A journey of discovery at Caux

By Ornella Nana, Young Ambassadors Programme 2017

04/05/2018

 

Ornella Nana, from Ireland, aged 22, took part in the Young Ambassadors Programme during Addressing Europe’s Unfinished Business at the Caux Forum 2017.

When I applied for the Young Ambassadors Programme (YAP) I wasn’t sure what to expect. I imagined it would be like all the other youth gatherings I had been to – an opportunity to network and discuss important issues with other young people from around the world. But there was so much more to the YAP than trying to solve global challenges and making great contacts with other young people.

The distinctive thing for me was the deep connection with people whose stories I would never otherwise have heard. People were given the time and space to liberate their minds and tell their stories without the fear of being judged or misunderstood. We heard their side of the story, their personal experiences and how they felt.

This changed my perspective. It allowed me to see that, no matter how different our stories, backgrounds and experiences, we shared a stronger commonality –through brokenness, fear, disappointment, forgiveness, vulnerability or even success. These were all factors that united us as humans.

Understanding other people’s journeys gave me the courage to face mine with boldness and without fear of being wrong. It inspired me to stay true to who I am, and made me aware that I can create an impact at all levels and every stage of my life. I learned that, although our realities and understanding of life may be different, somewhere in our deepest consciousness, we all have this feeling of vulnerability. Out of that place of vulnerability we can also find our greatest strength.

Being in Caux was such a journey of discovery! You never knew who you would sit beside at breakfast, lunch or dinner. The vibe and atmosphere was so peaceful and friendly. You could engage in profound conversations with older people about their lifetime experiences or hear amazing stories from peers, who showed so much bravery in their work. More important, you could also encourage someone else through your story, or simply by being yourself.

One of the most amazing habits I cultivated in Caux was taking a quiet moment every morning to reflect on my day and my life and to be inspired by a new day in which all things are possible. The programme prepared me to be a leader and taught me that leadership and true impact start from within. I began to understand that every conversation I had was important, because it not only told me a story about that person, but also revealed who I was, where I stood and what I could change.

I realised that no matter how small I am, if I really start making positive changes in my life, that has the power to make an impact. If I want to see more people smiling, I can do that by smiling first. If I want to see more peace, I can start being peaceful in myself and with others around me. You cannot always change how situations turn out. But choosing to live your life at its best can impact more people than you can imagine.

I am grateful that there is a place in the world where people can come with curiosity to learn about themselves and other people, and discover peace from within.

 

Featured Story
On

related stories

Caux Palace view night

Climate and the economy in the post-COVID world

As pandemic-related lockdowns and travel restrictions slowly begin to ease and a return to normal life seems nearer at hand, we are at a critical juncture as to how we choose to act towards our enviro...

Nazarene Mannie

My Learning Story: Nazrene Mannie

Nazrene Mannie is the Executive Director of the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) and talks about her learning experiences. Our interview series 'My Learning Story’ hopes to become a global learning...

Daniel Clements

From personal change to conference leadership: Daniel Clements

Daniel Clements, the coordinator for this year’s Creative Leadership conference, would not have become involved with Initiatives of Change Switzerand without his father, who recommended that he attend...

Sezan Eyrich

‘[Borders] are actually quite fragile – they are only built on the idea that we cannot connect to ourselves and to others’

In 2018, Sezan Eyrich spent a semester in Warsaw, studying political science and searching for a comfortable way to discuss political issues. When a friend recommended the Tool for Change Young Ambass...

COVID 19 slider EN square

The Caux Forum is going online!

Our team together with the international IofC Network is working hard to give you an online 2020 Caux Forum, trying to get you as close as possible to the “Caux experience”. Although we will not be ab...

COVID 19 slider EN final

COVID-19 : The Caux Forum 2020 is being transformed

In light of the global health crisis surrounding coronavirus, as well as its organizational and financial implications, the Council of Initiatives of Change Switzerland has decided to adapt the Caux F...

Caux_Palace_Sunset

Job offers for the Caux Forum 2020

For the Caux Forum 2020 IofC Switzerland is looking for a Dining-room Manager, a Cash Desk Manager, a Buffet Manager, an Allocation Manager and a Support Team Manager....

Open House Day group with kids

Internship: Open House Day & Project Support (40%)

IofC Switzerland is looking for an intern who will be in charge of the Open House Day on 5 July 2020. The intern will also support IofC's projects in the area of trustbuilding, in particular with rega...

Caux Palace, credit: Paula Mariane

3 Job Offers: Dining-Room Assistant / Technical Services Assistant / Reception Desk Assistant

You would like to work in an inspring place with people from all over the world? IofC Switzerland is looking for a Reception Desk Assistant, a Technical Services Assistant and a Dining-room Assistant...

Michael Akampa

Making investment work for the people

The Caux Dialogue on Land and Security (CDLS) in 2017 was a ‘turning point’ for sustainable investment professional, Micheál Akampa, who was invited to speak at its Invest in Peace conference. ‘I met ...

CDLS 2019 Tom Duncan

Empowering communities to restore mangroves

Tom Duncan is CEO of Earthbanc and passionate about problem solving and strategic systems thinking, primarily in regenerative economics, green finance and financial technology, as a means of restoring...

Nhat Vhuong

Plucking water from the air

Webmarketing consultant and social entrepreneur Nhat Vhuong is passionate about tackling water scarcity. A Vietnamese refugee, who grew up in Switzerland, he worked in Japan for eight years before ret...

Meghalaya CDLS 2019 Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya’s lighthouses of sustainable development

‘Our goal in Meghalaya is to build a low-carbon economy through complete involvement and ownership of communities,’ Conrad Sangma, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya, told the opening session of the Caux...

CDLS 2019 Chau Duncan

Bridging the financial divides

Chau Tang Duncan is applying over 20 years’ experience in banking, trade and commercial diplomacy to improving the financial access of disadvantaged communities. ...

Aibanshngain Swer CDLS 2019

Protecting Meghalaya’s water sources

Some billion people rely on water sourced in the hills of Meghalaya, in North East India. One of those responsible for water conservation in the State, Aibanshngain Swer, took part in the Summer Acade...