HOBY WLC ‘22
My experience at HOBY was nothing short of inspiring. Although I attended the WLC online, I was fortunate enough to have experienced the welcoming atmosphere and met the wonderful people who supported me throughout my week-long journey. Sure, it was difficult waking up at 6 am in the morning, but what I was rewarded with made all of this worth it.
On the first day, ambassadors enjoyed a keynote speech by Ms Diane Latiker, founder of Kids Off the Block. Ms Latiker started her journey by opening up her home to street kids, some of whom were in gangs. Although she faced opposition from her husband and gang members, she stayed true to her belief to help young people realise their hopes. Despite embarking on her path alone, she’s succeeded in keeping youngsters off the streets and creating a change for the better.
The day ended with Group Time, which involved ambassadors joining breakout rooms to have a chat with our assigned group members and facilitators. It was a tiring day, and I couldn’t have waited to get some rest. To my surprise, I was greeted with a wave of positivity from my group facilitators, who were always cheerful and kept our spirits up. Since it was the first Group Time, nobody knew what was going on, but our facilitators were patient with us, and started conversations to break the ice; although it was awkward at first, over the week, I’ve grown to love Group Time as one of the highlights of a WLC day, where I got to play fun games and open up to my group.
The rest of the week was filled with enlightening keynote speeches and workshops, as well as intimate group time. However, one of the things I experienced stands out in my mind even now: the Lightning Talk sessions. These were periods of time when ambassadors could share a bit of whatever was on their minds, based on a specific theme. During the first session, I was hesitant: I knew for a fact that I wasn’t the best at speaking, especially not amidst so many ambassadors who were the best in their respective regions.
After some ambassadors spoke, I decided to go for it myself. When it was my turn, though, I was nervous and stuttered with every word I spoke. This was when I noticed the comments: people were typing things like “GO ADRIAN” and “You’re right!” in the chat box; the positivity was incredible, and it kept me going. As soon as I finished, I was showered with applause. The sheer support I received during the WLC made me feel like I could do anything, despite not being the best at it.
All in all, HOBY showed me what I had the potential to achieve; during this short week, I’ve been motivated to learn what others have accomplished and discover my abilities. Through HOBY, I’ve met a group of like-minded people who’ve helped me overcome my challenges and insecurities. The positivity and support I’ve experienced at HOBY is unique, and this community is what’s going to inspire me to create change in my community, or even society, in the future.
“It takes just one of us to start a revolution.”
Ms Diane Latiker, keynote speaker at HOBY WLC 2022
HO, Cheuk Fung Adrian
Hong Kong Ambassador
HOBY WLC ‘22
23 pages, permeated with hand-written words accommodating thought-provoking ideas from esteemed leaders as well as over 250 ambassadors around the globe. The thought of waking up at 6:30 a.m. every morning, staring at the monotonous screen for several hours straight, and socialising with global student leaders online is seemingly inconceivable. But somehow after the first day, the inclusiveness and empowerment manifested had motivated me to push through the week-long virtual congress, therein jotting down 23 pages of notes or as I call it the ‘essence of leadership’.
How we communicate and express ourselves has vastly changed in recent years, but regardless of the uncertainties and restrictions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to connect, to question, to engage, to challenge, to explore, to act, to reflect is still there. Through a wide spectrum of events in HOBY WLC, the imperceptible wall between the world and I has certainly thinned.
Amidst the group time and cluster time, ambassadors were allocated to different groups where we were given the opportunity to gain more insights on a variety of topics, from global controversies and indigenous cultures to our personal issues and fragments of our ordinary life. Before the congress, I was under the impression that conducting the congress online would definitely be more bogus than a face-to-face one, as we were separated by a dull digital screen. HOBY WLC proved me wrong. Conducting the congress online prompted each of us to be maskless, coincidentally unveiling our authentic selves, our true emotions. Whenever someone speaks up, the rays of sunshine on the audience’s faces encourage the speaker to unravel themselves in front of hundreds of ambassadors.
I consider myself an inexpressive person as the notion of others abusing my weaknesses has been ingrained deep in my mind. Unexpectedly, the lightning talks (a short talk or message — just like lightning, that the speaker would like to deliver) presented by other ambassadors had urged me to pluck up the courage to press the “raise hand” button, and unreservedly share my inner dilemmas with my fellow peers. Of course it was not just because of the talks, the major reason was that throughout the week, HOBY WLC had created a safe space for everyone by emphasising on the importance of respect, authenticity and acceptance, therefore allowing ambassadors to connect with each other without boundaries.
“Leadership starts with YOU and engaging others” — as stated in one of the five principles of leadership. Leaders are the ones who should take the initiative to fill in the gap, to initiate a change. By identifying the obstacles (the gap) that keep us from achieving the ideal situation/ progressing, we can easily ideate solutions for filling up those gaps. The word leadership is simple, but to me, conceptualizing it only blurs and complicates its definition. The WLC has prodded me to discover my personal definition of leadership — to INITIATE CHANGES.
We cannot become the most preeminent leaders within a heartbeat, it requires time, experience, resilience and tactics, as though we are building up a castle block by block with our bare hands. Hence, outstanding leaders of tomorrow, be ready to actualise those 23 pages of the ‘essence of leadership’. The future awaits YOU.
FONG, Ching Jane
Hong Kong Ambassador
HOBY WLC ‘22