Change Generation. It starts with you and me!

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi


Last month, exactly on the 11th of November, I was fortunate to attend a cross-country youth summit called Change Generation. After returning back to my busyness, I feel indebted to multiply and share the good things I learned from this conference, especially to my fellow young people in Indonesia. So, this article is solely my personal reflection, with a simple-hearted message to ignite some ideas on how youth better collaborate. Okay. Here we begin!

Change Generation summit was initiated by Ashoka (a global organization of social entrepreneurs) in partnership with the Lien Centre for Social Innovation at the Singapore Management University (SMU). SMU is the first Asian institution to join the Ashoka Changemaker Campus network, which is the leading designation for social innovation in higher education, joining institution such as Cornell, Duke and Brown. The university is now poised to provide innovative and impactful research, learning and entrepreneurial opportunities to student and faculty.

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This summit gathered more than 200 young people, parents, social entrepreneurs, business leaders, and educators from across the world. Together, we were connected to each other, we shared and learned, we built spaces of discussion with amazing changemakers from various countries i.e. Pakistan, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Netherland, Belgium, Singapore, Spain, United States, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, South Korea, Germany, UK, South Africa, Peru, Malta, Tanzania, Nigeria, and of course, Indonesia. I was humbly grateful to be able to represent Indonesian youth in the conference.

Among a number of changemakers who attended the summit, there was Tomás Alvarez III, founder of the “Beats Rhymes and Life” from Oakland, United States. Tomás, who was named the 2015 CNN Hero is striving to make the more accessible and meaningful wellness services, therapy and healing for traumatized youth by integrating youth culture such as HipHop music. I also met Yuhyun Park, founder of the “InfollutionZero”. Yuhyun created a model of ethical standards on the use of digital material for children, by developing interactive and fun learning activities so that children will learn to become responsible digital citizens. This model is widespread in Korea. Yuhyun successfully campaigned for a new form of intelligence named Digital Quotient (DQ) in addition to some well-known human intelligence, such as the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient). I also made friend with a Harvard alumnus named Misan Rewane, a high spirited woman who empowers youth in Africa in order to have the employable skills before facing the real world of work. Through WAVE (West Africa Vocational Education) Academy, which she founded, Misan is trying to spark a cultural mindset change of professional excellence that catalyzes Africa’s economic development.

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Left to Right: Tomas Alvarez III, Misan Rewane, Wilibrodus Marianus

Thereupon, with the collective voice with other changemakers, with the spirit to bring changes in the world, I would like to share some main takeaways or key insights from the conference.


  1. CHANGEMAKING, WHY NOW? 

Today, we have 1 (one) billion plus youth in the world, the most in human history. They will become the most influential Change Generation, ever, as long as we prepare them to be. It is our collective responsibility to empower this generation to thrive in a world of accelerated change. Yet, the inescapable truth is that, our current mind-sets and institutionalized systems are outdated to adequately do so. Change Generation is happening now because we recognize the urgent need to act collectively, to create a seismic shift in thought and action, to ensure we are preparing the next generation for constant change, for complex problem solving, creativity, leadership, moral imagination, culture of teamwork, underpinned by a solid skill of empathy. In short, we need to consider the world that is being created for future generations, we need to vouch that our children are not only the most influential yet, but the most influential Change Generation for a better world.


  1. FROM APATHY TO EMPATHY

We’ve been changed over time, but everyone is really committed to one thing, that’s value. As a part of wider society, we need to build more and more conversation about empathy, the basic value to understand other people’s feelings, to put one’s perspective in the other people’s perspective. When we truly understand how people feel, then solutions can be found.


  1. TRUST YOUNG PEOPLE TO LEAD

Give young people the opportunity to lead and have real world experiences, encourage them to start their journey as early as possible. Leadership is not taught but developed through the experience of taking charge. Trust that all young people can contribute and have the ability to make changes. Say yes and support them along the way.


  1. WORK IN ECOSYSTEMS

We need to make change in people’s mindset regarding purpose of education. What is the purpose of education? It’s the realistic idea of well-being, idea of becoming well-being person. The best way for making changes is, get to the small percentage of people who are already moving, connect and collaborate, then learn together about how to get the next group of people coming in. It has been said that only 16% people are needed to create a change in direction. They are Change Leaders. What we need to do is to find the change leaders, the right people who are already doing changemaking, who believe in the education to actually accelerate changemakers. We need to work collectively with parents, teachers, schools, students, policy makers, young leaders, universities, influencers, to empower every young person to contribute positively, to make positive changes in the world.

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Dear fellow young people, I am writing this kinda serious topic while struggling to cope with a prolonged fever and influenza, as I want to protect the insights that I have learned, somewhat serendipitous perspective. I had heard the phrase “citizen of the world” since childhood, and I am very thankful, now I become one. I realized not everyone has this ‘privilege’. Coming from very humble beginning, I know what it’s like to not have much, this invigorated my motivation to make changes, to be a part of the solutions, to become a changemaker. It is our job, to be aware of our ‘privilege’, and use this particular privilege called education to be a responsible part of a worldwide society.

Let’s strive together, hand in hand. Start with small platform then improve along the way. Don’t wait for perfection! Accept failures as feedback process and not as a final result that defines who we are. We need to find ways to play on a bigger stage and really think about collective action. No longer is our individual work enough. We will all accomplish more because of it. May GOD bless!


apud Deum omnia possibilia sunt

Wilibrodus Marianus

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