By Jinhoon Lee
On August 3rd, the 2019 International Young Leaders Assembly (IYLA) began at Washington, D.C., where students, young professionals, and global leaders from various nations and backgrounds gathered under the shared vision of moral and innovative leadership. Throughout this weeklong program, delegates engage in different activities, events, and discussions to expand their perspective, better formulate a vision for their leadership, and create a meaningful network to support their path forward for international collaboration and community-driven peacebuilding in their own societies.
Meeting Other Leaders with a Common Vision
It is an IYLA tradition to kick off the week with icebreakers and getting to know each other under the theme of “Common Vision.” Participants were given time to write about their goals for the program and to shortly reflect on their vision as a leader.
Delegates also met their new teammates and throughout the day, they exchanged stories and ideas for leadership. Despite the variety of opinions, participants were able to lead civil and meaningful discussions. These positive interactions helped them to see each other’s common passion for service and to strengthen their bond and understanding, which is necessary for the experiences to come in the following days.
“I’m thrilled to be here. It feels amazing to be connected with a diverse group of people who have the common vision of living for the greater good. I loved the ice-breaking games, it was a great way to interact with the delegates. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming days with full energy and enthusiasm.” – Stella Mainali, Nepal
“I like how these young leaders share common goals. It seems like everyone here has a clear vision for the future and IYLA helps to bring unity to these ideas. I appreciate the sense of partnership and collaboration that IYLA brings.” – Xheneta Kuci, Kosovo
Making Breakthroughs at Great Falls
As many graduates of IYLA can attest to, the morning hike at Great Falls has become a memorable beginning to the leadership program. The hike provides an opportunity for participants to engage in a deeper reflection of their vision and goals as a leader. The natural world is a powerful classroom for aspiring leaders. The challenges that participants faced during the hike were uncomfortable and difficult for many. However, by supporting and encouraging each other through the difficulties, participants were able to keep negative thoughts at bay and were able to break through their limitations.
“IYLA is a really fun program. I have met many wonderful and welcoming people! I was also able to explore some beautiful places and I am still in amazement! I was really exhausted most part of the day. However, inasmuch as I was exhausted, they would urge me to press on, walk beside me and encourage me. The list goes on. Through this teamwork, we were able to achieve our goal.” – Zipporah Muthoni Iregi, Kenya
In the afternoon, participants explored Washington DC’s monuments and memorials that shaped American history. Through the experience, they remembered significant wars and the valuable lives that were lost and studied the qualities and actions of influential leaders to learn from their examples to further develop their vision in leadership.
“While touring around the National Mall and looking at the historical monuments, I felt gratitude for the vision that carried America forward. With their heroic sacrifice, I believe I also need to dream big as a leader.” – Takae Goto, United States
“Today, I was able to reflect on the leadership paths of different historic figures. The experience showed me their struggles and how they have overcome them. As a leader, such experiences teach you the importance of persistence and discipline in following your dreams and goals.” – Nichool Castro, Dominican Republic
In the days to come, delegates participate in events such as a briefing at the United States Department of State, a Global Summit at the World Bank, and IBM executive training. These experiences provide great opportunities for the diverse group of young leaders to grow their perspective and capacity to better serve their communities and the world at large.
Stay tuned for upcoming blogs and articles of the ongoing 2019 IYLA.
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