Eye-opening experience of a World Summit Youth Awards’ winner.
One year ago, I would never have imagined myself flying halfway across the globe to new York in the United States. But there I was, an eager bright-eyed Malaysian boy in the city of bagels, Yellow Cabs, and Gossip Girl.
Then again, I had also not thought that the environmental project I started with my schoolmate, Amirul Shazwan, would win the World Summit Youth Awards (WSYA). The WSYA is a worldwide competition that honours young people who used the Internet or mobile media to support the United nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a set of eight goals which aims to end world poverty by 2015.
Our project, called “Colour Me Green Campaign”, is a call to youths in Malaysia to start taking environmental action and telling their stories through social media. Participants in this campaign are required to complete a range of tasks ranging from executing environmental projects to implementing new policies within their schools.
The campaign was selected from 630 entries from 102 countries to top the Go Green category in the WSYA. It was one of the 18 winning projects in the six WSYA categories.
“These projects are not randomly collected. Rather, they are the result of a global competition to find the best digital, interactive media contents and applications to create awareness of the MDGs, show actions towards reaching these and demonstrate the consequences of inaction of counter-action.
“The categories of WSYA are tied directly to the eight United nations (Un) MDGs and the effectiveness of submissions to result in action. An international jury of young experts have done the evaluation in two rounds,” said Peter A. Bruck, chairman of the World Summit Awards.
Winning the award gave us the opportunity to go to new York during the Un MDG Review Summit last month, where we were able to present our project to government and business leaders, representatives of civil society and an international community world. After the event, I can safely say that I have a network in about 20 countries.
“The best part was getting to meet the young and brilliant brains who believe in new media technologies and are implementing them successfully in their communities,” says Anshul Tewari from India.
All the winners had a good time learning about each other’s work during the four-day conference. It was impressive to see the level of effort and commitment put into their projects.
“I got inspired by my fellow winners because they are doing hard work. Their activities made me think about different ways to make my work more efficient in Mexico,” added Rafael Rivera from Mexico.
I left new York empowered knowing that I’m not alone in my efforts, and that there are people out there too who care and who are not afraid to think big.
everyone saw an issue that needed to be addressed and instead of sitting around complaining about the lack of action, took matters into their own hands to change the world in their own way.
One might think that changing the world would be an impossible task. It is, for one person.
Change happens when everyone starts doing their part.
We took the MDGs to the streets on our second day in new York. The Stand Up rally was held at the Lincoln Centre to protest against poverty before the Un MDG Summit where world leaders discuss goals they have set.
We decorated out shirts with slogans and made posters with captions like “1.4 billion under a dollar”. Yes, 1.4 billion people are living on less than a dollar a day.
The turnout at the rally was lacklustre but that didn’t dampen our spirits as we did our bit to bring awareness on the need to eradicate poverty.
The WSYA winners also visited Bloomberg, a global media company, and Wunderman, an advertising company.
“It was very interesting to see some of the winners present their projects and hear the experts’ comments and advise on how to improve the website capabilities to attract a larger audience, raise awareness and make a greater impact with their projects,” said Anush Hayrapetyan, a WSYA winner from Armenia.
We presented our project and were given feedback on ways to improve it, like changing
World Summit Youth Award winners championing their cause at the Stand Up rally in New York. the website interface in a certain way to enhance user experience.
There were also discussion regarding the media; where it is heading in the future and how media companies are evolving to meet the public’s demand for more accessible content.
Our new York experience was also valuable because we met like-minded peers who are enthusiastic about making this a better world.
“I loved the fact that we could meet and network with some of the best minds in the q Stanley Liew and Amirul Shazwan are 18, and study at Kolej Tuanku Jaafar, Negri Sembilan. Visit http://www.colourmegreencampaign.com/ to learn about Stanley and Amirul’s award-winning project. Forgotten Diaries (www.forgottendiaries.org) — Forgotten Diaries aims to raise awareness of youth living in such conflict zones and also aims to empower these young people to build a culture of peace and non-violence in their communities and start youthled community development projects. JOIN Informed Youngsters (www.join.org.mx) — JOIn Informed Youngsters is an online magazine that allows Mexican people to write proposals for improving their country. They talk about politics, science, technology, and society. Afrique In Visu/Africa In Vision (www.afriqueinvisu.org) — Afrique In Visu is the first network and exchange platform for photographers who are working in Africa. They are based in Paris but their community is mostly in Africa. Anti Hivirus (www.vir.us) — This project if part of a worldwide online campaign. It is an educational program with the goal of reducing the number of new HIV infections. There are six animated episodes to educate and inform the public on HIV and AIDS. We Are All Laila (www.kolenalaila.com/en) — This is an online, independent, non-profit initiative to empower women in the Arab world. It aims to motivate females to speak up and express their social frustrations using any language of form of expression they feel comfortable with, while also welcoming men to take part in the conversations.
Stanley (left) and the other participants hard at work preparing for the Stand Up rally. The online environmental campaign that won the World Youth Summit Award recently.