woensdag, oktober 24, 2018

One Young World community dinner 2018 - centre IofC The Hague Last week, 1900 young 'potential future leaders' from all over the world participated in the One Young World Summit The Hague. The so-called delegates came from 196 countries and followed an intense programme packed with speeches and network opportunities. On Friday night, all delegates were invited to have a ‘community dinner’ hosted by different local organisations in The Hague. Initiatives of Change (IofC) Netherlands and The Listening Academy welcomed a group of 11 participants for a meal and a moment of meeting one another and reflection at the centre of IofC in The Hague.

‘From what I glimpsed from One Young World the days before our event, I noticed I had some cynicism,’ writes Stefanie Schuddebeurs from De Luisteracademie (Listening Academy). ‘All the famous and important people were giving speeches, everything had to go immediately on Twitter… How would our approach of conversation cards, a walk in silence and intense listening fit into this?’

Bright lights

The participants had had their worries too, so they told at the end of the evening. At the start of the conference, all participants were given a number on their name card. This number represented the group for the community dinner. They had seen a lot of numbers during the conference, but no other ‘sevens’. ‘I became worried that it was such a small group,’ said one of the participants. ‘But now I am really glad, I wouldn’t want to have missed it for the world.’

The sitting room at the centre of IofC – with festively laid tables full of fresh food that had been prepared that very afternoon by the Syrian woman Rana – contrasted sharply with the expectations of the participants. ‘I heard we were going to eat at an NGO. I thought about an office with glass walls and bright lights,’ said the English Ryan. But it is especially this warm and homely atmosphere that is a relief for many of the young delegates. ‘It felt like I became a little bit lighter when I came in.’

One Young World Community Dinner 2018 - centre IofC Another future

The representatives from all over the world – who hadn’t met each other before this evening – sat together at the tables with young people involved with IofC Netherlands. ‘As we settle at the tables for dinner, we took a moment of silence before starting,’ writes Willemijn Lambert. ‘A deep quietness is present. I realize once again how powerful it is, to share silence together in such a big group. Rarely do I experience this and the moment deeply moves me.’

Next to their plates, the participants find conversation cards with questions about role models and motivation. ‘My table of six enters a deep and rich conversation,’ writes Willemijn. ‘Coming from favela’s, townships, deprived neighbourhoods, my conversation partners at the table talk about access to opportunities. All of them have obviously grabbed every opportunity that came their way and worked extremely hard to succeed. But many around them, friends, family, do not share that need to go after those opportunities. The delegates see themselves as representatives. Representing their community, their group, but also representing another future by offering another perspective to their fellows.'


One Young World Community Dinner 2018 - Centre IofCAfter dinner the participants stroll around the neighbourhood in pairs, the first part in silence. The evening ends with a joint conversation. Besides the appreciation for the warm and peaceful atmosphere and the dinner – after days of sandwiches – participants share their insights from the evening. ‘The world is so big, but humanity is a village,’ one delegate said. The 24-year old Brazilian Tabata Amaral, who has just been elected for parliament in a country that moves to the far right, says: ‘Sometimes offering resistance and trying to stop further deterioration, is progress as well. I take that though with me for my coming term.’ While everybody is still exchanging contact details, the delegates really have to leave. The driver of the bus that will bring ‘Group 7’ back to their hotel is already waiting for them.

One Young World Community Dinner 2018 - centre IofC