Cataloging One Young World – Lessons learnt from One Young World: Competition, Service, Gratefulness.
Whilst I did learn a great deal about competition at one young world I think the most memorable experience I’ve learnt from one young world is gratefulness. And I know it’s silly of me to have travelled half way around the world for over fifteen hours to learn how to be grateful for what I have but I certainly did. Needless to say that I was extremely grateful for what I had before but I’m now even more satisfied with my way of life. It shouldn’t be that I have to be aware of another person’s struggle to appreciate something but primarily because I ought too.
Several weeks before traveling to Ireland I did some research about ISIS and its inherent impact on the countries of which were most physically affected by their actions. Sadly I’d never follow international conflicts in depth nor to the point where I can identify specific information. And after having glimpsed these conflicts through videos, and pictures after attending One Young World the conflicts seemed more than real to me. For the first time the conflicts were right in front of my face. You may be wondering if I witnessed a terrorist attack of some sort- rest assured I didn’t. Witnessing delegates from these conflicted countries astonished me. It was not the first time that I had seen persons from these countries but something was just extremely different this time.
One young world began with a flag opening ceremony. Luckily for me I was chosen to bear the flag of my country st kitts Nevis. And as we lined up before we entered the stage to wave and place our flag I witnessed delegates from the same conflicted countries bear and wave their flags with immense pride.
However conflicted they may be that flag for them was not a symbol of war, conflict or peace. It was a sign of hope, and perhaps one of the only things that remained virtually the same for them. Waving that flag for them meant that despite all odds they were proud to be affiliated with the culture, positivity and resilience of that country. Even more strikingly being able to participate with the world in finding solutions from a young person’s point of view.
So what did it mean for me to raise and wave the flag of my country at one young world? It meant that everyday when I wake up and walk the streets of Basseterre I can see the aspiring faces of young women. It means that young women in my country can wake up everyday and aspire to be whatever they desire knowing fully well that the only thing restricting them from success is themselves. It means that when I hear my lone female member of parliament speak I am encouraged that she represents the multitude of women leaders in my country. It means that every day a child can go to school and return home to electricity to do his homework without worrying about dying from an infectious disease. It means that every time the youth parliament debates issues of national importance that the public will understand that it is their right to do so. It means that when my members of parliament meet in the United Nations, CARICOM, UNESCO, OAS, OECS they can speak without fear knowing that we live in a peaceful region. It means that every vote cast by a woman over the age of 18 in the next general election is not a mere coincidence but a privilege and right earned not because of her gender but rather because of the fact that she too shares the same rights as any other citizen in our country.
If you thought for a moment that we were in conflict or a state of emergency then you were wrong.
Bridging the gap towards reconciliation is closer than we think. And every decisive step that you take to slaughter our opponent is actually a step backwards and counter productive.
As liberals we’ve earned our freedom. We should not be subject to the whims and delights of others. Remember every step you take towards fulfilling someone else’s goal you take three steps backwards from accomplishing your dream.
Today I challenge you to be grateful so that when you see our flag you see beyond the colors but rather the freedom entrenched within it.