Helping 20-Somethings Shape the Future

One Young World Prepares for First Summit

By Published on .

Today's 20-somethings see themselves as environmentally conscious and say that human rights should weigh more than politics, according to a new study from One Young World, a global nonprofit organization created as a platform for the voice of the next generation of world leaders. The organization was founded by David Jones, CEO, Havas Worldwide, and global CEO, Euro RSCG Worldwide, and Kate Robertson, U.K. group chairman, Euro RSCG Worldwide.

The global survey of 23- to 27-year-olds is part of a three-phase study to help shape the One Young World Inaugural Summit, which will be held Feb. 8-10, 2010, in London. The summit is planned as the first of a yearly global gathering of future leaders that represents the most populated regions and countries, as opposed to the richest or most influential. Among those attending will be One Young World Counselors Kofi Annan, seventh secretary-general of the U.N.; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Irish musician and activist Bob Geldof; and social media activist Oscar Morales.

Launched in conjunction with the release of the study was a YouTube contest, open to people from around the world who were born after 1984, and the third phase of the study, which is open online to people born after 1984. Winners of the YouTube contest, based on votes by the YouTube community, will be invited to be delegates at the 2010 summit.

The global surveys, monitored by research consultancy YouGovStone, were started with Phase I, which was completed in June 2008. Phase II, which covers views on the environment, business, politics, media and religion, surveyed more than 9,000 20-somethings from 22 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, the Middle East and North Africa.

Among the findings:

  • 80% agreed that people are not taking enough responsibility for their own carbon footprint. In newly industrialized nationals, 50% feel optimistic about the future of the planet while in advanced economies, that drops to 28%.
  • While the majority said that multinational corporations must behave responsibly and ethically, only 26% to 31% said they believe this is possible.
  • A small percentage of respondents said their concerns are properly represented by their politicians, with people living in the Middle East being the largest group at 45%.
  • 76% of those in newly industrialized nations and 85% in developing nations support media regulation, compared with 64% in advanced nations. Globally, more than 65% said they get their news on the Internet.
  • Showing concern that religious conflict will be prevalent in the 21st century, 80% agreed that war must never be carried out in the name of religion. Respondents in the Middle East and North Africa did not participate in this section of the survey.

"The way to create a better future is to listen to and empower the leaders of the future," Mr. Jones said in announcing the survey results. "The digital revolution has not only given this generation of young people access to knowledge and information on an unprecedented scale, but it has also given them massive influence. We've founded One Young World to help empower the leaders of tomorrow to shape a better future."

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