I represented Barbados at the World Economic Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland last week as Curator of the Global Shapers Bridgetown Hub and the experience was nothing short of incredible.
The Global Shapers Community is an initiative of the World Economic Forum and is developed and led by young people who are selected on the basis of their achievements and commitment to make a difference in their local communities. The Community of over 5000 young people under the age of 33 is divided into a network of Hubs in every major city around the world. Each Hub manages projects that focus on various issues such as youth development, entrepreneurship and sustainable development.
|With my Caribbean posse: L-R: Aruba, Suriname, Kingston Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Montego Bay Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominican Republic.|
The Bridgetown Hub was founded in 2013 and is managed by 5 hub members. I took over the role as Curator in July for a year and received full funding to attend the Annual Curator’s Meeting in Geneva.
Over 450 Curators from 142 countries came together to share challenges faced in ongoing projects and to develop strategies on how best to enhance and accelerate their impact. Working together in an environment of trust and understanding to build practical solutions that have global impact is one of the key features of the Shapers community. I now have Hub partners and great friends in Africa, North America, the Middle East and ASEAN community who are there to share resources, experience and skills.
Not only was it a priority for me to ensure that Barbados had a seat at the table, but to raise the profile of the Caribbean youth on a whole. I attended a provocative session on long term investing, infrastructure and development with industry leaders based at the World Economic Forum who focussed on the ‘blended economy’ concept. We had the opportunity to discuss specific issues faced by the islands in the Caribbean and potential ways in which the regional Shapers can work together to come up with sustainable solutions. The focus is on creating long term, scalable impact.
The 5 day event consisted of panel discussions, team building exercises, workshops and community service in Geneva and surrounding areas.
On the final day I was part of a small group of Shapers who volunteered for a creative session at a shelter for asylum seekers being housed in a bunker beneath a hospital on the French border.
Interacting with this group of young men from Eritrea, India and Ethiopia who were currently ‘in limbo’ and had been through so much adversity was an incredibly humbling experience. We had Shapers from Italy, Mozambique, USA, Morocco, Indonesia, Norway and Canada in our team who were pretty taken aback at first; we didn’t quite know what we were in for. Luckily, the Curator from Mozambique had facilitated similar group ‘sessions’ with at risk youth and within a few minutes we were all dancing to music from our respective countries and sharing dance moves. I made sure to introduce them to ‘All ah we’ by Peter Ram! Seeing the Curators applying their leadership skills in a difficult situation like that reaffirmed my passion for this compassionate, global community.
|The images of our community service session above were taken by Hugh Weber.|
You can find out more about the Global Shapers Community via @GlobalShapers or globalshapers.org