A Treasured Experience

A Treasured Experience
A Post-QLC Reflection by Dana Smiley

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the 6th Annual Qatar Leadership Conference in Doha, Qatar, and it was one of the best events I have ever been a part of. As a high school student in the United States, I interact with teenagers every day who are almost entirely uninformed regarding world issues. I was shocked by how many brilliant and compassionate individuals gathered together for the QLC. I felt a strong sense of global community in every session and was thoroughly impressed with the number of driven and forward-thinking students and teachers taking initiative in their schools and communities.

I presented a service learning project I worked on with Qatar Foundation International at the conference and was thrilled at how my audience was genuinely interested in what I had done. I did not meet a single conference attendee who wasn’t open-minded, and because of this, I was able to feel as though I taught and inspired others in the same ways they taught and inspired me.

Though the QLC was not my first conference, it quickly became my favorite. Every workshop I attended and every speaker I heard was engaging and intriguing. I learned so much about leadership, making a difference in the world, and myself. Because of the Qatar Leadership Conference, I now have the tools and motivation to follow my passions, increase my community involvement, take leadership roles, and seize opportunities that will allow me to better the lives of others. This conference had a huge impact on me and contributed to my first Middle Eastern experience far exceeding my expectations. I feel honored to have been able to be a part of a conference where some of the best and brightest minds share ideas and know it is something I will never forget and always treasure.