Look back at the One Young World conference

By Colin Young CA

1 December 2014

A youth leadership conference brought together inspiring people from around the globe, reports ICAS representative Colin Young.

I was very fortunate and proud to be asked to represent ICAS, and be part of the Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) cohort, at the One Young World (OYW) summit, held on 15-19 October 2014 in Dublin.

This international youth leadership conference brought together delegates from across the globe to meet "counsellors" (well-known figures speaking at the event) and tackle major issues including sustainability, conflict resolution, justice and fairness, with a commitment to lasting positive change.

OYW was an exciting event to be involved with. CAW is very new and the summit was a great opportunity to meet with accountants from all over the world and people from lots of other backgrounds.

One of the important activities for me at the conference was to highlight the importance of CAs and what we do. Maybe a lot of people in other fields of business aren't aware of what is involved in being a CA. How many people across the world know about ICAS, for example, and do they know it's the oldest professional body?

Speakers included: 

  • Former Irish president Mary Robinson
  • OYW counsellor Bob Geldof
  • Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny
  • OYW founders David Jones and Kate Robertson.

We had the chance to quiz the counsellors on a wide range of current topics, such as former UN secretary general Kofi Annan; Meghan Markle, of the US TV programme Suits; Anthony Jenkins, CEO of Barclays plc, and Boris Becker, the youngest ever Wimbledon men's singles champion.

I was fortunate to meet Irish CA Ronan Dunne (CEO of Telefonica UK). Like all the counsellors, he was extremely approachable, and supporting and encouraging of all the OYW delegates.

Stand-out moments

The first for me was Yeonmi Park, a 21-year-old North Korean, who told a harrowing tale about what life was like for her family and friends under the country's regime. Speaking out has led to threats of being executed if she ever returns home.

Secondly, at one of the final sessions of the summit, six local speakers, all with different types of disabilities, took to the stage, and left with a standing ovation and tears flowing from everyone in the auditorium. They were the most courageous, enthusiastic and determined characters I have ever listened to. OYW was an incredible, inspiring, humbling and, at times, heartbreaking experience.

On my return from Dublin I began another exciting opportunity, working as a finance analyst with Edrington, one of Scotland's leading international spirits companies, with responsibility for the Russian, Turkish and Eastern Europe markets.

At OYW, it was fantastic to work with and meet so many different people from different cultures, experiences and backgrounds and I strongly believe that this will help me with my new job. Becoming a chartered accountant is a difficult challenge but once in this position, you have the qualities, resources and capabilities to really make a change in this world.

Working with ICAS

I joined the ICAS Grampian Committee when I moved up to Aberdeen. Originally, I was bridging the gap between the Student Society and the local area committee.

I now advise on newly qualified and student participation, trying to bridge the link and get younger member involvement. 

I also attend various events representing the committee and look at planning events for younger members with the committee to help them see the variety of opportunities open to a CA. It is really important to build a community of CAs in Aberdeen where younger members can be supported and advised by older CAs.


  • Development of the profession

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