In early May, we brought together young people in Chicago and Newcastle during our first Legacy webinar.

The event gave our alumni from Chicago200 and Newcastle150 Legacy initiatives the opportunity to connect with one another across boundaries, and discuss how, as young leaders, they are dealing with the world we now find ourselves in.

One word to sum up what your world is like at the moment

“This is an extremely hard time for everyone and I appreciate you all dearly for staying committed to empowering and uplifting the communities as well as the youth. I personally am forever thankful.”

 The online session created a digital space for young leaders in both cities to openly talk about current issues that are important to them, and to share their hopes and aspirations for the future. The group explored new ways of bridging the disconnect between generations, embracing creativity during a crisis, developing their Cultural Intelligence, and creating a wider sense of community. 

“This was an opportunity for the young leaders in Chicago and Newcastle to broaden their perspectives and learn from each other. With lockdowns and social distancing, it’s easier than ever to become surrounded by what’s familiar and miss out on the things that disrupt your thinking and challenge your views. That’s why conversations like this, hearing and learning from people across cultures, are even more important right now.”
Tina McIntyre, US Programmes Director

The participants were split into groups to share their experiences and culture and discuss challenges their facing during the COVID-19 crisis. Some of the discussions that emerged during the hour-long session were:

 On the generational divide

One group’s discussion centred on a commonality across different sectors – the huge disconnect between the older and younger generation. The participants felt that there’s a fear from the older generations of being in the fringes, whereas their generation sees that as a catalyst for advancing and innovating.

“We believe that it’s the young leader’s responsibility to push people and technology to the limits. We need the people in the fringes so we can create, innovate and push limits and boundaries.” 

On finding creative ways of helping

Another group noticed one of the similarities between the UK and the US is the rise of creativity. They have seen how musicians are changing how they connect with their audience and how everybody’s looking to see how they can use their skills to help others. In both countries, these young leaders saw hope, positivity and a sense of community.

88% said the programme is a valuable or extremely valuable experience in preparing them to deal with the current situation

69% said that the programme is a valuable or extremely valuable in preparing them to be part of rebuilding their cities to achieve the vision of the challenge

83% strongly agree that they are excited to connect with other alumni on the next session

50:50 ratio UK v US participants

UK vs US health system

An African American participant from Chicago shared that their community felt that the news was misreporting their demographic. He shares: “In reality, what’s happening is that we’re not getting the same level of healthcare as the rest of the population.” As a result, the death toll increased.

Unlike in the UK where healthcare is provided for everyone, regardless of status or race, healthcare in the US is tied to a person’s job.

A UK participant who’s a nurse in the NHS shares:

“We hear all the time how bad healthcare is in America, how racism is a prevalent issue but I’ve never heard a first-hand account. It really is shocking. I’ve gone into this job because I am strongly passionate about what the NHS stands for. To hear Chicago participants, living on the other side of the ocean, who are experiencing the total opposite is just shocking and unbelievable.”

The move to remote working

For most of the participants, their workplace structure has completely changed. The ability to shift to working from home was quick and efficient. In the past, a lot of business have been talking about the rise of the digital age but it never happened.

Due to the pandemic, we are pushing through, innovating and making things happen.

 “If we can take anything from it – It’s gratitude, isn’t it? You’ve got to be more grateful for the people who deliver your food, who take your blood at the risk of their lives.”

Our global Legacy campaign invests in young people across the world so they can become a connected generation of leaders with a clear vision for what their legacy will be. Exploring each other’s situations, cultures, and learning from each other.

You can find out more by visiting: Legacy: A global campaign