Since returning from a whirlwind adventure in Japan, where the question was posed, ‘what does it mean to be a global citizen?’ ‘I am a global citizen, what does this mean for me?’, I have embarked on significant reflection to find this answer, and it seems there is no one right or wrong answer.
Being selected to attend the INU Global Citizenship and Peace conference was incredible. I was able to visit one of the most beautiful countries in the world for an amazing, wonderful, thought-provoking and unforgettable 10 days.
This year’s conference was based on ‘refugees’, and not just the basic where do they go, but a much more deeper understanding of why and how the refugee crisis is created. I was confronted with facts and figure, real accounts of the torment many people anguished through, but also a profound feeling of the need to help, the need to be that person that makes a difference. I was not going to let this conference wash over me and not take at least a step in the right direction to help those who need it most.
Not only was the conference on refugees incredible, but also the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the commemorations. We were lucky enough to be invited to the memorial of the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, and this in itself was a chilling reminder of the devastating and long-lasting effects of conflict and war.
Despite all the hard-hitting, confronting and saddening things we witnessed and read, there are the most beautiful group of people surrounding us to make sure we had one hell of a time! The Japanese students we met at Hiroshima University (HU) were kind, caring, accommodating and battled through the language barrier to ensure we had an absolutely fantastic time!
The whole conference was one of the best experiences of my life, I met people from all around the world who shared my passion for change and for positive influence, we gave me such renewed hope in humanity and the problems we are facing as a globe we are not facing alone, we have like-minded people across the world wanting to make the same changes, implement ideas, and just help people.
Being a Global Citizen, what does that mean? for me it means taking what I have been fortunate enough to have, my health, my education, my individuality and being able to use this as a tool to help others, whether it be in my own backyard or across the seas, it’s about making a difference, its about making someone, somewhere smile, something as simple as a smile can give people hope, and I want to petition for the future, for a world of hope, where a child can wake up and dream about their future and not be held back for a lack of access to education, where girls can aspire to be heard just as much as their male counterparts, where we live in a society where we share equally, so everyone has enough to go around, to live in a peaceful world. Now this may seem fantasy to some, and I admit I have to view this realistically, but being in a place surrounded by some of the smarted kind hearted people will do that to you.
Japan, I thank you, for taking such a monstrous tragedy and helping others learn from it, for not being hate-filled or vengeful,
If there is anything to do in Japan, it is to visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, oh and of course try some Karaoke,
Until Next time