The final days of the 4th IYLA is upon us. On this beautiful sunny Monday participants visited the memorial site of the 2001 attack on New York City’s World Trade Center. Quiet and reflective, our young leaders from around the world traced victims’ names engraved in the stone surrounding the monument. An immense loss to families from around the world, the 9/11 attacks are a stark reminder of why change is necessary now, not in a distant future.
Our young delegates continued to explore the great city of New York, walking along Wall Street, crossing the Hudson on Stanford Ferry, and visiting the famous Times Square.
In the afternoon, participants split into groups to visit various UN Missions, including Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Hungary, Malaysia, and the Netherlands. Diplomats from the corresponding nations were open in expressing their roles as individuals and nations in the UN and their goals. Participants were offered a Q&A session before closing the meeting. After participants got back onto the bus a volunteer from each visiting group shared the most interesting facts they learned with the whole assembly.
The embassy of Sri Lanka was gracious in opening up their doors to IYLA, hosting an overview of Sri Lankan culture and economy over hors d'oeuvre. After an evening of networking, participants attended a tour of the historic Columbia University by one of the campus’ enthusiastic students. After talking with several young leaders, one in particular stood out as she discussed the importance of becoming a role model of education for the youth in her life. Jeanni Simpson is academically inclined herself, but she understands and conveys the value of sharing her passion for education as a means to encourage young people to go out into the world.
If we do not choose to use our knowledge, skills, and passion to change the world for the better, we are denying the world of a great gift. As a great author once said, “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” This saying by Dr. Suess may sound childish at first, but it carries a powerful message for every single person on Earth.
There is not another person like you in the world, past, present, or future. No one can contribute exactly the way you can. You have something very unique to share with the world whether it is your knowledge, talents, a helping hand, or a listening ear. These are just a few of many examples. You cannot say you have nothing to offer because if you are making the effort to read this now, I know you have a desire, a dream, a vision. If nothing else, you have a passion to share with the world. That in of itself is contagious enough to start a revolution.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead