News — November 18, 2016

2016 JCI World Congress: Uniting Global Citizens for a Common Purpose

An event in the making for the last ten years, the 2016 JCI World Congress was one that took every detail into account. From the landscape of the beautiful and historic host city to the empowering keynote speakers, delegates filled the city for a week of unforgettable experiences. 

 

With more than 2900 delegates present from 96 counties around the globe, the Congress took place from October 30 to November 4 in Québec City, Canada. 

 

This Congress was one that offered a first for delegates in attendance; the robust digital event management system provided an all new and efficient way to register and check-in to the event. While this full registration system has been used and tested at smaller JCI Events, this was a first for World Congress delegates. 

 

Also experiencing something new, were first time Congress attendees who spent their afternoon attending First Timers Orientation. This informative session left standing room only and gave these First Timers the opportunity to engage with others who share their passion for positive change and explore the mechanics and opportunities of a JCI World Congress. 

 

That evening, delegates flooded the Opening Ceremony anxious to support their country and see what was in store to kick off the momentous event. Not only were they were greeted with a diverse procession of National Presidents, Chief Delegates and the 2016 JCI Board of Directors, but also by a parade of theatrical, fictitious larger than life animals reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil, which originated from the Québec region. Welcome messages were presented by Executive Committee Member in charge of entrepreneurship, Borough President and City Councilor Natacha Jean, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister Responsible for the Capitale-Nationale Region François Blais and Member of Parliament for Louis-Hébert, Monsoir Joël Lightbound. The ceremony featured intricate acrobatics, dancing and opera performances and was followed by an exquisite display of Canadian cuisine, including poutine and maple molasses, as well as traditional music and dance. 

 

The following days were started with the always-energetic JCI Morning Show, which featured several amazing guest speakers as well as new JCI content relating to each of Congress’ daily themes. Speakers included KPMG Ambassador and Double Olympic Champion Alexandre Bilodeau, Head of Partnerships for the Let’s Do It! Foundation Kadi Kenk, Singer, Songwriter and Co-Founder of E.P.I.C. Tennille Amor and Global Vice President of Public Relations for AIESEC Tanya Landysheva. Each of the guest speakers not only delivered impactful presentations, but also took their turn spinning the all-new Global Goals Wheel as part of the Global Goals Gameshow that was introduced during this year’s World Congress. 

 

Important and historical decisions were made during General Assembly, as a raise in membership dues was posed. With overwhelming support, the motion passed. As a crucial investment in the future of the organization, this policy will empower young people to be powerful actors rather than spectators of positive change, creating impact that is relevant and critical anywhere and everywhere. 

 

Also critical to creating positive change is collaboration. JCI and Let’s Do It! Foundation took crucial steps to advance global sustainable development through collaboration by signing a Memorandum of Understanding during General Assembly I. Through this partnership JCI and the Let’s Do It! Foundation hope to activate JCI members and citizens worldwide to participate in a global clean-up day in 2018. 

 

Another historical moment of this event was the election of the first female JCI President from the United States Dawn Hetzel during General Assembly III; she will be the fourth female JCI President. This marked an empowering moment for the organization as it continues to work to empower women and promote gender equality as part of its commitment to the Global Goals over the next 15 years. 

 

While the Congress featured many motivating and relevant sessions, one session in particular stood out in uniting delegates for change: the Problem Solving for Peace Workshop. Moderated by JCI Ambassador John Loughton, this workshop brought together delegates from all areas and sectors in order to identify not only the barriers to peace but also the solutions to those barriers. One common thought unified all of those in attendance and that was the realization that the greatest division and barrier to peace is a lack of understanding of those that are different from you. This realization helped to garner discussion on how to tackle this challenge in order to make peace possible locally and globally.  

 

Another stand out workshop was Collaborating for Impact: JCI TOYP Honoree Workshop. Delegates were given the opportunity to meet, collaborate and share ideas with the inspiring young individuals who were honored as the 2016 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP). Discussions ranged from how JCI members can get involved in activities that address climate change to how inclusive communities can be created through the empowerment of the homeless. The honorees were recognized later that evening during the JCI Awards Ceremony, which also celebrated the impactful actions, projects and work that JCI members take daily in their communities. 

 

A very special delegates luncheon was held on the final day which featured a keynote by Astronaut and First Canadian Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield. Hadfield drew in a large audience as he spoke on the role of youth in the creation of a better and more peaceful world. 

 

“It’s important to think about more than just what you are doing, but the impact you are creating,” said Hadfield. 

 

Hadfield spoke in detail on the topic of peace, reminding the audience how relevant the JCI Mission is to the creation of an everlasting world peace. He outlined three actions steps that each active citizen must take to change the world. First, active citizens need to think heavily about what needs to change. Second, they need to do research and learn more about how to make that change; and lastly, they must take action. 

 

The 2016 JCI World Congress was undoubtedly successful as it united global citizens in a common purpose to create positive change. While this goal may seem audacious, it has remained the driving force behind every action taken by every JCI member since the founding of the organization over 100 years ago. This year, the Peace is Possible campaign has demonstrated to members and global citizens worldwide that irrespective of our differences we have the opportunity to create a world where peace is real and injustice can be overcome. The JCI World Congress continues to be the premier event that reminds delegates of this with its fusion of cultures and sense of community propelling members to excel in all that they do on their journey to creating a better world. 

 

Many of JCI’s partners were present to support the work of JCI and its members. Learn more about those partners as well as guest speakers in the 2016 JCI World Congress Report

 

Visit the JCI Facebook Page to explore photos from the 2016 JCI World Congress. 

 

Interested in attending next year’s World Congress? Learn more about the 2017 JCI World Congress in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, November 6 – 10

 

Interested in attending other JCI Events? Register and learn more about the upcoming 2017 JCI Area Conferences!

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