Editor’s note: This article was first published on the Global Solutions Initiative blog. It has been republished here with the author’s permission.
With a background in International Management, German Young Global Changer (YGC) Sebastian Woller currently serves in the Task-Force of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union Council.
His life path to date has been interesting, if not a little unusual. Born in Hamburg, he has spent around a decade of his life living in Africa mainly in Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. He is fluent in English, German and French. He has studied or worked in Brazil, France, Israel and Germany; along the way Sebastian has deepened his knowledge and understanding of management (in theory and practice) as well as multilateral challenges. In particular, he is interested in what makes top managers and presidents in both the private and public sector effective.
Comparing the 2018 and 2020 Global Solutions Summits
Having participated in the 2018 Global Solutions Summit as a Young Global Changer as well as in the digitally held 2020 Summit, Sebastian is well placed to offer his thoughts on how they compare. Talking about the 2020 edition, he notes that “the experience was very positive.” The Panel Discussion ‘The G20 in time of pandemic’ was the most memorable for him, because of its “ emphasis on different international policy areas and solutions offered to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Being digital allowed him the opportunity to easily pause and re-watch discussions, making it more convenient to take notes. However, he says, “it’s more challenging to network and meet new people in a virtual summit” and he specifically missed “the in-person encounters with other YGCs.”
For future summits, assuming they can once again be in-person events, Sebastian would still encourage all contributions to be filmed so that they “are online and accessible to the world.” This would allow greater numbers of people to engage with the Summit, its content, and to build on the achievements and key messages of past summits. “This is especially valuable for people who may not be able to afford a front-row seat to a summit of executives, Nobel laureates, and world leaders” he adds.
More generally, Sebastian believes “being a YGC has helped me gain a profound understanding of the importance of Recoupling Economic and Social Progress around the world.” He supports the Global Solutions Recoupling Dashboard, a country-specific tool for measuring the wellbeing of societies beyond GDP while illustrating the correlation of economic prosperity, social prosperity and environmental sustainability and is pleased to see it also supported and promoted by highly regarded organisations like the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
Outside of his professional work, Sebastian is involved in developing an after-school program in a refugee camp in Bethlehem that aims to teach English, music and arts to underprivileged children. To date, the program has raised over $50.000. He says, “this volunteer work has afforded me the opportunity to meet courageous people, of which their paths pave the way for an innovative and daring path to peace.”
In March 2019, Sebastian co-founded the African-European Fellowship, an online home to connect Fellows with over 400 entrepreneurs, start-ups and investors. It aims to informally connect Africans with Europeans to better understand investment markets and opportunities, facilitate connections with governments and investors and provide tailored support to help start-ups build their brands.
Publishing his thoughts and his ideas
Sebastian is also a keen blog writer. Some of his recent articles and letters have appeared on the Global Solutions Initiative blog, the GPDF blog and the Financial Times. Some recent topics of interest have included racial equality and the Black Lives Matter movement, emerging business leadership and management trends and better understanding Germany’s responsibilities on the global stage.
He intends to continue this writing and is interested in collaborating with, or promoting, other YGCs. He encourages other YGCs to contact him via LinkedIn. In particular, he wishes to explore potential collaborations that are mutually beneficial and could play a small part in helping to overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, he wants to play a small role in strengthening the unity of the YGCs network and demonstrate how they can effectively work together and display innovation despite global challenges.