GSL Correspondent Student Reports
Three faithful and committed Global Social Leaders from the United Arab Emirates participated in, and reviewed, the GSL Festival @Home that took place online on the 18th and 19th of June.
Each report offers a unique and varying perspective, demonstrating that the festival really did have something for everyone! Please keep reading if you would like to gain an insight into the event’s sessions, and what it was like to participate as a student.
Private International English School, United Arab Emirates
“I’m a high school student who is just figuring out how to be not only a great leader, but also a great person. I am also an avid environmentalist who loves finding new ways to lead a sustainable life. Moreover, I enjoy drawing and singing, but most importantly I want to become the voice of change for all of us.“
Time really does fly when you’re having tons of fun and learning lots of new things, and so the two days of GSL Festival @ Home went by much too quickly. In the unprecedented circumstances, the virtual version of the GSL Festival went just as well, if not better than the real one as a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend, could do it this time. I was all too excited to be amongst the inspiring, passionate and extraordinary young change makers. Whether it was about leadership, voicing your opinion or being mindful, there was really something for everyone to watch out for.
The Global Classroom sessions were wonderful experiences to meet the passionate youth who were making such substantial differences. Each speaker had a way of captivating the audience and each gave such motivating messages. It was quite an episode filled with passion, inspiration and change; it is just the place to be for any young person. I would definitely recommend this festival to each and every single person that I know; young or old. The experience was extremely successful because it captured the best done by youngsters across the globe. Picking a favourite part is incredibly difficult for me, but if I had to go with just one thing, it would be the Global Classrooms. It had such an inspiring atmosphere and everyone was just so awesome!
If you are someone who is ardent about bringing reform and alteration in the world, then GSL Festival @ Home is definitely the place for you. All in all, I just have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend at the GSL Festival and would do it all over again in a heartbeat and if you like these things too, the GSL Festival is just paradise!
Raha International School, United Arab Emirates
“My name is Noor and I am a 16-year-old living in the UAE. As a GSL fellow, I have been inspired to take on this decade of action head-on as I lead and participate in several local and international initiatives, as well as strengthen my social conscience. Apart from my passion for humanitarianism, I enjoy the outdoors and participating in several sports including swimming and equestrian.”
This was my first time attending the GSL Festival and throughout the 2 days, I gasped, smiled, raised my eyebrow, laughed, and studied! Nonetheless, I had an amazing experience. Upon receiving the 2-day festival timetable I was captivated by the wide range of topics that would be covered in a variety of different webinar styles. I found myself signing up for the majority of the panels and presentations within minutes of reading the timetable! By the end, I found that the most engaging sessions were the panels and the individual speakers. The panels are great because you have the opportunity to get your questions answered, as well as create spirited debate within the sessions. However, I also really enjoyed the individual speakers as their presentation styles draw you into their discussions while also giving you opportunities to ask any burning questions throughout. Some of the most memorable sessions I attended were; Circular Economy Redesigning Our Future and “Be the change you want to see in the world” all you need is grit & focus with Janvi Patel.
I had blindly signed up for the circular economy presentation out of curiosity and with close to zero knowledge on what a circular economy actually was. The presentation delved into the idea of connecting our economic structure with nature, I had never explored the connection between the global economy and the environment in much depth. Ultimately, the presentation gave me a new perspective on the unsustainable linear economy global markets are operating on, as well as reinforcing the concept of sustainability in various aspects of the world, apart from just the environment. Another one of my favorite sessions was with Janvi Patel, this was the most highly anticipated presentation for me as it focused on the legal system and Janvi’s inspiring journey and accomplishments. And let me tell you, the presentation did not disappoint! Her journey as a lawyer and the progress she’s made in the field of women’s rights was fascinating and empowering to hear. She exuded such an inspiring mindset throughout the presentation and I’m sure all those that attended her session would agree that her attitude was infectious. A radiant attitude was not just unique to her presentation but emanated throughout the festival.
The festival taught me a multitude of new things and opened me up to new perspectives, in addition to creating a lively and exciting atmosphere driven by the presenters, panelists, and attendees –despite the festival being online this year. In doing so, the festival encompassed the core of the GSL movement; empowerment, passion, and change. The GSL movement gives you the opportunity to join a community and be a part of their driving force for positive change across a variety of sectors including economic, sociopolitical, environmental, etc.
If you feel passionate about a change that needs to be made in the world you should become a part of the GSL movement by becoming a GSL fellow or participating/attending any upcoming events!
Private International English School, United Arab Emirates
“I am an individual who finds bliss in doing anything that would increase the lifespan of Mother Earth or serve the community. Currently hands on with Operation Smile, a wonderful initiative for aiding children with cleft lips or palate. Writing, speaking and reading makes me euphoric, besides sustainable initiatives and community services. I am a black belt in Karate and Kobudo and finds solace in playing guitar. I would be delighted to be a part of diplomatic missions to serve my fellow citizens and the world, as a whole.”
A unison of eclectic people, countries and ideas-that’s how I would like to describe the GSL festival. That little microbe didn’t permit us to meet in person, but we were just a virtual call away, we mortals sitting at various parts of the globe came together in one virtual platform for a fun-filled and sustainable 48 hours. The festival incepted with a stimulating description from the founders’ side on their journey to the accomplishment of their dream of the GLOBAL SOCIAL LEADERS MOVEMENT. Their sheerly passionate journey was just fascinating. It felt wonderful to know that their journey was driven by their ambitions to empower the youth and to bring them to the forefront of things. Knowing that they believed in the strength of the young, seemed to be a good response to those adults who undermine the capabilities of the younger generation. There were a plethora of different projects addressing tons of different problems in about hundreds of different countries, all of them being equally competent, intellectually brilliant and genuinely sustainable. It was truly inspirational to watch the different teams and the vibrant methods they have implemented to address the top issues of their community and how they never gave up on their green goals even at the attack of the covid-19.
