What Does it Take to Be a Humanitarian Hero? Vision and Values.

Eric Olsen
August 20, 2014

On the 11th celebration of World Humanitarian Day, IYLA convened at the United Nations in New York City to address, “Moral and Innovative Leadership, Vision, Service and Entrepreneurship.” The day celebrates the life and work of those who put their lives at risk to improve the world.  It was fitting backdrop for the diverse assembly of leaders representing 80 nations.

Seated in the same chairs usually occupied by international delegates seeking to end the ‘scourge of war’, members of the International Young Leaders Assembly were challenged to lead with vision and values.

“Your values determine your destiny,” said James Flynn, International president of the Global Peace Foundation, who encouraged the leaders to pursue a “noble vision.”

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations, Simona Miculescu, told the assembly to be bold, “Don’t run from challenge because you are afraid, run towards it to trample it.”

The panel of social entrepreneurs was packed with energy and crucial leadership lessons. Alex Sheen, founder of Because I Said I Would emphasized accountability, following through with one’s word. Arthur Kurup, Vice President of the Sabah United People’s Party, in Malaysia emphasized the motivation of leadership, “Ask yourself, what are our intentions? This is the moral aspect of leadership.” April Wright, DoSomething.org, Director of Intl. Programs talked about resilience and learning from failure.

Christoph Gorder, President of Charity Water reminded the assembly that there is no shortcut to hard work. 

High Level Plenary

By the same token, Max Ringelheim, CEO of Vonovo encouraged everyone to work with passion.

The world is full of challenges, but every manmade problem can be solved by a moral leader who stands up even if unpopular. UN Secretary has called youth “transformative force,” but the International Young Leaders Assembly at the United Nations emphasized personal transformation as the start of leadership that makes an impact. The assembly brought the focus back personal belief and conviction in a vision and strong core values. Bella Huele, representing the World Trade Center said, “If you do what you love and you are rooted in your core values and centered on a vision that serves the greater food, then you will succeed.”

When we focus on more than ourselves, when we are working to better the world for generations to come, the possibilities are endless.  When rooted in something greater than oneself, every challenging endeavor can be a rewarding and a path that benefits humanity.  This year’s IYLA shared a moment with Global Humanitarian Day and hopes to have sparked a deep desire in the hearts of those gathered to become the agents of the change for tomorrow.

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