The Global Shapers Annual Curators Meeting - Geneva, Switzerland
Geneva, Switzerland was not on my travel to do list but after becoming part of the Global Shapers Community, I was invited to attend the Annual Curators Meeting.
The Global Shapers Community is a network of Hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. An Initiative of the World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum is much more widely known about in other countries, its presence is not as big in New Zealand. The WEF is the International Institution for Public-Private Cooperation to shape the global, regional, national and industry agendas. The Auckland and Christchurch hubs were only established last year and founded by Sam Johnson and Rebecca Mills. Each year the curator changes by a vote within the community. I have taken over this year as curator for the Christchurch Hub. We have 17 members across a range of expertise areas and plan to do projects this year that will have a positive impact on our community, New Zealand and the World. For more information check out our facebook page.
The World Economic Forum hosted the Annual Curators Meeting 2015 for Global Shapers at the Forum headquarters in Geneva. This gathering of more than 450 Global Shapers was designed to ensure that our voice, the voice of millennials is included in the debate on how to address a range of global challenges, including youth unemployment, climate change, the future of the internet and gender parity.
The Global Shapers in attendance were aged between 20 and 30, some of us presented projects run in our local communities and held a series of workshops on our impact and sustainability. The meeting offered an opportunity for feedback and advice on these projects by a global community of peers as well as Forum experts. We also participated in a range of activities, such as maintaining the lakeshore, catering for destitute people, and working in the host city of Geneva, and with local communities, to make a positive impact.
Geneva is amazing. And expensive. It is in the top five most expensive places to live in the world, I was lucky that my meals were covered by the WEF… The meeting ran for four days so I had two and a bit days to explore. The first day with Jackson, from NZ, the second day with Lauren, my new mate from Sydney, Straya and a day to myself! With free public transport passes and uber, getting around was easy.
On arrival my room at the Movenpick Hotel was not ready… after 30 hours of travelling it was the last thing I wanted to hear. But Jackson and I decided a quick trip into the city would be good. In 30 degree heat we tripped to Bel Air, the centre suburb on the tram. After only traveling within New Zealand/Australia and to Kenya last month, all the infrastructure looked incredible to me, the shopping was overwhelming and everything was a new experience. I found myself snapping photos of every street.
There were streets of restaurants but due to a low budget I went for the cheap Thai Express. Seeing the Jet d’Eau for the first time was amazing, as this was all I knew of Geneva.
During the meeting we were split into tribes, I was in tribe nine. Our tribe had people from ten different countries - New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, India, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Egypt, America and Ukraine.
This trip (just like my trip last month to Nairobi, Kenya) was an eye opener. Being surrounded by people from all over the world and listening to how things work in their counties, I gained a new perspective and ideas for how I can come back and help our community but at the same time having a global impact. I met so many amazing people and I hope to visit them in their countries in the future. One of the countries that is right up the top of my list with Pakistan is India - so if anyone is keen to be a travelling companion let me know!
We heard from some amazing people from around the world but my favourite would have to have been Mark Pollock. Mark's story was truly uplifting. He was blind and then became a paraplegic. Listening to him speak and his thoughts about young people and how we can change the world was inspiring. I highly recommend people look him up and watch his videos.
On the final day we were all assigned an activity out in the community of Geneva. There were people cleaning up lakes, chopping paths in forests and talking with asylum seekers. I was assigned to ‘International food with elderly residents’. This was amazing. Six of us were sent to a Elderly Home to share international food from our country. Most of us bought lollies or chocolate, so of course I had pineapple lumps. When we turned up, no one working there spoke any english, and none of us spoke french. So after an hour tour of the place not understanding much of what was going on,we spent time doing an activity for their mobility the video below explains more.
The residents loved the pineapple lumps and overall it was a really nice way to see a different side to Geneva.
Lauren and I explored the city and the ‘Old Town’ which was home to more beautiful buildings and shops. I was so overwhelmed by it all. Lauren from Sydney, was the best, so glad we met and decided to sneak out and spent half a day exploring.
To finish it all the meeting the WEF and Geneva Hub had planned a boat cruise, which actually took us over the border into France. We were treated to amazing views, a three course meal and plenty of wine, while cruising on a three story boat.
My sugar free lifestyle was broken a few times with Swiss Chocolate, Movenpick Ice-cream and European almond meal pastries too tempting to resist. See the evidence below...
Overall the trip was amazing and I am so grateful to WEF and the Global Shapers community for getting me there. If anyone have any questions about the WEF, the Global Shapers Community and how they can get involved please email me.
Until next time - on the 24th September I embark on my OE with my family! My dad, step mum and sister will be away for 42 days travelling to Los Angeles, Paris, Venice, Rome, Edinburgh and road tripping to London just in time for the Rugby World Cup final. After four years of planning and counting down it will be the first time for all of us travelling outside of NZ and Australia!* So watch this space more blogs are coming.
*excluding my last minute Kenya & Switzerland trips