More than words…


This entry is dedicated…

To all the well-respected speakers and the organizing committee of the 4th University Scholars Leadership Symposium.

To all of delegates at the symposium who have contributed to its success.

To all of my friends who have walked into my life in the most graceful way I could ever imagine, and will stay in my heart for the years to come.

To myself, who have learned the lessons that can’t be taught anywhere else.

And to you, whoever is reading this, because you have made the right decision to know more about one of the best international events about humanitarian issues in the world.

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The symposium means so much to me as the way it does to many other people. It has brought me…

FRIENDSHIP. LOVE.

With more than 700 delegates from 45 countries in the world, this symposium brought together the nicest and friendliest people who care about alleviating world poverty. Though it was impossible to meet and talk to everyone in the symposium, I managed to make so many new friends and remember their names as much as I could (it was hard to be honest, but remembering someone’s name is one of the sweetest things we can do).

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The symposium has connected me with the people that have become my soul mates. Even though we just met for a few days, I feel as if we have been friends for years and we can share everything together without hesitation.

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We learned, we ate, we sang, we played, we laughed and we cried together. We were so happy together, sharing moments, sharing life…

Love is sometimes that simple. We love each other unconditionally, and I’m grateful that we found each other in the crowd.

 KNOWLEDGE.

All too often we pursue the knowledge that helps us get a better job and we forget about the kind of knowledge that helps us live a better life. The symposium has provided us the latter. We had the chance to listen to and learn from the people who have devoted their entire life for a better world and give them our warmest hugs.

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Thank you, Bam Aquino, Peter Baines, Pushpa Basnet, Geraldine Cox, Ibu Robin Lim, Tony Meloto, Simerjeet Singh, Pamela Wigglesworth, Lloyd Luna and Francis Kong for sharing your experiences and giving us so much inspiration to make ourselves better people and the world a better place.

“ A day well spent brings a happy sleep at night. A life well spent brings a happy death” ( Simerjeet Singh)

Remember to respect the soul of other people” (Robin Lim)

You have to believe in your dreams before everyone else does” (Pushpa Basnet)

Problems are always there, but we can choose the only problems that relate to what we care” (Miguel Bermundo)

The purpose of going to university is to have the capability to learn” ( Francis Kong)

We can’t change what happened, but we can change what happens next” (Peter Baines)

Start young. Start early.” (Pamela Wigglesworth)

REALIZATION.

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Since the very first day I came to Manila, I have seen so many homeless people and poor children on the street. They sleep alongside the bay, on the pavement, in their tricycles and in doggy tents. Street children who are just from 3 to 10 years old will run around you, with their hands open asking for food and money. Looking at these people keeps me aware of what we take for granted. We are so lucky to be able to afford good accommodation, good food and even travel around the world while so many other people have to live on the streets, eat anything they have and have never stepped out of their own city. Poverty is just a “global issue” when you read about it in newspapers, but it becomes a pain when we really witness it with our own eyes.

I have learned how to treasure what I have right now, and I feel blessed that I was not born in poverty like those children. We cannot choose how we are born. We cannot choose how other people are born either. God does. However, he doesn’t do so for free I believe. We have to give as much as we receive. We don’t know when we will be in the situation that needs help from other people, so why not open our heart and share what we have with those in need?

HAPPINESS.

For every single day of the symposium, I was always happy. I was happy to meet new friends, to learn from the speakers, to hang out with my buddies, to give a hand to building schools for children. We smiled, we talked, we laughed all the time. The happiness I felt was so huge and deep that it is still resonating in my heart right now.

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There are little things that could make me feel like I was the happiest person in the world. How happy I was when my friends told me that they loved me so much. How happy I was when I saw people around me laughing and talking cheerfully. How happy I was when the children at Quezon ran to me, called my name and hugged me so tight. How happy I was when I played a game with these little kids and they liked it! How happy I was when I received some little gifts from my friends even though we had just known each other for a few days. How happy I was when I knew that I became a special friend to them.

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This is a life changing experience to me and many other people I believe.

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Dear my friends who have shared this time with me: Stay passionate. Stay positive. Stay focused. Keep your fire burning. I have faith that we can together make a lot of differences in the world.

Dear others, I strongly recommend that you attend this symposium next year. It will definitely be something that you will never be able to forget. Life is short; we had better spend it well. Time is finite; we had better spend it wisely.

Experience it, try it, and feel it in your own way.

With LOVE

Michelle Tran

10 August 2013

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