We had our large international food and agriculture conference last week in Indonesia, drawing a crowd of over 420 leaders from businesses, governments, civil society and media. In addition, we offered for both international and local university students with related study-interests the opportunity to volunteer in note-taking and social media support. We had roughly 40 students participating, from different backgrounds and with distinguished skills sets. The one common feature however, was the passion and interest they demonstrated – towards learning from the tasks, from us the organizers, from the speakers and through networking.
It was heartening to see these brilliant, passionate future leaders with such excellent attitude towards the opportunity given to them to learn and meet important people from their respective fields. There’s much adore about the Millennials nowadays, which I find usually find a bit annoying but there is certain truth in it as well. The young, future hopes seem well motivated to take over the world.
Most of these students had a big smile on their face throughout the 2 days, and based on their feedback at the forum and afterwards, I feel humbled and honored to have had worked with them. If anything, they wished to do even more, there were no complaints but only generous, sincere gratitude for the opportunity. More than anything, that shows their eagerness for learning and their understanding how every opportunity needs to be embraced.
A complaint one often hears in relation to the millennials is their lack of practicality and at times too high expectations. I can see that too – many have been brought up in an environment where their basic needs have been readily gathered to, giving them the opportunity to fully focus on their studies, on intellectual activities. Their eagerness to climb the career ladder seems to make them forget how important and essential the first steps are. These shouldn’t and can’t be skipped, as that’s where many crucial basic skills and work ethics are mastered.
Still, it gives me hope for the future that the up-coming generation is head-strong, eager and fearless in their quest for their turn to lead the world. Moreover, the passion for sustainability, the values towards responsible business and drive for keeping the planet safe is apparent. Now they need the skills, the practical experiences and some guidance before they are ready to take over.
The will is there, and they will find the way.