New World Scout Ambassador Bear Grylls  Launches the Largest Global Youth Mobilisation for the SDGs

Youth Engagement
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by World Scouting from
Publication date: 16. Nov 2018

16 November 2018, New York: Millions of young people around the world know Bear Grylls as a Global adventurer, TV host, and best-selling author with a passion for Scouting. Now, as the new Chief Ambassador for the entire global Scout Movement, Bear is getting behind an unprecedented mobilisation of 50 million Scouts to improve the sustainability of our planet. 

Today, the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) announced Bear as its new Chief Ambassador, making him the first public figure to be named for the role. Bear has been the youngest ever Chief Scout in the United Kingdom for nearly a decade, leading the way during a period of sustained growth. In his new role as Chief Ambassador, Bear will continue that effort on the world stage by acting as a global voice for youth education and inspiring Scouts to create positive change in their communities.

“I’m very proud and humbled to take on this new role as Chief Ambassador of World Scouting and continue to promote the great work Scouting is doing across the globe. Scouting is a worldwide force for good that unites young people with positive values and an adventurous spirit,” says Bear. “We aim to make a difference in our communities, help young people learn new skills, and be kind to all people.”

As one of his first acts as Chief Ambassador, Bear was on hand for an event at the United Nations headquarters today to launch Scouts for SDGs – a mobilisation of 50 million Scouts to make the world’s largest coordinated youth contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Never before have so many Scouts come together around an engagement of this scale and I’m excited to launch this global activation of young people to contribute to the SDGs,” added Bear. 

Since 2013, Scouts have given more than one billion hours of service towards sustainable development through local projects under World Scouting’s programmes, including the flagship Messengers of Peace initiative. Among these projects are grassroots activities led by Scouts to provide access to clean drinking water for schoolchildren in South Sudan and promote peace in Colombian communities affected by gang violence and conflict.

Scouts for SDGs builds on these efforts with an aim to engage 50 million young people in a coordinated effort to deliver two million local projects and an additional three billion hours of service for the SDGs by 2030.

“Scouts everywhere instinctively take action to make right what they see as being wrong in the world,” says Craig Turpie, Chairperson of the World Scout Committee. “Scouts for SDGs is all about the youth of today thinking globally and acting locally – being the change that they want to see in the world.”

Scouts for SDGs features a digital campaign and online SDG hub, as well as new tools and resources for National Scout Organizations to raise awareness and take action for the SDGs. The initiative will also provide financial contributions to local actions by Scouts thanks to support from Alwaleed Philanthropies, United Nations agencies, and a wide network of partners and volunteers that will help expand the effort. 

“Scouts have already made an extraordinary contribution to the SDGs through more than one billion hours of service and millions of local projects to promote peace, reduce inequalities, tackle climate change, and more,” says Ahmad Alhendawi, Secretary General of WOSM. “With Scouts for SDGswe are intensifying our efforts to unleash the power of millions more young people and tackle some of the most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges facing our world.” 

Several guests of honour including Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, and heads of international organizations joined the Scouts for SDGslaunch event which was co-hosted by WOSM and the World Scout Foundation in partnership with the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. The new initiative was warmly received by the UN and other delegates who recognise the unique role that Scouts can play to achieve the SDGs. 

About World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM)

Scouting is the world’s leading educational youth movement, engaging millions of young people to be active citizens and create positive change in their communities. The World Scout Movement is made up of more than 50 million Scouts connected together through a membership network of 169 National Scout Organizations. 

About Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls has become known worldwide as one of the most recognised faces of survival and outdoor adventure. His journey started as a young boy on the Isle of Wight, where his late father taught him to climb and sail. Trained from a young age in martial arts, Grylls went on to spend three years as a soldier in the British Special Forces, as part of 21 SAS Regiment. It was here that he perfected many of the survival skills that his fans all over the world enjoy, as he pits himself against the worst of Mother Nature.

Despite a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa, where he broke his back in three places and endured many months in and out of military rehabilitation, Grylls recovered and went on to become one of the youngest climbers ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He then went on to star in seven seasons of the Discovery Channel’s Emmy Award-nominated “Man vs. Wild”TV series, which became one of the most-watched shows on the planet, reaching an estimated 1.2 billion viewers.

Since then he has gone on to host more extreme adventure TV shows across more global networks than anyone else in the world, including five seasons of the BAFTA award-winning The Island with Bear Grylls and the US hit TV show Running Wild. Running Wild has featured Bear taking some of the world’s best known stars on incredible adventures. These include President Obama, Julia Roberts, Roger Federer, Will Ferrell, Zac Efron, Channing Tatum, Kate Winslet, to name but a few.

His autobiography Mud Sweat and Tears spent 15 weeks at Number 1 in the Sunday Times Bestseller list and he has authored over 85 books, selling in excess of 15 million copies worldwide. 

He is an Honorary Colonel to the Royal Marines Commandos, the youngest ever UK Chief Scout, and the first ever Chief Ambassador to the World Scout Movement, representing a global family of some 50 million Scouts. He is married to Shara and together they have three young boys who also love adventure. They live between a houseboat on the Thames and a private island off the Welsh coast. Bear’s life motto is simple: courage and kindness... and never give up!

Media contact

For media inquiries, please contact: 

David Venn
Global Director, Communications and Partnerships
World Organization of the Scout Movement


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