By Maryam Al Sada and Taraf Jaro
The weekend of QLC has been continuously remembered as one filled with inspiration, motivation, and passion for creating change. Students and teachers alike, come in knowing that they will leave with new-found purpose, passion, and determination that will hopefully help them play a significant part in bettering both the local and global society. This year’s conference has delivered on this, and done so with a strong focus on how the youth themselves – ourselves – can contribute to creating a lasting change while still being true to ourselves.
The Impact of joining QLC goes further than just attending workshops, and beyond the few days of the event. Motivated students will be able to link simple projects such as beach cleanups to larger goals in their community, or the world, such as the sustainable development goals of the United Nations (SDGs). This will allow youth-led or run initiatives to better be able to show the impact they are making on either a local or global scale. This will motivate the youth to focus on the impact any project has on achieving these larger, more worthwhile, goals and encourage further participation now and in the future. By focusing on specific goals, initiatives will be tailored to target the areas that require the most concentration. After tackling one area, efforts can be expanded by either working with other initiatives targeting the same goals, or branching out to totally different goals, depending on what issues require our immediate attention. The combined efforts of multiple youth-initiated and run projects will subtly propel the change to the better improving many lives now and in the future. For example, youth engagement can be achieved through a myriad of methods such as iGEM, which is a grassroots competition aiming to have high school and college students create their own synthetic bio initiative while linking it to the SDGs. This shows how a direct, evident, and efficient impact can be created with youth involvement.
Much of the reason we, as the youth, have shied away from taking action can be attributed to feeling as though it won’t make a difference. It is an understandable reason, as often times the voices of younger generations are silenced by people in power, however, the time has come to have our voices heard, both loudly and clearly. We should always keep in mind the consequences of inaction. Not doing is always easier than doing something, however, the consequences of inaction are usually undesirable and sometimes harmful. When lives and the future of our planet are at risk we cannot afford inaction. Don’t consider why you shouldn’t take action, rather focus on what is the benefits and rewards of your actions. Today’s youth are continuing to raise awareness and lobby for change. It is our turn to become part of today’s youth power.
In light of the theme of the third day of QLC, ‘Call to Action’, we asked various participants to answer the following questions: ‘What was your favorite session and why?’, and ‘what call to action are you going to take on as a result of what you’ve learned?’. The result was a variety of responses that make me confident that the leaders of tomorrow will be a positive asset to society.
“I attended the workshop by Kellen Brewer, ‘Make an impact and take action’. He focused on the Thirst Project which is about the water crisis, and as he was 19 at the time it showed me that it doesn’t matter what your age is; you take action anyhow. It gave me an incentive towards focusing on women’s abuse because I think it’s an underrecognized issue, so, from his explanations on how young women can take action, I felt like I can make a difference in the world.”
American School of Doha
“My favorite session so far has been ‘Questioning the categories we create’ because it helped me think outside the box. When it comes to MUN as delegates I think we focus too much on developing vs. developed [nations], and that’s how we define countries, and we realized that there is no one set definition of developing and developed. It’s just the perceptions we have of these nations that affect the way MUN works because often times a country such as the U.S. will be sided with more since they’re considered more powerful, however, we realized that every country has their own strengths that make them developed in certain aspects.”
“After this conference, I’m inspired to create more sustainable change within my school. I’m part of the EFFECT club that aims to implement sustainable changes within ASD. We already do a lot of work with sustainability
As we wrap up the 8th annual Qatar Leadership Conference, let’s make an effort to implement what we’ve gained within the walls of this conference to our local communities, and eventually on a global scale. Remembering always, as the author Steve Goodier said, “An authentic and genuine life grows like a sturdy tree. And like a tree, it grows slowly. Every time you make a different and better decision, it grows a little. Every time you choose to do the right thing, even when nobody would find out otherwise, it grows a little.” Every one of us can, and should, make a difference; let that difference always be for the better.