HOBY WLC ‘20
In the past, ambassadors would travel across the Pacific to Chicago; this year, we stayed in our homes and attended the virtual HOBY World Leadership Congress through our screens. To be frank, I lowered my expectations when I knew the program was going to be held online. Nobody knew what was going to happen. Little did I know the experience has left me in astonishment, as though I went to the land of the impossible dream for 5 days.
Regardless of the time difference, hundreds and hundreds of ambassadors across the globe attended the live meeting via zoom. The program was based on Eastern Standard Time, which meant a couple of activities would be held at 2 in the morning. Some of the ambassadors attended the seminar at 3 am; for us, we started at 6 pm and ended at around midnight. Despite the odds, we pulled it through. I remembered we insanely pulled an all-nighter on the last day before the closing ceremony to participate in almost every single activity on HOBY Connect. It was mad as a hatter, yet I can assure you we all left the WLC with minds full of inspiration and satisfaction.
HOBY is not to teach you what to think -- it’s to teach you HOW to think. When the world is at its critical point, we are the generation that has to make a change for posterity. Our generation is challenged by global issues: climate change, discrimination, safe food and water supply, violence, equality, etc. The fight for human rights and freedom has become dire. Especially when COVID-19 came, it slammed the world with the desperation for a better community, a better civilisation where people can come together with love and create important
dialogue. It’s alright if you did not know, but you have to listen. You have to learn. Knowledge is only powerful when it is put into action.
By utilising the power of kindness and language with open-mindedness, you are already starting to make an impact. Small consistent actions of change are the building blocks to create a huge difference in the community. When one of our ambassadors asked Diane Latiker for advice to become an impactful leader, she said with genuine “In spite of everything, you have to rise above it.” There would be obstacles of fear to climb, if you face one of them, “channel that fear into hope.
The world is crying, how will you answer the call? One of the ambassadors created a software to help to combat climate change in his local community; another started a youth organisation to raise the voices of the underrepresented in her town. How about you? I realized that I do not need to be a superhero or an intellectual in order to be “qualified” for making an impact. The WLC is the time when I feel I have a purpose. I have been aroused by the outstanding ambassadors that I admire so much. There’s still hope in us.
HOBY is a safe space where people can connect and share their stories andexperiences. No backstabbing, no secrets, nothing but positivity, love, and support. I am eternally grateful for all the friendships I have made during those 5 nights and the friendships that have strengthened after the WLC.
Be the author of your story, and craft it with kindness and courage. We have some chronicles to write.
FONG, Nam Anna
Hong Kong Ambassador
HOBY WLC ‘20
I could never imagine myself shedding tears after a 25-hour online congress. HOBY is powerful. It
produces lifelong bondings. The inclusiveness and supportiveness can’t be experienced elsewhere, I’m sure.
Whilst we have got used to the monotonous zoom lessons during the pandemic, the WLC has given me a completely new experience -- it isn’t about the boundaries we have, it’s about the willingness and eagerness to make a difference. From keynote speakers to regional time to group time, each and every part of it was mesmerising.
The theme of this year is ‘what the world deserves’. During the past year, the COVID-19 global pandemic has brought fear and uncertainty to our daily lives, but as we struggle to adjust to the changes of the past year, one thing emerges: the need for the world to make a difference. The world deserves a brighter and safer tomorrow. The world deserves equal opportunities where everyone despite their backgrounds can be treated with dignity and respect. The world deserves a future where voices are embraced and become their fullest potential. We are young, but we are not fearful to take this first step and be the solution.
Through the WLC, we got to understand how small acts of kindness matter in the hustle and bustle of city life; we were invited to discuss environmental problems that seemed distant to us. The chat box in Zoom went viral at every instant -- either giving meaningful insights to what the keynote speakers have shared, or going crazy on how amazing and inspirational the speeches were. HOBY is a place for us to rise above our fears and take the first step, to keep learning about global issues, and to change one's life. Once, I didn’t dare to speak up, worrying that a slight mistake would cause embarrassment and awkwardness; now, this would no longer be my concern. Our voices do matter. As one of the keynote speakers Diane Latiker has told us, "No matter where you are, no matter what's going on around you, be the CATALYST to bring change and hope".
Despite the obstacles we have to face via the online platform, it hasn’t stopped us from building powerful bonds with our regional and group members. We shared our stories and experiences, we learnt about different cultures and social norms, we discussed crucial issues and topics. Some revealed their experiences of fighting against racism in their everyday life; some showed us their artworks and poems concerning global matters. I do feel intimidated by how mature and thoughtful they are, to be honest. Nevertheless, that is what motivates me to channel my fear into hope, to take the first step just by believing I can.
The five-day WLC has allowed me to redefine what “outstanding” is: no matter that involves being a leader calling for action in your local community, or simply caring for an elderly man in a hospital ward, being “outstanding” lies in whether you are willing to make the real change with the smallest of actions. I am more than grateful to once being part of this legacy - a place where people connect, where we build long-lasting friendships, where you are inspired to be the change.
Fear is a feeling, but love is a choice.
CHAN, Wai Kiu Bridget
Hong Kong Ambassador
HOBY WLC ‘20