Annual Curators Meeting 2017

Global Shapers Community / World Economic Forum (WEF)

Home again from the humbling experience of representing the Vienna Global Shapers Hub at the ACM 2017 (Annual Curators Meeting) event in Geneva, Switzerland.

I had the vague feeling that it would be valuable for my hub, me and maybe some of the people I will meet when I attend this meeting.
One of my main motivations came from my affiliation with the effective altruism community.
It is a movement “that applies evidence and reason to determine the most effective ways to benefit others. Effective altruism encourages individuals to consider all causes and actions and to act in the way that brings about the greatest positive impact, based upon their values.“ 
Effective altruism tries to overcome biases in thinking, like valuing causes by the emotions they evoke instead of looking at the actual numbers and intensity of people affected (“scope insensitivity”). One of its central themes, therefore, is epistemic humility; questioning one’s current positions. What is really most important to care about in the world and how can I constantly generate a more accurate representation (“map”) of the world out there?
What could be a better means to this goal than to attend an event with 350 people from places that are nearly equally distributed all over the planet? 
And yes, I feel like I came closer to this goal, changed my mind and filled blank spots on the “world map” in my head.
I got confronted with (not only on the outside) beautiful human beings from diverse cultures, in colorful traditional clothing, from different parts of the worlds, praying to different god(s) or not at all, diverse ways of living and thinking. And I got confronted with challenges that are far from the challenges I (and the country and even the continent I live in) are facing.

Especially moving to me were the stories of both Asmaa AbuMezied from the Gaza hub and of Farah Khaled Ilaiwi from Nablus hub in Palestine about their experiences of (what for me is “simply”) traveling to and from Geneva to their home countries.

Here is what Farah shared with us in our WhatsApp group while we were all leaving from the ACM:

“Hope that you have a safe trip all. To make a little refresh I am Farah from Palestine, representing Nablus hub. More than 25 shapers asked me during ACM how can I reach my home since we don’t have an airport in my country because the only Palestinian airport have been destroyed several years ago by Israel occupation and it have been prohibited by Israel to build another airport for political reasons. […] Just to pass from Jordan to Palestine we have to pass three main check points (Israel checkpoint, Palestinian checkpoint, Jordanian check point ) so it take at least 8 hours to passed 1 km. Also another two check points between cities (Ramallah ,Nablus). You will never realise these three main checkpoints if you aren’t Palestinian, all international people who come to visit Palestine (by airport or overland passed through different places that we aren’t allowing to use as a Palestinian) . I know, now is not the perfect time to talk about these subject but as a Palestinian it is my duty to tell people the truth. Especially if they were asking about it 
Advise: Just when you arrive your country through airport or whatever without any kind of humiliating treatment by a stranger party you should pray and thank god of this type of goodness.”

Thank you very much for sharing this with us.

What I also learned is that is easy to think about “what you will get” from meeting unknown people before you actually do. After you have laughed together, shared vulnerability and ideas with one another the “means to an end”-thought will be erased from your head and you start to intrinsically care about them. (>good read on caring here<)
I try to remind myself that I only spend three days with these people (/you), so that I am less emotional about being home without them (/you). But it doesn’t work, because time spend together doesn’t measure connection well.

The “global shaper pin” we got is an excellent reminder of our community that makes me happy to look at now. Napoleon ones said “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” Are we taking awards and medals to serious? I am perfectly aware that it is only an arbitrary small piece of metal. What is really valuable is that all of you have it as well. It represents you for me. It gets validated intersubjectively by sharing the same idea of what this community is and what it is striving for.
According to Harari being able to have the “glue” of shared ideas to cooperate in large numbers is what makes (us) Sapiens the most powerful creature of all so far:

“Sapiens rule the world, because we are the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers. We can create mass cooperation networks, in which thousands and millions of complete strangers work together towards common goals. One-on-one, even ten-on-ten, we humans are embarrassingly similar to chimpanzees. Any attempt to understand our unique role in the world by studying our brains, our bodies, or our family relations, is doomed to failure. The real difference between us and chimpanzees is the mysterious glue that enables millions of humans to cooperate effectively.”

I hope we can keep in mind what professor Klaus Schwab reminded us about: The time is now to serve our communities and the world, respect diverse realities of lives and human beings and to be a trustee of our and also future generations, who can’t yet speak up for themselves. Remember that most of the people we can help and shape the world for aren’t born yet. (Link1, Link2)

At the ACM I had the attitude of allowing everyone I meet to excite and deeply move me and I still was in this attitude when I left the airport in Vienna. Looking at random humans in this way opened my eyes for their very own value even more and I hope we can keep this excitement up for some more time to carry the spark further.

Thanks for these beautiful days…
To the Global Shapers Vienna and its members who choose me as their curator and allowed me to have this experience.
To the World Economic Forum and the Geneva Hub for organizing it. (Thanks Giovanni Porcellana)
A deep thank you to my “tribe” mixed from Somalia, Kenia, China, USA, Canada, UK, Russia, Peru, Austria, Bangladesh and Germany, who I spend most of the time with. 
(Ivy Mwambingu-Manyasi, Alejandra Salazar, Diana Fazlitdinova, Abdallah Alas, David Mou, Kaleem Hawa, Zheng Fei, Sohara Mehroze Shachi)
Especially for sharing my critical thinking about the concept of tribe, as it divides us in “us and them” (here is a great article why we are morally more prepared to be moral in our tribe than between tribes).
Also deep gratitude for the politicial and non-political structures I am able to live in, that also allowed my safe and easy traveling. And to all the humans who work hard every day to keep them alive and improve them further.

After this grasp of the world, Vienna feels smaller.
But I feel more connected globally and am looking forward to welcome you “here” and visit you “there”.

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