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Posted at 3:50 PM ET, 01/29/2011

An experience to remember

By Mai Shbeta

British Council Global Changemakers is a network of young social entrepreneurs and community activists from 110 countries worldwide.

Entering the Congress Center in the third day was different from the other days. We already knew what to expect, the workers already knew us and when we walked in we got hugged and kissed by our new Davos friends. It felt like home.

So we started the day with a rehearsal for our Ideas Lab presentation, which went pretty well, and then we went to MIP (meet important people) a little at the Young Global Leaders' lounge.
So I was sitting there, thinking of when will be the next time I will sit there. I really hope to get back there in a few years as a Young Global Leader (people about 40 years old). But I know that even if this happens, it will not be the same. Being the youngest participant in this huge forum is an experience by itself. There are things that you just can't do when you are over 20. You could not go speak with the Dominican Republic's president just like that, just because you are so young and already there. This was actually one of the best moments at the forum. We were sitting in the lounge and the president passes by. Suddenly Dan jumps up and tries to speak to him. Of course the bodyguards wouldn't let him any closer and pushed him away, but then the president recognizes this young crazy guy and comes over to talk to him. And he was really interested in what we do and wanted to meet all of us!

The funny thing is that a day after this happened, we were sitting again on the same spot, and the president passed there again. When he recognized us he stopped, laughed and said: "Hi Dan!" He actually remembered his name. It made our day.

Mai lives in a Peace Village called "The Oasis of Peace" (Neve Shalom/Wahat al Salem in Hebrew and Arabic), which is the only place in Israel where Palestinians and Jews choose to live together as a community. Mai's father is a Palestinian Muslim and her mother is a Jew. Her activism focuses on fostering peace in the Middle East. She has attended numerous peace camps as a participant and a facilitator, and has participated in and led peace dialogues across Israel.

Since she was a child, Mai has believed that her life's mission is to promote peace, because no one in the entire world can tell her that peace is not possible -- she sees her family as living proof that it is. Mai has just begun her first year of legal studies and is planning to pursue a second degree in international relations before becoming a human rights lawyer.

Return to the Insiders' Guide to Davos 2011 page

By Mai Shbeta  | January 29, 2011; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  Mai Shbeta  
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