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Leadership, Values and Facing Challenges at GYLC

22 June 2016

Today at our Leadership Group Meeting (LGM) we, the Turkish delegates, had a discussion on the topics of cross-cultural conflict and communication. We explored the different stereotypes we hold about different communities and what they tell us about their culture.

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Following this discussion, we had an amazing opportunity to listen to an international cross-cultural keynote speaker, Dr Gary Weaver, who is Executive Director of the Intercultural Management Institute at the American University. His talk centered on his perspective of cultures around the world using the "Iceberg Analogy". This is a concept that considers people's behaviours to be at the tip of the iceberg, while their cultural values and attitudes are at the base. The interpretation he gave was that even though we live in different countries in which our behaviours may change, our values are more difficult to alter.

After a sumptuous lunch, we had another LGM meeting where we had to make a poster on Turkey's issues, a process that will help us prepare for the UN Security Council (UNSC) summit on Thursday. We presented our team posters to our fellow delegates and then boarded buses for a group photo in the United States Capitol. On our way to the Capitol, the weather seemed gloomy with very dark clouds. With this weather, everyone was worried that the rain could hit on us during the photo. Thankfully it did not rain during the time we had our photos taken. However, it started to rain when we were going to visit the war memorials.

Therefore, the Envision team decided to drop us off at Pentagon City instead, where we had some additional time to buy souvenirs, clothing, food etc. Once it was time for us to go back to our hotel, we had a wonderful experience on getting onto the bus, as most of us were soaked. 

After getting out of our soaked clothes and freshening up, we listened to another keynote speaker, Ms Mary Fisher, who is a global leader in the arena of social change through positive thought and action. Within this talk, we realised that Ms Fisher was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1991 and breast cancer in 2012. Her emotional and inspiring talk made me realise the importance of being strong and never giving up despite the magnitude of challenges one might face.

After this, we had another LGM meeting with the team to talk about our feelings towards the talk. Most of us were of the opinion that we need the courage to face challenges while others believe that we need love in order to overcome obstacles to success.

Through my experience from today, I have learned a lot about the ways in which people react to different social experiences and difficulties.

Nian Yun Tan