Story: Inspired By New Friends
“Who are you?”
In just two minutes of chatting, we learned about the unique qualities that make our partner who they are. By answering in “I am” statements, this activity resulted in a lot of self-reflection. Not only did it allow all of us to take a step back and recognize the roles we play in the lives of others, but it also helped us discover what we as participants had in common. Coincidentally, we shared a lot of similar values, and moments arose where it was tempting to say: “Really? Me too!”
Here we were, just one hour into the symposium, having a conversation that made it impossible to stop smiling. Though we knew nothing about each other before, this one opportunity to truly connect resulted in great friendships. A common passion between us created an immediate sense of togetherness- our passion to positively change the world.
Many engaging workshops we participated in required brainstorming ideas together. I noticed a pattern of the unbelievable communication and acceptance of concepts developed. Every idea was considered and each voice was heard when we discussed how we can implement positive change on a community and global level.
A highlight of the symposium was definitely the talent night. After signing up for it, I started to really think about the risk I was about to take by singing a song that I had written one month earlier. The lyrics had escaped my lips only for my own ears to hear- not for an audience of 65 people. Oddly enough, I didn’t understand what had prompted me to write the song in the first place. So, I decided that this was the reason. As I reached for the microphone, I realized that no matter how I sounded, the amazing group of people in front of me would clap and cheer when I finished- because they were supportive, kind and overall awesome people. No judgement or criticism lingered in the air during the talent show- just motivation, encouragement and excitement, all wrapped into a two hour show of jaw-dropping, amazing performances.
For four days, we bonded, laughed, and dreamed together as participants. I learned that when we are ready to create opportunities for ourselves, when we are ready to listen, and when we are ready to learn, we are ready to positively impact the world- no matter how big or small the change may be.
— Zoya Jiwa