This is what happen when you gather 100 different nationalities during 10 days, in the middle of Norway.
February 2017, Trondheim, Norway. Is the second time and my mom still doesn’t understand what I am doing leaving the warm weather of Buenos Aires to travel to the middle of winter in this nowhere city call Trondheim. I cant’t either, but it feels just right. So let me tell you about this thing call ISFiT where the world come together.
Imagine you can’t put together the whole world in a room? well we don’t feet, of course; but at least you can bring 450 representatives in a 10 days experience and this is what ISFiT does.
I had been to different international student conferences before, but there is something special in ISFiT. They understood the formula to create a more caregiver world:
How to create a more caregiver world
- Create awareness
- Create affections
Remember this huge shooting in Paris (#jesuischarlie movement and more)? I may confess, I did change my profile picture with France flag. At the same time people were dieing in Bahrain but I gave my force to France, because I barely knew that this small country was suffering as well, because I had friends living in Paris that I knew they were in danger, selfish but true. This year in ISFiT I heard the Student Peace Prize 2015 Ayat Al-Qurmezi from Bahrain telling her story in her country. From knowing almost nothing, I got to know Ayat. And from that moment for my Ayat and Bahrain is the same face of country, and in the future when I hear a new about her country I will recall meeting her.
The topic of this year conference was “Discrimination” and I think is not coincidente that you fight it we the exact same steps. Even the person who says that doesn’t discriminate, because of her/his society belief might be unconsciously discriminating. We all discriminate until that person that was thought to be a potencial terrorist, an homosexual, or intellectually poor; become your friend, and stop being a label but your friend.
I was impressed but how much bonding we did in the workshop group but all this (sometime silly) activities in just 10 days. Some activities were physical games and other were: “tell a personal story you might have never tell to anyone” to a person you have met for less than a week. After dinner we had plenaries on related topics, which weren’t the best plenaries ever but were starter points for later conversations generating debates. But overall all the whole ISFiT experience was though to generate deep talks + quality time.
This let me thinking, isn’t this kind of the formula to generate friendships? I feel sometimes we can’t go in a dinner with friends being completely there, without looking at the phone once or twice in the middle. But here relyed the difference, we arrived here already completely disconnected from our reality. Students from around the world came together with the mindset to hear the amazing stories everyone has to tell, to find connections and help each others, to learn from other realities, and almost in consequence to make new friends.
How strange is that one of the biggest highlights of all the participants was how they found amazing talking here things they never talk with their most close friends back at home? I believe increasingly we are missing real quality time we each other and we are surrounding we more superficial friendships because we are not devoting the time or the energy. Is it necessary to travel every 2 years thousands kilometers away from home to generate this mindset?
Is more than creating awareness is about creating affective relations around the world or in our same country, that makes us more aware and unavoidably makes us care more about other people realities. We are in an amazing time in history where this type of event can happen, most of the countries live in democracy, there are less wars than ever before, and we are by far the generation that is able to travel the most. In a globalization time where everything is reachable by a click we are missing being present with each others. My message to the youth is: go out, meet new people, travel, hear other stories, learn about them, meet gay people, meet muslim, meet jews, ask them those question you always had, and break all the stereotypes in your head. Globalization will continue and we have to learn how to accept each others, because we are not only part of one society anymore; we are citizens of the world.