A captivating performance by world-renowned Colombian Royal Ballet soloist, Fernando Montaño, helped us to celebrate this year’s One Young World Bath Conference on campus this weekend.

The event, only the second year it has run, offered our students a taste of Colombia both through Fernando’s performance and the reflections of our student delegates who attended last year’s One Young World Summit in Bogotá. Also in attendance was Colombian Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Néstor Osorio.

Empowering future leaders

The student-led initiative is encouraging young people aged 18-30 to become future leaders by empowering them to create positive social change. Our One Young World Bath event forms part of the wider One Young World initiative with which our Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences has been involved in for a number of years.

For Saturday’s event, Fernando gave a rare performance of ‘The Golden Dove’, a specially- choreographed routine to mark the historic peace treaty signing in Colombia in 2016.

An ‘in conversation’ with Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) Professor Peter Lambert, which followed, offered the chance for the audience to hear more about Fernando’s own background and his humanitarian work with charity Children Change Colombia.

The UK charity, which Fernando set up, is dedicated to working with children who suffer poverty, violence and exclusion, many of whom have been victims of the civil war in Colombia. Fernando is also a One Young World Counsellor.

Bringing about positive social change

Student organiser Sophie Moody, who shared her experiences of attending One Young World 2017 Bogotá, explained: "I have always been interested in social change, but I feel like One Young World has really set off a spark inside me and given me the confidence to take this further.

"Since returning from Colombia I have been inspired to bring about positive social change myself in any way I can. I have been offered some amazing resources and support from the University which have contributed to delivering events such as today. I am so excited to see what more the University of Bath’s unique relationship with One Young World can bring as we look towards a brighter and better future together."

Fellow organiser Emma Powell added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with One Young World, it has easily been the highlight of my University career. Not only attending events organised by One Young World but having the opportunity to use this platform to host events such as today’s mini caucus. The people I have met and the organisations I have heard about are incredibly inspiring. I have traveled, been part of a working group on domestic violence and created meaningful friendships with people from all around the world.

“I would strongly encourage all students in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to apply for the 2018 sponsored place to The Hague because it can and will change their lives.”

Inspiring experience

Professor Peter Lambert, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) explained: “The University was delighted to host One Young World Bath and to welcome to campus Fernando Montaño and His Excellency, Néstor Osorio. This was a truly inspiring event.

“We are very proud of our long-standing connections with the international One Young World initiative. By bringing One Young World to Bath we’re able to offer this inspiring experience to the widest number of our students, helping to shape and inform today’s young people who will go on to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Other speakers at the event included David Spears, co-founder of the Circle of Young Intrapreneurs; Fatima Zaman of the Kofi Annan Foundation and co-founder of Extremely Together; Duncan Millar - Executive Director, Children Change Colombia; and Dr Jason Hart, Senior Lecturer in International Development within our Centre for Development Studies.