Tommy Tobin

Tommy is a recent graduate of Stanford University, where he earned the Deans’ Award for Academic Accomplishment and led the Stanford Project on Hunger to provide 100,000 meals for his community.

Everyone a Changemaker, Even at Davos

Do you have to be a world leader to make an impact on the global stage? Absolutely not! As the British Council Global Changemakers recently demonstrated at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, youth have a unique role in speaking to those in power.

Five young adults were selected from the Global Changemaker community of vigorous social entrepreneurs from over 100 countries to attend the 2011 Forum. As profiled in the Washington Post, these five students range from visual artists to peace activists. One student, Trevor Richard Dougherty, even got a job with a social media company.

Yet more than just yielding personal benefits for this so-called “Davos 5,” this year’s World Economic Forum represented two important lessons for all youth interested in social entrepreneurship.

First, Davos illustrated that young changemakers should not only have a place at the discussion table, but that their voice is necessary. Davos regular Sir Vernon Ellis wrote, “The world needs such people.” Indeed, this corps of young social entrepreneurs comprised fully half of the presenters at the Forum’s concluding plenary session.

Second, these Changemakers as well as youth from around the world found their passions manifest at Davos. Youthful perspectives not only enriched Forum participants, but also provided inspiration to other young people around the globe to pursue social entrepreneurship. As Daniel Joshua Cullum put it, “However at the end of the day, regardless of the pay packet, it has become evident that whether success follows you or not, where your heart is, your treasure will be also.”

Let’s model the entrepreneurial spirit of these young Changemakers. As they’ve shown, students and young people have a unique and vital role to play on the global stage. The time is ripe for further innovation and the youth can lead the charge.