Rimla Akhtar arrives in Canada for One Young World Summit
For the past 15 years all I’ve been doing is working on my passion. I’ve been passionate about sport and about the development of our global community through and within sport.
I’ve been able to combine these passions in my work as an Inclusion and Diversity Consultant at my social enterprise business, RimJhim Consulting. What has made this combination powerful, however, is the CA education that I’ve had.
When I began my CA education, I was totally focused on getting through it whilst performing to the best of my ability at PwC and I never imagined that I’d be where I am today, working on what I love on a daily basis. I also never imagined that I would be crowned the One Young CA for 2016 and be here today in Ottawa, Canada, as the ICAS representative at the One Young World conference.
One Young World is the preeminent global forum for young leaders and gathers the brightest young leaders from around the world, offering a platform to affect change at a global level. As such, I’m really looking forward to making lasting connections and contributing to developing solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.
This is an unparalleled opportunity that ICAS has provided for me to become connected with over 8000 young leaders driving positive change across the globe.
The one feeling that has permeated is excitement. From the reception held at Canada House for UK delegates to One Young World delegates taking over the flight to Ottawa itself.
Left to right: Louw Barnardt, SAICA; Olivia MacDonald, CAI; Katie Feld, ICAEW; Rimla Akhtar MBE CA, ICAS; Charles Zhang, CAANZ; Keisha Taura, CAANZ; Wesley Lye, ISCA.
The main stand out point is the diversity at this Summit. Apart from the Olympic Games, no youth led movement represents as many nationalities as the One Young World Summit. There are over 1300 young people here from every country in the world – this was very evident at the Opening Ceremony tonight, which was held at Parliament Hill.
The reach of this network was also clear to see with speeches at this Opening Ceremony coming from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who encouraged all delegates to “create a future that we will all be proud of”.
We also had the opportunity to hear from a diverse group of heavyweights across the globe. Kofi Annan spoke of the need for us to not rely on governments and insttutions but to create change ourselves. Sir Bob Geldof spoke to us all about the need for action now in challenging ourselves and challenging global institutions through action. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus touched on his desire to create three zeros – zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions.
Professor Yunus also held his own pre-Summit event, which involved an inspirational talk on the power of social business. He encouraged young people in the audience to launch enterprises that solve the problems that we see in our world. He pointed to the ability of businesses to be independent and sustainable and spoke about how his answer to every local or global issue he meets is to “create a business”. My own social enterprise was created to do just that.
I took the opportunity to ask Professor Yunus a question about how he has experienced the role of institutions, including business, and communities, including our families, in supporting the creation of narratives that enable young people to hook into the innate creativity of which he spoke in his talk.
My own personal experience of leaving the finance industry to pursue my passion need not be the way of working in the future, if businesses can harness that energy and drive to create change and provide a safe space to nourish and nurture it whilst their young people are working with their organisations.
Being a part of the delegation of Chartered Accountants Worldwide has also meant I’ve had the immense pleasure to meet peers from across the world who are being great young leaders in their own countries and doing their Institutes proud. I’m very much looking forward to spending the next few days with this group and the wider One Young World community.