Farhiya Farah has a keen interest in development and is currently working with Mercy USA for Aid and Development, an NGO based in Kenya with operations in Somalia.
I wasn’t expecting it. The call that is…..I was selected to attend an interview that would determine if I could attend Mosaic international summit 2010 as one of the delegates. A lot was happening, professionally and personally, I knew I wanted to do something different but did not know exactly what or how to do it. Thank God for the email a friend sent, about mosaic and I just applied not knowing what the outcome would be.
The rest went smoothly, in a matter of weeks I was in the UK for the summit but honestly, I did not know what to expect. People from 17 countries are going to attend! I thought to myself, How will it go? What will they say? Will I feel out of place? Alhamdulillah (thank God) all the worries and doubts were just in my head. I felt at home, literally, on arrival, everyone was just so friendly. All the 80 people gathered seemed genuine in wanting to know who you were, where you came from, what you guys ate back home etc.
The summit was headed by a team of very friendly and knowledgeable people who saw to it that we were well cared for and that the summits aims were well communicated to us. Different recognized leaders, who have excelled in their respective fields, came and gave us their take on life, leadership, global issue awareness like poverty etc. Challenging conversations, encouraging speeches, motivating revelations were just part of the exciting journey in the mosaic summit. Inspirational leaders like: ·
- Stuart Lang, who spoke about tradition and its importance and how it doesn’t hamper progress, ·
- Farah Pandith whose projects have seen Muslims all over being empowered, and who mentioned the importance of luck and that we should think broadly and not sit still. ·
- Sir fazle Hassan Abed whose idea of a small scale relief and rehab programme has seen him build one of the largest NGOS in the world, who indeed took the point home, “ small and beautiful become big and effective, whatever you do, do it well.’’ ·
- Stuart Duff and Prof. Binna Kandola, who took as through the leadership journey and the different models of leadership. They addressed to us the importance of coaching and how it’s necessary in unlocking a persons potential in order to maximize their performance. They brought so much to us as the delegates, and interestingly so they still do, through the models of development plan that kandola sent us recently. ‘’Empathy as a characteristic in a leader yields a lot of productivity’’ Prof. Binna Kandola ·
- Founder of Islamic relief, Dr. Hany El Bany OBE shared his amazing journey as a humanitarian and shared the different trials and tribulations he went through to ensure that he has reached as many people in need as possible. He reminded us of our duty as Muslims which is to help the poor and that together when united we can make poverty history….’’don’t chase money, don’t chase targets, invest in employees’’- ·
- Mrs. Anjum Anwar ‘’If we do not speak with each other, we will not demystify facts.’’ She spoke on the importance of being firm in one owns belief in that only then is it easier to relate with others about who we are and what we stand for. And that it’s only when you have positive thinking when you will be comfortable in someone’s arena. ·
- Prof. Mike Hardy ‘’we have to bring people together because they already are together’’ He spoke on the need to understand each other and learn to live with each other. ·
- Chris chivers ‘’those leaders who do not want to engage in dialogue are weak’’ ·
- Will Day, ‘’Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future’’
After the amazing speeches we embarked on study tour groups where we saw first hand how communities have come together in addressing several social and economical issues that face them on a day to day basis, e.g. curbing antisocial behaviors, and also we saw how they looked into other societies problems and how they tried looking for a solution to their problems e.g. Helping in eradicating malaria in the developing countries and assist those with water problems by fundraising for water points and bore holes. This selflessness and dedication to helping mankind was so inspiring and as if that was not enough we were given the opportunity of a lifetime where we met the founder of Mosaic, The prince of Wales, Prince Charles. He showed us or at least most of us, another side of world leaders. We saw a caring, dedicated and concerned individual who genuinely wanted integration between different faiths in the universe and who wanted to see better living conditions in the world. He wanted the youth to own there time, to stop sitting down as other people tackled their problems and to see to it that all people around us had access to equal care, be it education, social needs or economic.
That was enough motivation that left a ray hope in most delegates, everyone like me, wanted to go back home and try and be an agent of change, try and get a solution especially where there’s an obvious problem. Of course it wasn’t all work and no play! I had a great time with some of the delegates walking around Cambridge, and the almost disastrous boat ride in Cambridge! I mean, what were you doing jamil! At least Tabinda sorted us out :) oh and the way John tried to help us but to no avail….I mean we looked so confused, that when we made it back, the guests outside that hotel actually cheered for us! That should tell you they were sure the boat would sink! But the most memorable for me was the visit to Old Trafford in Manchester! Historic! I miss my group, the amazing and ever smiling group leader Lina Gomaa, Memoona with her intelligent and always on point thoughts!, Shahrizad, her calm and collected nature that always spoke volumes, Shafiullah whose love for his country and his family in particular was evident in his talk, of course the leaders of today! Anas and his counterpart Yavuz! Ria the new bride, Arkan, so easy to talk to and quick to give his thoughts, all the time we met as a group, the conversations and activities never had a dull moment! ( hope I haven’t left any one out) I miss all of you, really, though thousands of miles apart, I will always remember those beautiful faces and may Allah guide and protect all of you always! I left the summit with so much love for my religion Islam, I can’t explain it, but I felt that my faith was strengthened Alhamdulillah. The amazing energy, the positive ideas, are what I truly miss, but I believe that enthusiasm that I had with me, I will not let it die, inshaAllah I’ll put it to practice…doesn’t matter how long it will take me. Things maybe difficult to implement, especially with no form of support around me, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘’Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm’’