So, in January, I was selected as one of 70 young people from America, Asia, and Africa to attend a 4-day conference organized by Hope XXL at The Hague, The Netherlands.
One word? Incredible! Meeting people from countries I’d only ever heard of, learning bits about diverse cultures, listening to our keynote speakers, deliberating on articles for the Liemer’s List (please allow Google the option of your friendship) was just incredible. I feel so blessed!
There are two keynote speeches I really enjoyed, and I made a few notes. Wanna see?
Leo Bormans wrote ‘The world’s book of happiness’ and he told us about the two kinds of people, ‘green buttons and red buttons’.
|Green button||Red button|
|Talk about ‘us’||Talk about ‘me’|
|Talk and seek ‘solutions’||Talk and see ‘problems’|
|Look to the ‘future’||Look to the ‘past’|
Trust and equality are major determinants of how happy a country is. Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands lead on the happiness index, even though they are not the richest countries. Why?
Happiness can be summarized in two words – other people. (Here he asked us to think about the four happiest moments in our lives and then crossed off money, surprises, other people, and family as the thing behind our happiness).
Here are a few more thoughts on why happiness ranks higher than money and accomplishments
- The best-selling meal on earth is McDonald’s Happy Meal
- Nike, Danone, and Coca Cola’s slogans play on a smile. Wristwatches always appear in ads set to 10 past 2pm – that’s a smile. Would you buy a ‘frowning’ watch? (To be honest I’ve made it a point of duty to take a closer look at adverts from now on!)
- Coca Cola has moved from ‘Enjoy’ to ‘Open happiness’, even Lipton Iced Tea has become ‘drink positive’. Like there’s any way to drink negative.
He also talked about ‘realistic hope’ which is hinged on these three:
Survival – resilience
Attachment – trust
Mastery – goals
He also took time explain the meaning of ‘Namaste’ to us. It means three things: I see you, I recognize something positive in you, and I bow to it.
And then he wrapped with, “To a man with a hammer, everything is a nail. To a man with a telescope, everything presents an opportunity to be viewed from different angles. I wish you a telescopic life!”
Another session that really spoke to me was the one on chemical weapons presented by Mr. Michael Luhan, head of communication at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. They received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for their extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.
OPCW was founded in 1997 and so far, 109 countries have signed up to the OPCW, and there are 8 countries declared/gave up their stash of chemical weapons. And so, far, there haven’t been any ‘challenge inspections’ – where the OPCW doesn’t believe a country has surrendered all they’ve got, and decides to challenge their declaration.
Really interesting to hear of the devastation chemical weapons cause, and more importantly, to learn of the extent of brilliance and wickedness the human mind is capable of.
We spent the rest of the day identifying the countries we came from – check out the sexiest country of them at the top – Nigeria!!
Then we went to dinner, and then it was off to our accommodation, Hotel Studio, and bedtime! The evening and the morning, the first day!