The following post was written by Aldina, 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit Participant from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Check out her experience at the Summit, and how she plans to #innovateforinclusion in her community!
Being a part of the Global Youth Leadership Summit truly challenges you to be better and more open-minded. The activities give you the chance to discover so much about yourself and those around you. At the Global Youth Leadership Summit, you can speak freely at all times and know that everyone is listening with compassion. The best part of the Summit was the opportunity to listen to other people’s stories and share my own. The people I met and the experience as a whole left such a great impact on me, and made me realize what I need to work on to better myself and my community.
I wanted to attend the Summit to meet other inspiring people with and without intellectual disabilities and to learn about the experiences of others. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I am extremely thankful for. I knew the Summit would give me the chance to speak about my ideas and visions — specifically to share what my community is like and my ideas on how to improve it. I never expected the great impact the Summit would have on me or how much I would miss the people that I met there.
The Summit taught me that what makes us all unique are our differences. Those differences include things like skin color, religion, and intellectual disabilities. All of these things make up parts of who we are. I also discovered that being around kind people will make your heart melt, and that more people should smile to each other. Despite differences in age or home country, we all became one huge family that supported each other through everything.
I met lots of kind people from around the world. My biggest regret is that I didn’t get the chance to meet everyone. I had the opportunity to meet people from all around — from Colorado to Chile, to Kenya and Zimbabwe. I learned about so many different cultures and traditions, each with its own sparkle.
The Global Youth Leadership Summit sharpened my vision on how to be more inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities in my country. I realized how important it is that we all work, play and have fun together. This Summit left me with one question: What do we have in this world if not each other? Over the course of the Summit, my desire to include people with intellectual disabilities became significantly larger and the goal of my project clearer.
The 2019 Global Youth Leadership Summit was supported through partnerships with The Lane Family, Kantar, the Lions Clubs International Foundation, The Samuel Family Foundation, and the Office of Special Education Programs at the United States Department of Education. Learn more about the other participants of the Global Youth Leadership Summit at sogyls2019ad.org/participants.