There was a splendid array of some wonderful speakers who snatched our hearts and minds through their brilliant oratorial skills and listening to their perspectives was a wholly informative and entertaining ride.
The first speaker Lord Dr. Hastings is an institution in himself, he ran through quite a number of turbulent events that has shaken the very roots of humanity. He very meticulously emphasized on the tough times we are living in, with violence brewing across some parts of the globe and on the other hand the corona virus ravaging our economies and lives. He drew us to the fact that we are moving a step away from our pathway to eradicating poverty and zero hunger—whose progress so far was satisfactory—now that the virus is persisting, and people are losing out on their employment. He concluded his words on an optimistic note by stressing on the subsidizing carbon emission that have broken records and how free the natural habitat is, now that their foes, the humans, aren’t intervening their lives.
Another very inspiring speaker was Mr. Hamzat Bala Lawal, Founder & CEO, Connected Development. Injustice, corruption and power play-these have become almost an inevitable part of our lives and in some cases our governments. When Mr. Lawal noticed that the money released by various organizations for relief requirements whose whereabouts weren’t known and the fact that lives were still getting crumbled came into sight, he knew that it was time for him to interrupt in the issue. The values of equality and justice were clouded by the unethical values of corruption and injustice, and personal gain had blinded the rulers of the country. Mr. Lawal caught these disastrous plights of people on his only asset-his mobile phone. This hashtag journey on social media did go a long way and the government reverted with a very positive response of releasing 5.3 million dollars. His determination to acquire justice and his insight into broadening the horizons of asserting against corrupt organizations, is what drove him to the phase of success. I believe Mr. Lawal is a living inspiration for all the youngsters out there who think they are too young to fight for justice and equality and he’s an epitome of justice and equality.
Next in the list, was a mindfulness session conducted by Mr. Jason Moore. It was one of my favourite sessions where the issue of focus and stress was discussed extensively. Mr. Moore explained it out by citing examples that were relatable. I especially liked the part where decision making was highlighted, that instance where we feel the blood rushing to our veins when our mind strikes a chord and then it gets dampened by an unknown obstructive force, that is when we aren’t sure of a decision of ours. And what can help us here is mindfulness, that feeling of stopping our minds from wandering and allowing it to rest in the present scenario, recount our past experiences and taking all that into account, taking the right choice, that’s the whole idea of mindfulness, how wonderfully it was all blended together by Mr. Moore. We were made to perform a few meditation methods which I believe do produce impeccable results when it comes to focus and concentration which most of us lack in ourselves.
A very exciting and fascinating session of Mr. David Edwards came next. I was awestruck to see that 5 completely different people from different walks of life actually spent 42 days rowing across 3000 miles across the Atlantic, it was just an unbelievable voyage personally. It was wonderful to note the extent of teamwork and collaboration that’s required to accomplish a particular task and how a failure of just one of them might just affect the whole of the crew, especially in sophisticated trips like a sail. The values shared by Mr. Edwards were extremely realistic and of practical use, and when explained through an adventurous backdrop like this one, it was an icing on the cake. A dream that took formation when Mr. Edward was a young boy of 8 years is what led him to taking up such a risky yet adventurous trip, because he believed that life is just a one-time experience and so we need to crack it the most. One attitude I believe we all must possess, of enjoying life without any constraints of anxiety or even a tinge of unhappiness, because we only have one journey of life, we need to live it to the most! Going for a voyage with absolute strangers, having to cope with personal fears on our own and facing challenges like the tides and the waves, which knew no bounds and of course managing our resources and not extravagantly using it -was just too much for me to imagine, let alone recreate in my life. Challenges are an aficionado in finding their way into our lives, so we need to remain accustomed to the exit path of this labyrinth of challenges else we remain stuck in it forever. This is something I greatly learnt during the session where challenges were thrown behind in the darkness and the lights of success were shone on the achievers.
Black Lives Matter was another interesting session to be a part of. It consisted of various panelists across the world who had faced the burning fires of discrimination and injustice but haven’t let these burn their desires. In a situation where the death of George Floyd has angered every individual on the planet, I found this event a very necessary one. It just seemed new to me that even in the modern world such barriers of racism and communal discrimination hasn’t died down. I am a person who believes that the human race knows each other beyond borders, languages and the colour of our skin. The raging lights of humane feelings should keep the human race alive, not our backgrounds. It was wonderful to see people from diverse backgrounds speaking their hearts out and how they have paved a way to success in the midst of being treated as an inferior in most scenarios.
These were just some of the glimpses that I recollect. GSL global goals competition was a wonderful platform that provided us the will to undertake sustainable initiatives and spread the green words across our community as a whole, we were extremely delighted to be a part of this inspiring journey and of course this extraordinarily brilliant GSL festival! I also hope to be a part of the future endeavours of Global Social Leaders because I believe that it is one of the best platforms for the youth to express their ideas and live on their dreams, change their world to the world of their dreams where sustainability, justice and equality prevails dominating all the pessimistic forces! Let me reiterate the motto of GSL, LET’S THINK GLOBALLY, ACT SOCIALLY AND START NOW, it is left to you to decide where to begin if you have the courage and determination to pursue your dream!