By Valentina Barrera Vasco
I’m glad we had some time before having to turn in a reflection to mentally embrace all of the amazing and inspirational things that happened at CGI U. Nothing like seeing a real life president of the United States to make you forget how jet-lagged you are…
The first night was my favorite because we discussed something that I struggle with in all of my endeavors. The first plenary session was called The Courage to Create, and we heard from such an extraordinary panel about how they found the audacity to take on such notable projects (moderated by Mr. President himself). My favorite person on this panel was internet activist and co-founder of Parlio, Wael Ghonim. He spoke about his participation in promoting democracy in Egypt in 2011, and if that isn’t courage to promote change then I don’t know what is. It’s very difficult to step out of your comfort zone, and in Ghonim’s case, past what is even legal and could lead to death. However, change happens beyond this fear. Yet, as Ghonim pointed out, it is not that we are fearless, but that we fail and we keep trying, and that we don’t feel guilty when we fail, but rather stronger, braver, and more capable. This discussion greatly impacted me not only in terms of staying persistent with my commitment but also as I think of my own leadership and personal development.
Finally, my team and I feel revitalized and ready to take the next steps towards making our commitment a reality! #turnideasintoaction #cgiu