'I could see that my contribution was meaningful'

Caux Peace and Leadership Programme Talks 6

Manuela Garay 2021


The opportunity to join the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme family (CPLP) has had a profound impact on my life. My name is Manuela Garay and I am Canadian and Colombian, and I have always considered myself a “global citizen”. I feel a strong sense of awareness and care about experiences that young people confront across the world. This feeling is something I have always had but before taking part in CPLP at Caux my exposure to people from around the world was limited.

The experience in Caux, meeting people from all walks of life, the service element of the programme, and the strong sense of community that was built during my internship, made me a more connected global citizen. I now have friends from all corners of the world, and when something happens, I feel a sense of ownership and personal loss. Last year, when there was the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon I felt as if my own city had suffered. When the Covid crisis hit Spain and now India, I felt as though I myself was running out of oxygen. Now there are protests in Colombia, I feel on edge and I wish there was something I could do to help my people. I have a more personal connection to Colombia since many family members and childhood friends live there.


CPLP 2017 graduation
Caux Peace and Leadership Programme graduation 2017


Sometimes, the weight of all these things can be overwhelming, affecting my mental health. Feelings of insignificance and helpless can get the better of me. This is when I feel the need to take action to help make the world a better place, in any way I can, especially through the pursuit of my work with Creative Leadership (CL), a conference organized by CPLP alumni.

As someone who likes the arts and different forms of story-telling — especially graphic design and photography — I’ve always felt that my career couldn’t significantly help people. When I joined the CL team and started helping in the communications department, that feeling started to dissipate. I could see that my contribution was meaningful.

I was surrounded by a team who were caring and encouraging, and although we were all physically apart, we were still together.

The first year of the Creative Leadership conference was incredibly fulfilling and motivating. Despite the many challenges and steep learning curves, I was surrounded by a team who were caring and encouraging, and although we were all physically apart, we were still together.

We are currently working on the second edition of Creative Leadership. We are also in the process of wrapping up our pilot project Weaving Our Narratives, a story-telling course I hope we can continue to develop.

Thanks to these projects I feel I am contributing to the world, even if it is only in a small way. This means I now feel that I am not just a connected global citizen, but someone who actively contributes to the wellbeing of others. All thanks to my experience at the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme.


Manuela Garay

Manuela Garay is an office manager for an energy conservation company in Canada and is currently studying graphic design. She took part in the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme in 2017 and is excited to be continuing her involvement in IofC through the Creative Leadership conference and Weaving Our Narratives course. CPLP gave Manuela first-hand experience of how finding inner peace and sharing your story can impact your life. She is now eager to see what positive effect this conference and course will have on others and on the world at large.





The Caux Peace and Leadership Talks (CPLP Talks) are an online space where stories can be shared and connections made. This series is hosted and facilitated by the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme Alumni as a two-way discussion. It offers an opportunity to listen to young voices from around the world, get inspired and engage with one another.

If you wish to be part of the next CPLP Talks on 26 June at 1:00 pm GMT and share your thoughts and feelings on the power of young voices, you can sign up here.




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