The focal point of the day was strength in a common vision. This perspective, realizing just how similar we really are, despite coming from different countries and backgrounds, made it natural to meet new friends and break down barriers.
In downtown Washington D.C. at the Hall of States IYLA participants were welcomed and participated in an insightful workshop hosted by the Sustainable Dialogue Institute that gave young delegates tools to improve their communication, an essential skill to discovering a common vision and reaching peace.
The visionary leader of the IYLA program, Victor Yeqing Li told participants, “We are all human beings, we belong to one family.” He emphasized the commonalities such as the passions, motivations and dreams of the participants, “We all uphold a common ideal of moral and innovative leadership through vision, service and entrepreneurship,” he said. He encouraged participants to think about what they hope to accomplish throughout the duration of this program, and how they plan to achieve these goals with the opportunities presented.
James Flynn, International President of the Global Peace Foundation, a co-convener of the IYLA, highlighted the importance of leadership that is both moral and innovative. While wealth, innovation and technology are changing our world, he noted that they are value neutral. Wealth can be used to eradicate poverty, but it can also be used to manipulate power. Thus, it becomes critical to have an ethical foundation. He encouraged participants to dream big, but ground their innovation in enduring principles and shared values. “Transforming big dreams into reality is always possible, but this must be done with a vision that includes the entire human family. Our common identity, our humanness, is fundamental and shared.”
“Transforming big dreams into reality is always possible, but this must be done with a vision that includes the entire human family. Our common identity, our humanness, is fundamental and shared. Having the capacity to expand our circle of compassion makes us all human.”
The Sustained Dialogue Institute workshop reinforced the theme of strength in a common vision by forcing participants to challenge barriers like language and culture. In one activity small groups made up of various language speakers had to translate simple phrases. The engaging activities emphasized our humanness, that we all belong to one family while focusing the importance of collaborative, open-minded dialogue.
Participants found common ground quickly in their shared aspirations, such as breaking down cultural barriers, empowering young children, and promoting gender equality.
In the latter half of the day the IYLA visited the Smithsonian Museum and enjoyed dinner at the Malaysian Embassy.
We learned a great deal about one another and about the power of dialogue. Through seeing past our differences we found that we share common passions and dreams that we can work together to achieve.