by Naomi Thomson
Have you ever watched a movie that was so touching or so thought provoking that you stayed until the credits were done rolling? And even after that, you were reluctant to leave because you didn’t want the film to be over?
After the last day of MCC15, I stepped outside the UN headquarters and looked out into the crowd of team leaders and delegates hugging, laughing, and exchanging numbers. Reluctant to leave because none of us wanted the conference to be over.
MCC15 was a life-altering conference. With leaders from over 50 countries gathered together, I gained valuable insight into various cultural beliefs and practices. I learned about different issues that each community faces. I was inspired by the passion that everyone shared for global development. I was deeply touched by the keynote speakers I regarded as my heroes who believed in us and told us that we will, without a doubt, change the world. I was humbled day after day by discussion sessions that challenged us to work together in solidarity with other communities in our share of struggles. As a team leader who was in charge of facilitating group discussions, I found my voice. I gained confidence in my abilities to be an active listener, ask meaningful questions, and empower my peers to be change agents. I was instilled with hope by meeting people with huge hearts, ambitious goals, and contagious positivity.
There are so many things I can say about how I was impacted, but the transformations we went through and the profound effects that our collective efforts will have on our world are what made MCC15 so incredibly special… and tattoo-worthy!
Fifty or so years from now when my grandkids ask me about my tattoo of the UN coordinates, I will tell them that my greatest accomplishments in humanitarian aid work couldn’t have been made possible without the lessons that shaped me, the courageous people that inspired me, and the bonds that I formed with lifelong friends at MCC15.