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One Young World: Opening speech

Speech by his Royal Highness The Crown Prince at the opening of One Young World, Zürich 1 September 2011.

This summer the significance of One Young World became even more evident to some of us. We have been reminded why it is so important that 1200 young people travel from 171 countries to gather here in Switzerland for 3 days.

One month, ten days and three hours ago a bomb exploded in Oslo right outside the government buildings, blowing out windows miles around.
Two hours later shooting started at an island north of Oslo where youth were gathered, like here, to discuss the issues they see as the most pressing of our time.

77 people were killed, and even more injured by the terrorist acts. As Norway is slowly returning to normality, we are struggling to make sense of the atrocities.

The Norwegian people percieved the acts of terror as attacs on the basic values we have built our society on. As attacs on our open, democratic and multicultural society.

So what can we learn from this? The most important lesson to learn is about ourselves. Marcus Aurelius (the great Roman Emperor) asks:

“Will then this that has happened prevent you from being just, generous, composed, wise, aware, true, modest or free?”

We cannot undo what is done, but we can choose what way it affects us and how it will effect our societies.

We can choose to defy brutality with fellowship. We can choose to counter hatred with solidarity. We can choose to stand by our values.

Good and evil cuts through the heart of each and every one of us. Our challenge is to reach for the light. To find the inner best part of us and nurture it.

This is what One Young World is about.

The philosopher Kwame Anthony Appia says: “It is crucial to remember always that we are not simply black or white or yellow or brown, gay or straight or bisexual, Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Buddhist or Confucian, but we are also brothers and sisters; parents and children; liberals, conservatives and leftists; teachers and lawyers and auto-makers and gardeners; fans of the Paders and the Bruins; amateurs of grunge rock and lovers of Wagner; movie buffs; MTV-holics, mystery-readers; surfers and singers; poets and pet-lovers; students and teachers; friends and lovers”

Now is the time to emphasise what unites us – because we have more in common than what separates us.

This is what One Young World is about.

There is great opportunity in this meeting. It is up to you now. Use the next days to build bridges, seek profound truth, find common ground - and move the world forward.

Thank you.


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