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Posted by Bob Brown on 25 Nov '10

Inspirational young people

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. St. Augustine

As members of the Junior Chamber International, we're privileged to be part of some really special events, the latest of which was the JCI Worldwide Congress. JCI is a non-profit international organisation, whose founders and members hold the strong belief that we can make a lasting, positive impact on the world. Held in Osaka, Japan in November this year, the world congress gave us all a fantastic opportunity to meet and share our stories.

The proceedings kicked off with a ceremony opened by the Crown Prince of Japan. Following this were talks from many inspirational members, and celebrations of our global achievements. It was great to meet so many like-minded people, all of whom are making outstanding contributions to their communities and the people in them. The winners of the Ten Outstanding Young People Award were present, each one of them with an impressive list of achievements, and a contagious desire to carry on making a difference. Two of the ten winners of the TOYP hail from the UK – a sure sign that our country can and is making a positive difference.

Another of the many highlights of the congress was listening to a talk from the former Japanese Prime Minister. He described the impact that JCI has had his life and himself, noting particularly that without being part of JCI, he'd never have become PM.   The World Congress filled us with inspiration and hope. In particular, the successes of attendees the world over - and the input they gave - have enabled JCI UK to brainstorm new ideas and approaches for our future plans. We are all confident we can play an instrumental part in the government's 'Big Society' concepts.

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This international gathering wasn't just about speeches and meetings, though. It was a chance to embrace and appreciate other cultures – be a part of them, if only for a short time. We shared food and drink from our native countries, and had lessons in Japanese culture. With our bellies full, new customs learnt and firm friends made, the whole troupe headed over to Universal Studios theme park, to which JCI had been granted exclusive use. With baddies annihilated and rides enjoyed (or perhaps endured, for those with weaker stomachs!), it was a great chance to let our hair down and have a great time with our fellow attendees.

The JCI World Congress was an amazing event, packed to the brim with so many inspirational people and their stories. While only a lucky few from each country were able to attend, the insights and knowledge that we gained from this experience will undoubtedly aid us in bettering the world – something which everyone can benefit from.