This weekend I will be representing Ottawa as one of 250 Curators from around the world attending the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Annual Curators Meeting (ACM) in Geneva, Switzerland (August 17-20, 2013).
The Global Shapers is an international network of city-based Hubs developed and led by leaders between the ages of 20 and 30 who use their entrepreneurialism to serve society. In this context, each Hub undertakes at least one project per year designed to enrich their local community.
There are currently 265 Hubs and over 2,600 Global Shapers undertaking 130 projects in their communities.
To this end, in May of this year the Ottawa Global Shapers were joined by the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, at a press conference to launch the Ottawa Hub and to share plans of our first official project: "What Has Social Innovation Done for You Lately?"
It is a unique traveling photo exhibition depicting innovative Canadian-led projects, programs and organizations dedicated to improving social, cultural, environmental and economic challenges for the benefit of people and the planet.
The Ottawa Global Shapers at the Official Hub Launch with the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson and representatives from Invest Ottawa. Photo by Komal Minhas on May 15, 2013 at HazloLaw, 449 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Canada.
Already at the international level, Ottawa Global Shapers join the ranks of some 300 young leaders who have participated in the World Economic Forum's activities around the world. This includes the Annual Curator's Meeting in Zermatt and the Annual General meeting in Davos, both in Switzerland - as well as the upcoming Annual Meeting of The New Champions in Dalian, China (Sept 11-13, 2013).
Our work abroad has direct implications on the activities we've been spearheading here at home. In the words of our Hub's previous Curator, Hugues Boisvert, the Ottawa Global Shapers are already thinking big, bold and beyond borders, when it comes to how we envision serving the City of Ottawa.
The First National Hub Project: Global Dignity Canada
Last October, over 9,000 students from Nunavut to British Columbia joined 350,000 students in over 50 countries to celebrate Global Dignity Day (GD) in Canada, empowering youth to live with mutual tolerance, kindness and respect.
Established in 2005, by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and Professor Pekka Himanen, GD is linked to the 2020 process of the World Economic Forum, in which leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society join efforts to improve the state of the world.
In this respect, the Ottawa Global Shapers had the privilege of rolling-out GD nationally with the support of the Canadian icon, Max Keeping, who chaired our local fundraising event at City Hall.
We were also honoured with the support of our National Role Models (2012), who included: NDP MP Niki Ashton, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Senator Yonah Martin, The Founder of TakingITGlobal, Jennifer Corriero and Jeffrey Copenace from the Assembly of First Nations, to name a few.
Culminating with a national videoconference on Parliament Hill, which linked 1,200 students from across Canada, we were thrilled with the enthusiasm and support that GD received from all walks of life!
Given its tremendous ability to bring people together around meaningful causes, GD has become the first national Canadian Hub project. To this effect, the initiative has brought together Global Shapers as City Chairs and Champions from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver with the aim of empowering youth to lead and live with dignity this upcoming Global Dignity Day (October 16th, 2013).
The Annual Curators Meeting (August 17-20, 2013)
The programme of the upcoming ACM will focus on strengthening and energizing the vision, values and culture of the Global Shapers community and will aim to ensure the success and sustainability of each Hub and the greater network.
On Sunday, I will personally be leading two sessions at the ACM:
The first session, "Leveraging Social Media: A Learning Journey," explores innovative ways to scale local Hub projects through the use of new media and technologies.
The second will introduce and explore Global Dignity Day as a national Canadian hub project, during the session "Local Superheroes: Creating impact in cities around the world." This session is designed to share the most interesting projects from Hubs all over the world with the entire Global Shapers Community.
Ultimately, it is my hope that the upcoming meeting will permit the Global Shapers from Ottawa around the world to channel their tremendous energy and enthusiasm towards building a more peaceful, prosperous and inclusive world - one city at a time.