Global summit to come to Pittsburgh in 2012

Tiffany Grossi | September 8, 2011    

The world will revisit Pittsburgh next year. This time, instead of focusing on G-20 leaders, all… The world will revisit Pittsburgh next year. This time, instead of focusing on G-20 leaders, all eyes will be on potential future leaders.

Organizers for the 2012 One Young World Summit announced they would hold the third annual event in Pittsburgh next October. The summit brings together about 2,000 young delegates from around the world to discuss issues such as global health, the environment and religion.

Steven Sokol, president of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, said that the bid process was very competitive. The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is one of the companies that makes up Pittsburgh Partnership, the group that created the bid.

“One Young World made it very clear early on in the process that they would accept only one bid per country,” he said. “This was a big breakthrough for us in Pittsburgh as the sole U.S. bid city.”

Melek Yazici, the 2011 Pittsburgh delegate for the One Young World summit that occurred this past weekend in Zurich, said that the majority of the summit involved attending speeches by keynotes speakers and networking with other delegates from different parts of the world.

Yazici, who said she feels that her diverse background and extracurricular activities helped her obtain the delegate position, is currently a sourcing analyst at the CFO’s office at Pitt. The Muslim native of Turkey is working toward her MBA at the Katz Graduate School of Business.

During the summit, Yazici said that the delegates listened to various renowned individuals, including Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Egyptian activist and Google executive Wael Ghonim, who “motivated us to make a change in the world.”

Previous speakers have also included Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

“Basically you have a global pool of very successful professionals, activists and students in one place and you get to have interesting conversations with them about what they do, where they are from, and what they are in,” Yazici said.

Pittsburgh’s bid for host contained up to 36 letters of support from people such as former presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter, Sen. John Kerry and Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.

Nordenberg said in his letter that Pitt will look to support the summit if it comes to the region.

“I believe that One Young World’s commitment to nurturing future leaders in hopes of bringing positive changes to our world would receive positive support from our region,” Nordenberg said.

In the final round of selection, Melbourne, Australia, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, were eliminated, leaving only Johannesburg and Pittsburgh. At this point in the bid process, a representative from One Young World conducted site visits for both cities.

While in Pittsburgh, the representative had the opportunity to see PNC Park, Heinz Field, the Duquesne Incline and the University of Pittsburgh.

“The representative loved the Cathedral of Learning, especially the Nationality Rooms,” Sokol said. “She was also blown away coming through the tunnels seeing the emerging view of the city.”

Katie McSorley, the head of the Pittsburgh office at Euro RSCG, a marketing company that helped found the summit, said Pittsburgh won the title of host because of the city’s passion and the amount of accommodations it could provide for the summit.

“There were a lot of little pieces that showed great passion for One Young World and Pittsburgh,” McSorley said. “This will really showcase the city and the leadership in the city. It showed that the community came together for the common good of Pittsburgh.”

Those wanting to apply as a delegate had to fill out the One Young World application, but also write a short essay explaining what they could contribute and how they would benefit from the program.

Yacizi said that during the summit, which costs each delegate $4,000, Pittsburgh will be filled with a diverse group of people that will want to explore the city, which will be good for local businesses.

“In October, we will see Pittsburgh’s name in a lot of the tweets and Facebook messages,” she said. “Young people will promote our city to other young people.”

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