News — August 25, 2017

2017 JCI Global Partnership Summit: A First Timer Perspective

By: Shawn McMillan, 2017 JCI Canada National President

In my 13 years as a JCI member, this was my first chance to attend the JCI Global Partnership Summit. Since finding out about this global event in 2008, I have wanted to attend, but never had the opportunity or chance. In a fortuitous moment, I won my entrance at the JCI Morning Show during the JCI World Congress in Québec, Canada last year. It was like it was fate that I was heading to New York City!

I was so excited, like in a way I have not been for a long time—this was my chance to visit the United Nations Headquarters and have an experience that not many in the world have a chance to replicate. This was highlighted when I stood at the main speaker podium overlooking the main UN hall. I have seen many speeches of high profile leaders addressing the world from this podium, and having the chance to stand there for a brief moment reminded me how small this world really is. It is ours to make better and to ensure we create a world with everlasting peace. 

The line up of topics to discuss, yes to discuss and interact, as well as speakers, left me coming back to the apartment every night to my lovely wife Carrie and my boy Logan, who just turned 10 months, like a giddy kid wanting to share the day. On the first day, one thing that stuck with me was Rajiv Uttamchandani saying that “actions that happen locally matter to the world.” You really don’t think about what is happening locally sometimes, but if we all make our local world better then the world as a whole gets better.

Another inspiration that stuck out included a group of JCI members. JCI Syria, with a war going on, has grown their membership by 600%. These are individuals who want to make the world better. You have to meet with the people in need, to know what is really going on in your community. To engage all sectors of society, we must not allow those in need to be forgotten in the discussion. During the interactive poverty simulation, which puts participants in the shoes of people living in poverty, my eyes were opened to how hard it can be for those experiencing dire circumstances to live in the 9 to 5 world. We need to better communicate what possibilities do exist to those in need as many don’t always know or are so worried about feeding their families or getting kicked out of their shelter that it prevents them from having the time to find solutions. Worse, things close before they have time to access the opportunities at hand. Although I often took the bus or walked to work and school years ago, I quickly forgot how expensive transportation can be for those who don’t work right on the main path or near their home.  

There is an old African proverb, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” This is a reminder of all the key organizations we have partnered with such as the UN Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, AIESEC, Kiwanis International, UNICEF, UN Global Compact, Let’s Do It! Foundation and more, that have allowed us to achieve so much over the last 100+ years. We need to continue to partner with these organizations locally and find other partners to assist us in achieving making IMPACT in the world!

In 2015, JCI formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, better known as the Global Goals, and the world’s deadline for achieving those goals is by 2030. Those 17 goals are not JCI’s mandate. They are a global initiative in which we are achieving through creating better leaders and by making positive change in our communities. Every JCI project is achieving at least one of the goals. Take your projects and look at the impact they are creating. Or better yet, come up with another project using the JCI Active Citizen Framework. Want to see projects happening around the world? Check out the JCI Project Gallery which serves as a method for sharing best practices from around the world. If your organization’s newest project is not there, get it posted! It is a free tool to share and show your organizations impact across the globe. Need more info about the Global Goals? Visit or and see what impact you can make today. JCI Canada has committed to make Global Clean Up Day on 15 September 2018 a national project to clean up our planet. If you want to get involved in your community, visit

We all have a responsibility to make this world a better place for ourselves and our children, therefore start taking action today.

Want to start taking action today, but don’t know where to start? Download the JCI Global Partnership Summit Resolution to learn how individuals from around the world are committing to taking action.

Miss out on this year’s JCI Global Partnership Summit? Check out the event on Facebook!

Share this article
Support our impact! Donations fund numerous national and international projects contributing to training, development and sustainable, positive change around the world.