Each person holds a specific purpose for which they were brought to life. We all come into the world with inner talents, and we need the right spaces to explore them in order to embody them for the benefit of others. So that our work can become the spontaneous expression of our own being.
A few weeks ago a group of twenty young social innovators attended the ChangemakerXchange summit in Palermo, Italy – a program co-created by Ashoka and Robert Bosch Stiftung. We came from all over Europe, including Turkey and the South Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa with the goal of expanding our networks, learning from one another, and collaborating across sectors and disciplines. On paper, we were all drastically different. But we all shared one common desire – that of using our passion for challenging the status quo for creating a better world.
Modern society puts a lot of pressure on young people to follow some socially accepted predefined paths, which focus on financial retribution and external recognition to measure levels of success and achievement. Efforts to conform and maintain the stability of the system are praised, and there is little time and space to discover and re-asses the inner purpose of any person or organization. Yet, as we explored first hand during the summit, the crises are only getting more complex and destructive, whilst my generation is increasingly experiencing emotional exhaustion and physical burnout.
ChangemakerXchange provides young changemakers with space and time to step back and reflect on our journeys, as well as stepping forth and share our skills and expertise to support others. As a result, on the one hand, we explore practices to lead a meaningful and thriving life that nourishes us; on the other hand, we learn tools to amplify the positive impact of our social ventures. As changing the status quo requires a significant amount of energy, it is important we take regular time to re-assess our intentions and renew our commitment to social change.
The conversations and workshops in Palermo helped us realign to our purpose and our values. They also confirmed that even though our individual journeys are distinct, we have all embarked on a collective journey. It is only by acknowledging our differences that we can then join forces to manifest our vision to create a better world. And to do this, the first step is to sit back and listen, to ourselves and to others.
Ashoka’s ChangemakerXchange Summit 2017
Ashoka’s ChangemakerXchange, a global collaboration platform for young social innovators, is hosting a summit in Dubai, UAE, from 26th April until 30th April 2017.
The summit is open to applicants, aged between 18 and 30 (with limited places for 29- and 30-year-olds), who lead their own social ventures in Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, or Yemen.
Apply directly at https://cmxchange.typeform.com/to/K0PkpM. Applications close at midnight GMT on Sunday, 19th February 2017.
To find out more about ChangemakerXchange, visit changemakerxchange.com