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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 01/28/2011

Second day at the Forum

By Mai Shbeta

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

We already met a lot of people and are getting greetings and hugs when walking along the congress center. It's a great feeling of belonging. I kind of feel like a politician or business woman. Going to sleep at 2 a.m. and getting up four hours later at 6 a.m., having meetings with important people and being polite and smiling to everyone (well that would be a perfect politician). But there is something different about us. I can feel that when people speak with us, something changes in them. There is a different energy. I was surprised to find out that many people are very interested in young people like us and really want to hear more about what we do. Even the President of the Dominican Republic! Thanks to our courageous Dan (I don't know what we would do without him), we got to have a talk with him and the First Lady. And he even gave us his personal assistant's contact info and asked us to send him more information about us.

Well, we've introduced ourselves so many times to so many different people and heard each other's stories so many times that we could theoretically change identities and answer all the questions of one another. I know everything about all the Changemakers' projects and they know all about mine. They could tell you in their sleep what's "Creativity for Peace" and the "Oasis of Peace" and all about my activism. It feels like we are family and I love it.

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 28, 2011; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  Mai Shbeta  
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