Thursday, September 13, 2012

Life changing: Global Leadership Forum 2012!

The Global Leadership Forum 2012 
The Castle at the United World College 
How many people can say that they have a friend in every continent? 
This summer, I spent 2 weeks in New Mexico at an Activism Camp called the Global Leadership Forum. I met the most amazing, passionate, and radical young people from all around the world ranging from Nepal, Zimbabwe, India, Hong Kong, Uganda, Netherlands, Columbia, get the point, everywhere! In the beginning, I didn't know what to expect. When I was asked to attend by the Lower East Side Girls Club about an activism camp in New Mexico, my first reaction as she described what it was, was "activism + camp? Sign me up!" Before you know it I'm on a plane by myself flying across the country... 
Before I landed in New Mexico; a view from my airplane window! 
What Dining Halls do you know have alien-looking sculptures as lights? Exactly. 
On the first day, I sat in a circle with a then group of strangers and I asked them this:
"If there was one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?"
The answers I got blew me away.
People spoke with such power and passion, me, barely knowing these amazing individuals, I knew I was in the right place. Like I was in this home away from home that was nestled and buried deep inside me. I loved that most about GLF. That we could strike up a conversation about our LLP's (which were projects we developed to change something in our community for the better) with anyone and we could have a long conversation on what we want to change in our community and the world. The support and love that came from everyone was inspiring. It was like finally-I'm in a place where people my age are like me-honestly and truly care about making a difference in the world we live in. We had a variety of different workshops that opened us to what it means to be an activist in the world today and it really helped me develop what is it that I wanted to change in the world. There were so many things that I wanted to change in the world (and still do!) but with the amazing teachers and mentors we had during GLF, I got a sense of what it takes to create an effective project that could create change in something you truly care about. 
Farming at Tesuque Farms: Farming isn't as easy as it looks! We just make it look fab! ;)

We met with some really great organizations such as Railyard StewardsSomos Un Pueblo Unido, and Mission Wolf where we took a drive North to Colorado and met wolves! 
Yes, WOLVES! It was amazing! What I learned most is that the way wolves are interpreted in pop culture and the media today is so misunderstood. They're seen as these scary creatures when in reality, they're creatures that need as much love as your Beagle at home. 
At Ghost Ranch, NM! 
"Teamwork-makes the DREAM work!"
Homestays & Sante Fe, New Mexico
I've always wanted to be hosted by a family and I was so excited to hear that it was actually one of the phases in the GLF program. I stayed with two of my lovely GLF ladies, Anna and Fides. Our host family was really great! I was so honored to have been with a family that was as friendly and open to host three girls. Being in Santa Fe was great to experience life in New Mexico and get a taste of what it feels like to live there. There's so much culture bursting all over New Mexico, it was awesome to have gotten to experience it in Santa Fe! 

Girls Night Out in Town! :) Miss these ladies! 
Took this photo ^ with my Smartphone...yeah it was that beautiful!
If there's anything I learned about being a part of the Global Leadership Forum is that change can happen. And it begins with the power to find it within yourself to believe it. I was fortunate to have been able to see through global perspectives and opening my mind to other cultures. These people came from so many different parts in the world and when we all came united in New Mexico, they brought all of their amazing culture and love for their country. It was absolutely beautiful and inspiring to hear the passion they had about wanting to make change in their homeland. It reminds me and gives me hope that there are people in their parts of the world, fighting for change It's an amazing thing to know that you're not alone. And I never will be. I've made friends for a life time. Although we're miles away apart, I know the changes in the world we're making is what's keeping us together! 

And with that, I leave you with this; my addition to The Youth Media Project of which I wrote for and worked with during my stay in Sante Fe: 

"The struggle is real
Long, hard, and challenging
The youth is bursting with creative energy
Fear exists and remains
How much fear can we deal with?
How much can we take?
When will we learn that sacrifice comes in different forms? 

That we don't have much time?
Refuse to surrender to your fate
No one is coming to rescue you so find your cape and be your own superhero

The hardest thing is believing in your potential
Strength is found when you finally accept that you're wrong
You are your greatest asset and what comes from you, comes from no one else
You are your greatest fear
Stop believing what gets told to you
Refuse to settle
Create your own story. Believe your own voice
Do your research
Saturate your brain with knowledge
The best is yet to come when you decide that you are no longer a coward

Believe in love
If there's anything you deserve, it's happiness"

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