SUU Student Attends One Young World Summit in Manchester

Published: January 06, 2023 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 4 minutes

SUU student, Paige RawHailing from Eswatini, Southern Africa, Southern Utah University student Paige Raw had the life-changing opportunity to attend the One Young World Summit in Manchester, England this fall. Raw is a junior majoring in psychology and double minoring in ethnic and sustainability studies. She also serves as an International Student Ambassador for the University.

“I wish I could live that experience every single day,” Raw said about the summit. “It’s been a critical perspective shift to have my views challenged. Traveling is so healthy and allows you to see things through the lens of locals and appreciate your culture and their culture more. It truly was magical.”

One Young World is an international organization that works to solve global problems and provide innovative solutions. Every year, they bring people together from around the world to a summit held in various cities in different countries.

One of the world's largest gatherings of different countries, the Summit hosted leaders from 196 countries and a myriad of speakers including Mary Robinson, Ban Ki-Moon and Meghan Markle, Olympic athletes, and two of Raw’s own idols; Thuli Madonsela and Dr. Sylvia Earle. The Summit provided its attendees with keynote addresses, panels, interactive workshops, and opportunities to meet and collaborate with new people. While the speakers range in age and origin, the One Young World Ambassadors like Raw averaged between 25-35 years of age–some even younger.

“The key emphasis of One Young World is for people to know that it’s never too early, and you’re never too young to start something. And they gave us the resources to start,” said Raw. “Where lots of global conferences talk about problems, this was about solving the problems. It gave me the initiative to start something of my own.”

The summit helped attendees learn how to network and collaborate with other people who have the same drive. Everyone who participated had a similar mindset, and it reflected in the atmosphere of the gathering. In the end, the most important thing that Raw learned was that collaboration is progress, and that’s what makes a good global leader and service-oriented citizen.

Raw was a recipient of the Global Leaders Scholarship Fund, a program established by the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy; an organization that helps people in the state of Utah build relationships with other cultures and promote respect and understanding between Utah and other nations.

“I’ve always been very interested in global issues. Gaining understanding about lots of different cultures is also something I find important,” Raw explained. “This looked like an opportunity for me to learn from different cultures, so naturally I was excited about it.”

The program is available to high school and college students who want to focus their careers or receive certification in environmental or global issues. They sponsor students to go to a national or international event that covers global issues–and they did the same for Raw. In the process of learning about GLSF, Raw realized that this could be the beginning of an opportunity to give back to the community in Cedar City and the community in Eswatini.

As an international student at SUU, Raw’s international journey began when she first started applying for colleges. Her parents were always keen on the idea of traveling and learning about different cultures, and they encouraged Raw and her brother to explore the world.

“Reading and watching movies about culture is completely different than fully immersing yourself in it. You get a greater appreciation for the people and their way of life,” Raw said. “When I decided I wanted to study internationally, they were very supportive.”

It was her parents’ connections that helped her get acquainted with SUU. Raw’s parents were friends with SUU professors Anne and Jon Smith who had previously lived in Eswatini. When she started the application process, the professors acted as Raw’s eyes and ears, to help answer questions about the school. They also provided her with contacts to SUU International Affairs to help personalize her time at the University.

“The process of moving was very smooth as everyone here is supportive and wanted me to love SUU like they did,” said Raw. “They really rooted for me. I think I was sold on SUU when I had several conversations with Nicole Funderburk, Jamie Orton, and Stephen Allen. They were really helpful with all the international student aspects of applying.”

Raw’s future career path is to continue using research to advocate for both humans and the environment. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in conservation psychology.

“The Summit has only made me love these two groups even more, and has helped me visualize the steps I need to take in order to benefit these two groups,” she said.

Students from all over the globe are welcome at Southern Utah University. Currently, SUU is home to 748 students from 77 countries and territories around the world. By 2025, SUU hopes to host over a thousand international students and have the same amount traveling on study-abroad trips. Along with excelling in their classes, international students help make campus a more diverse and wonderful place.

Learn more about SUU’s International Affairs Office.

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences Psychology International Affairs

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