin for the four days.
Thinking about and actively shaping the future today is not just the vision of the One Young World organisation; it is also firmly anchored in the BMW Group’s consciousness. At the big closing ceremony at BMW Welt, Ilka Horstmeier, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Human Resources and OYW counsellor, had words of encouragement for the delegates: “Every one of us can play our part in saving the planet – and I firmly believe that we will succeed in this.” The young BMW Group talents didn’t need to be told twice. Many of the delegates at the Summit were already able to present their own projects, which contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in the spirit of the OYW and the BMW Group: for instance, by collecting and recycling leftover PVC, making backpacks from old plant overalls or providing schools in South Africa with solar storage systems made from used high-voltage batteries.
But, for the delegates, this is just the beginning. “There is still a lot of potential,” promised Evelin Hartmann and Florian Kantop, who earned enthusiastic applause at the OYW Summit with their recyclable alternative to leather seat covers. To harness this drive and keep the spirit of the OYW alive, the BMW Group's young talents have now joined forces to form their own delegation initiative. They intend to present Ilka Horstmeier with an action plan within the next few weeks.
*All hygienic measures were followed and all participants were COVID-tested.