After an elegant Nordic lunch, the TYF delegates fill several rows of chairs in front of an small stage and screen. Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke asks the crowd of delegates, “Why are you here?”
A few are brave enough to call out answers. They hail from Thailand, Myanmar, India, Montenegro and Pakistan.
“To make change in the world.”
“To solve problems together as a team.”
“We as humans need to coexist and live together.”
Sigve responds to each person in turn, sometimes with a phrase in that person’s native tongue. He goes on to demystify Telenor’s decision to run the youth forum four years in a row.
“We are a business with a higher purpose,” he says. “We are in thirteen markets around the world, and we want to be a long term operator in those places, helping to grow societies.”
Telenor is a business, he concedes, and that means they are interested in return on investment. This weekend, they invest in the future. Both future of our planet, and the individual futures of the 26 young people who have been selected for the program.
Sigve is followed by Telenor’s major partner in this TYF enterprise, Nobel Peace Center Executive Director Liv Tørres.
“We are a museum. We will soon open a fantastic new exhibit with President Santos,” says Liv. “But we are also a societal actor. We want to make positive change in the world.”
She reminds us that many of the delegates come from areas of the world that have witnessed conflict, wars, human rights crises first hand. Where the 17 Global Goals Telenor has enumerated may seem distant to most of us, for some of the delegates, the effects of these complex problems are imminent and personal.
People often ask Liv how to win a peace prize. And legally, she can’t tell them. But she gives the group some key advice as they pursue solutions that will change the world.
- Be yourselves. Every peace prize laureate started where you started.
- Don’t think all the questions have been answered. They haven’t.
- Learn from what others have done before, and adjust based on current needs and possibilities.
- Nothing comes out of the blue. Talk about your ideas.
- Listen to people. Know when to take criticism and when to stay the course.
- Most importantly, set your goals. Don’t think of what to do next. Think of what you want to achieve.
“Yes, you will have to change your strategy now and then and regularly,” says Liv. She points to the example of 2016 Nobel Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos, the President of Columbia. Almost no one alive in Columbia today has lived in peace times. Santos’s goal from the beginning was peace. He had to change his strategies over and over, but he always knew where he wanted to go. Though the population claimed to want peace, in October, they voted against the agreement President Santos negotiated with the FARC.
“After the public referendum, Santos admits he was depressed for a few hours,” says Liv. “Then he rolled up his sleeves and tried again.”
In November, Santos and the Columbian government signed another peace deal with the FARC, this time without the need for a public vote.
Spark, the TYF Asia winning team, presents briefly on their project to end joblessness before it begins, including the most important lessons they learned from the TYF program. Then the 2016 delegates walk to The Hub at Telenor’s headquarters in Fornebu to learn which teams they’ll be on and which global goals they will tackle.
This year, the Telenor Youth Forums’ Global Goals are:
- Education for young refugees
- Climate change
- Unemployment and social instability
- Gender equality
- Mental health
Check out the compelling video packages for each of these challenges below. And wish the delegates luck!
Photos: Ihne Pedersen