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Posted at 11:45 PM ET, 01/30/2011

I will miss this

By Mai Shbeta

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

The last day of the forum was going to come to its end. I was so happy that I would get more than four hours of sleep. But guess what? We ended up going to bed -- again -- at 3 a.m. I mean, how lame would it be to miss this amazing last party at the forum?

So we woke up Sunday morning and hit the congress center for the last time.

Dan and Raquel spoke at the closing plenary of the forum and they rocked.

Afterward, we all went to a perfect closing meal on a perfect mountain with perfect weather. It was just amazing. No single cloud, no wind, 10 degrees warm and a lot of good mood and nice people. And the best part is that we went down the mountain sledding! Great fun.

This week felt like I was in a movie. It's a huge experience for a 19-year-old. A lot to take in and learn. I can say now that 99 percent of the people I talked with were very interesting and likable. They took us seriously. I felt very appreciated.

As opposed to what people tend to say, many of them do something special for their communities and are not just "chasing money" and business opportunities. Otherwise they wouldn't even want us here.

I've heard the expression "spirit of Davos" a lot in the past week. And I feel like we contributed to this spirit a younger aspect and thoughts that brought a smile to people's faces.

I will miss this.

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 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.

By Mai Shbeta  | January 30, 2011; 11:45 PM ET
Categories:  Mai Shbeta  
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