More than 20 participants from all over the world converged in Singapore for the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Young Fellows 2016 last September 17-25, 2016.
The WIEF Young Fellows is an initiative of WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN) that brings together young people to connect creative ideas and explore prospects of collaboration on world- changing solutions. WYN is a global youth network for young change-makers to connect and collaborate for business opportunities and social projects for the common good, with members from every continent across the globe.
The theme for WIEF Young Fellows 2016 is “From Seed to Tree: Courage in Diversity.” And the key areas of focus are leadership, nature, community, self-development and entrepreneurship.
Being one of this year’s participants, I’ve listed some of my learnings from this fruitful event.
You can learn something from anyone in any place at any time.
Learning doesn’t necessarily have to be in the classroom or in the lecture hall or in any school. You will always learn something from the circumstances that you face. It doesn’t always have to be academic. You learn patience from the persevere person. You learn sign language from the deaf. You learn courage from the risk taker. You learn how to handle your stress during hackathon. You learn that good coffee will actually make you sleep better from the coffee aficionado in the group such as Rani.
There might be pressure and stress, but you are strong enough to overcome such.
I previously was a part of a business simulation game, but we had enough sleep then. And the game went on for a week. But for the hackathon, we had to come up with everything basically in less than 24 hours. We only had 2-3 hours of sleep, of which I usually cannot handle. Somehow, we still did well and won Pricebuilder Award.
Communicate and overcome your shyness. You never know how you can touch lives by sharing your piece.
I am very open when I write. But, it is a different scenario when I speak. I don’t really like speaking a lot. However, when I managed to really push a bit harder and talked about my mom to the group, I managed to touch everyone’s hearts. And that, to me, was the most fulfilling part of the event.
Push yourself to do something different and you will love yourself more for doing so.
I don’t really like sports. When they said that we will go dragon-boating, I hesitated to join. But, I didn’t wanna spoil the event. So, I joined anyway. Then, I loved it. I truly did. Paddling with Team PartyBoat was amazing. It may have drained our energy, but our bond surely got tighter.
Humans are persistent in whichever calamities or disabilities they are facing.
I know that Filipinos are exceptionally persistent. But, I never saw how difficult it is for the disabled. WIEF Young Fellows opened my eyes to this reality when we paddled blindfolded and learned sign language from Daniel, who was so amazing. Ma sha Allah! I could not thank him enough for the realization he led me to.
No matter how old you are, learn to have fun.
My colleagues are so outgoing and fun. At first, I thought everyone was boring, odd and dull. Then, I realized I was the boring, odd and dull one. They are so game to splash water around the children’s park and whilst dragon-boating. They partied (halally) in the bus. Everyone was exchanging fun stories.
Friendship is not measured by how long you’ve known someone.
It is that instant connection you make that friendship is all about. It is about opening one’s self to welcome another person in his life. It is about the shared learning. Most of all, it is about the amount of dua you are willing to make for someone during your salah.
Similarities drive us to somehow connect our lives with another person despite the ample time of knowing them. Differences makes us understand each other more.
I make dua in general for all of Ummah. But, when one of our colleagues’ father was critical in the hospital, it was the first time that I prayed hard for someone I barely knew. I was once there. It is that connection that probably pushed me to cry out to Allah.
Lastly, reconnecting to the Almighty for your true purpose in life is what matters most.
We are here to worship Allah. All of His bounties are something we can enjoy but never abuse. Reconnecting ourselves with our Creator will lead us to the realization that we have to take care of our surroundings – from our environment to the creatures that live within. Our true purpose is to make our way of life as a kind of worship to Allah. And when we live in the service of others, we attain a big portion of our true purpose.