The Big Hope 2 has been one of the best experiences of my life so far! I loved coming together with passionate and fun-loving people from all over the world to discuss global issues in the city of Liverpool. I felt so alive, motivated, and inspired during the whole week and my heart was fuller than it had been in a long time. This conference reaffirmed my beliefs and passion for cultures and global challenges. The speeches and discussions inspired me to be an active global citizen and to work for the common good, but my favorite thing was my learning track. Everyone got to choose a learning track, which was like a mini project, from 27 different options. I chose “Global Citizenship, Education, and Faith” and got to work on that one during the week.
The track was led by six Italian professors who were all eager to work with our group and share about their culture. Our group was probably the biggest one at the conference with around 25 students from different countries. I was fascinated by all the diversity represented in our classroom from language to skin color to religion to gender and more. Below you can see a video of our group saying “hello/good morning” in our native languages!
We focused on defining the concept of global citizenship based on our experiences and ideas. First, we all showed pictures and videos from our countries that were related to our idea of global citizenship. Then, we wrote down the themes represented in our pictures like family, faith, music, food, nature, and others. I enjoyed seeing how no matter where we were from, we all valued the same things even if it was to a different extent. It reminded me that our common humanity unites us despite our differences.
One of the days, we went down to the city center together and had a blast! We first went to a museum, and then we got a walking tour of the city. We were amazed by the beauty and history of the city and took advantage of it by taking lots of pictures together. It was such a fun day and it brought us closer together.
The other days we worked on a project to show to the rest of the groups in the conference. Since we were a big group, we made four projects which included a presentation with a video, two songs, comics, and a handmade symbol. I worked on the presentation and had a lot of fun putting everything together and combining all our ideas. I was also glad to help as a translator for the group coordinator who only spoke Italian and Spanish. We finished our projects on time and presented them to the rest of the people at the conference, and we even got to perform a song at the closing concert!
Looking back, I am so grateful I chose that learning track, but most of all, I’m thankful for the people who were in it. I learned a lot from them and now I have new friends in different countries! We befriended each other on social media to keep up with our lives; yet, I really hope I get to see them in person again. My main takeaway from the learning track and the conference in general was that our common humanity should go over nationality and anything else that distinguishes us from each other. We are all global citizens and our race is humanity. This does not mean we should abandon our other identities. It means we should recognize that we are also members of the world community; therefore, we all share the same global identity and are responsible for our community. For the years to come, I aspire to be an active citizen wherever I am, celebrating diversity and seeking solutions to global issues at a local and global scale. You can do that too!
— By Biana Reyes Alvarenga