The Covid Crisis has done immense harm to global progress. A pandemic with complex interlinkages has exacerbated vulnerabilities in our healthcare systems and shed light on inequalities and inequities in our communities and the world as a whole. Within this framework, our communities have struggled to make sense of the conflicting messages we are getting from local government leaders. Siloed information distribution has hindered progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on a global scale. The Pandemic has stopped or reversed decades of progress towards some of the most important achievements humanity has strived for. We must acknowledge policy failures, current and future needs to ensure that the recovery leads to more equal, inclusive, and sustainable economies. An integrated systems approach needs to be taken to risk reduction and the reconstruction of our societies. A more resilient world can be built back better.
We at WithLiberty are working to achieve these aforementioned goals in our local community. We are educating, strengthening, and building a sustainable society for all. As a civil society organization, we have a shared responsibility to safeguard our development gains, in the United States, and abroad. The continued education of people at all levels of society is paramount to awareness of the risks we face. We need to raise the level of ambition towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda. Beyond action on poverty, inequality, and gender equity, the Sustainable Development Goals call on us to take decisive action on climate, transition to clean power generation, and embrace the circular economy. In particular, SDG 17, Partnerships for the Goals, calls for integrated policy responses which are key to governance, social protection, managed care, biodiversity loss, human rights concerns, and urban development.
Multilateralism and cooperation are the key international drivers of prosperity and growth. Politically, there is no question that collaborative global trust and power sharing are necessary for continued peace. WithLiberty works on the axis of this dynamically changing landscape of international cooperation. The need to build intercultural competencies for SDG partnerships is continuously growing. Our mission is to educate and inform our local community about the nature of the relationships between and within nation states, and of the mission of our world leaders, like the United Nations, in order to enable new perspectives on the problems we face at home.
In order to avoid the dangers of climate change, adverse technological advances, and governance failure, we must all become more informed citizens. We need a transformational shift in the way we think about our world and the way that we conduct our daily lives. The institutions that govern our system of trade and communications are aging. In order to revitalize, strengthen, and maintain these institutions, the world must understand why they exist and how they operate. If we want to restore trust in these organizations, we need education. As a vital Sustainable Development Goal, It is imperative that the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is met. The diversity of the needs of countries across the globe hinges on the calling that no one be left behind, in education and in other areas such as hunger and employment. In order to achieve these goals, we need to be fully committed to working hand in hand with international organizations and states.
Too often we forget that the United States is not alone in the world. The protectionist policies that have been implemented over the last four years have not only affected our trade practices. They have closed off the minds of US citizens to the needs of the world. If we are to recover from both the pandemic and the last four years of populism, we need to build back better. This means that we must solve problems through international cooperation, solidarity, and cohesion. We cannot leave the world alone at the very time when it needs all hands on deck. We can build on the strength of our institutions to create a new era of renaissance in which everyone is given a voice, and a place in the world order. But without acceptance and acknowledgement of the diverse peoples of the human race, we will fail. The solutions which WithLiberty is committed to providing, are a strengthening of our culture. They are an affirmation of our global history, and a rebirth of the values which we have held dear for decades.
Now I am going to say few words on youth entrepreneurship.
Young people seeking funding for a business start-up often have limited options to raise capital. If they have just left school, they are unlikely to have savings. Their youth may be off-putting to outside investors or they may lack confidence. They may lack the networks needed to hear about and reach the public and private funds targeting entrepreneurial starts-ups. Access to external funding typically relies upon 1) sufficient human and social capital to know about such schemes, 2) coming up with a fundable idea that would attract investment,
and 3) a sufficiently robust business plan. For more information see the report “Exploring Youth Entrepreneurship” Published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Many of the initiatives profiled today inherently consist of various types of entrepreneurship and therefore it is necessary to provide training, skills development, awareness building and sensitization, as delivered by WithLiberty and a range of actors, including universities, colleges, other NGOs, and non-profits, development agencies, incubators, community organizations, government programmes, and social enterprises. At the heart of our programmes will be four key objectives:
• To increase awareness of entrepreneurship as a career option;
• To help individuals brainstorm and focus on a viable business idea;
• To provide inputs into the development of a business plans and subsequent enterprises; and,
• To provide a range of skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur.
We will deliver this in various mediums and platforms, remotely or in person. Options include taught classes, seminars, in-community events, workshops, podcasts, training programmes, webinars, online education and small conferences aimed at youth.
The importance of capacity building in the achievement of the SDGs cannot be overstated. The United States is choked with large firms taking up great amounts of market share, however all too often their goals and mission do not align with the 2030 Agenda. WithLiberty is among the first of a new generation of organizations in the United States and Connecticut, led by the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals, and answering the call for global transformational change within and between our communities. Our mission brings our expertise and intuition to bear in local communities, while our vision extends to those places of the world which have yet to feel the effects of globalization in any measurable way. As an organization we are a “builder,” we empower students, artists, academics, small business owners, scientists, and the public sector to think outside of our local community, in order to secure the future for our children and our grandchildren.
Finally, a few words on the importance and construction of global partnerships.
By nature of their name, global partnerships involve cooperation that is global rather than bilateral or domestic. These partnerships operate within the broad framework of the multilateral system, connecting diverse sets of actors across jurisdictions in response to problems with transnational dimensions. They are configured as network-based organizational structures that involve horizontal, non-universal, and reciprocal interactions around a common purpose. Such a structure is distinct from the legalized, bureaucratic organization of the multilateral system, which has traditionally relied largely on intergovernmental agreements and a vertical scheme of domestic implementation. Willing, self-selective participation in partnerships can be based on a set of commonly shared norms, which are then further amplified and exported through the network of the partnership by processes of learning, trust building, monitoring, or implementation. Much of these definitions of partnerships are pulled from “Governance Entrepreneurs” published by Cambridge University Press in 2017.
I would like to close with a personal story. I graduated college this spring in the United States. My journey was difficult. I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in the Fall of 2017 and had to drop out of the college I fondly call my alma mater. What kept me going, the idea that pushed me to recovery, was this. “That the world can be a better place for all of us.” WithLiberty is the realization of that idea, it is a personal and professional journey to make that world a better place. Here and now. In my own community, and across the world. Thank you.