The first full day of the One Young World summit included a diverse blend of world issues including extremism, climate change, and gender inequality. The morning’s focus on extremism stood out to me, with two former extremists discussing their experience in and out of extremism as well as a presentation delivered by Kofi Annan and 10 young leaders who make up a group called Extremely Together. Initiated by the Kofi Annan Foundation, Extremely Together includes a group of counter-extremism activists from diverse walks of life who seek to respond positively to violent extremism.
While I’m not an expert on the subject of extremism, the presentations were captivating and inspiring. A number of these young leaders courageously relayed stories of survival and how they are channeling unimaginable experiences into their work today. Their stories reinforced our capacity for resiliency and gave me hope for our future. The common thread I noticed in these acts of extremism (violent or positive) is an inherent desire among all humans to belong. In some cases, this desire leads to dangerous actions with violent consequences. In others, like the Extremely Together group, their decision to join together and be extreme positivity, offers young individuals globally the opportunity to belong to a movement that seeks to end violent extremism. I am hopeful that the movement will gain traction, with the movement extending to peers and community members on a global scale.
*Post by Kendra MacFarlane