2018: Wael Boubaker – ‘Climate change should be top top top priority’

By Mary Lean

20/12/2021
Wael Broubaker climate actionist

 

Wael Broubaker Caux CPLP 2018
Wael Boubaker

When Tunisian economics graduate Wael Boubaker joined the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme (CPLP) in 2018, he expected a conference which would look good on his CV, and some beautiful scenery. Instead, his time at Caux overturned his approach to life and launched him on a career in climate activism. He has spent the last year in Finland, working with EKOenergy to promote sustainable forms of energy, and is now embarking on a Masters in sustainable development.

Wael’s environmental awakening took place during a session at Caux on Food Security, where he watched the speech to the UN of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. He saw how ‘climate change is affecting our peace, our existence as humans, our human rights’ and returned to Tunisia determined to make a difference. 

Caux didn’t just give Wael a cause, but a new way of living. He describes his experience there as spiritual. As part of the CPLP, he worked in the housekeeping team: ‘I found myself helping people.’

And he found himself listening. ‘Before, I was just talking,’ he says. ‘When I had a debate about human rights or democracy, I just wanted to share my ideas.’ As CPLP participants from all over the world shared their stories, he learnt to listen deeply.

 

Wael Broubaker Caux CPLP 2018
Wael, on the right, with fellow CPLP 2018 participants, Chul Ji (South Korea) and Yung Dung Samten (Nepal)

 

‘When my friend from Nepal told his story, I started crying because he touched my heart so deeply. An Egyptian friend told me something he had never told anyone else. Caux gives us a place where we can share our emotions and our ideas without anxiety or fear.’

As he listened, he began to let go of his predjudices. ‘When I got home I apologized to someone we had bullied at school because he was different.’

 

Wael Broubaker Caux CPLP 2018
With CPLP colleagues and trainers in Caux, 2018 

 

He learnt too to speak more carefully: to say things in a way which did not hurt other people. ‘My whole worldview has completely changed: my way of thinking, my relationship with my friends, my view of society. The Caux Peace and Leadership Programme gave me the tools to be more engaged.’

In Caux I learnt that I must be the change I want to see, so I have made my lifestyle more sustainable.

Small changes push big changes, Wael believes. ‘In Caux, they don’t waste food. Everything matters. I stopped smoking and using plastic bags, I buy second hand. In Caux I learnt that I must be the change I want to see, so I have made my lifestyle more sustainable.’

 

CPLP 2018 group
The participants of the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme 2018 (Wael is sixth from the left in the back row)

 

In November 2021, Wael was a youth delegate to the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg, whose theme was ‘Can democracy save the environment?’

Now back home, he is deciding whether to return to Finland – rated second in the world for sustainable living – or stay to raise awareness in Tunisia. ‘Most Tunisians don't care about climate change,’ he says. ‘They think the political and economic situation is more important. I am working hard to educate people. Climate change should be the top top top priority for all governments.’

Quiet time is really important to me: all my big decisions in the last four years have come from it.

In making the decision, he will turn to another of the tools he learnt in Caux – taking time in quiet to reflect. ‘I discover many things in my personality, what is wrong or useful that I have done, what I need to change in my life. Every morning I have 30 minutes. Sometimes, I spend hours in silence. Quiet time is really important to me: all my big decisions in the last four years have come from it.’

 

Watch Wael speak about his work at EKOenergy

 

Wael Broubaker climate activist
Wael as a climate activist

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

This story is part of our series 75 Years of Stories about individuals who found new direction and inspiration through Caux, one for each year from 1946 to 2021. If you know a story appropriate for this series, please do pass on your ideas by email to John Bond or Yara Zhgeib. If you would like to know more about the early years of Initiatives of Change and the conference centre in Caux please click here and visit the platform For A New World.

 

  • Photo CPLP group 2018 and with 2 CPLP participants serving cakes: Initiatives of Change
  • All other photos: Wael Broubaker
 
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