Tag Archives: Annandale

Conflicts Condemmed

“Tolerance and celebration of individual differences is the fire that fuels lasting love. “ -Tom Hannah

Do you know when the conflict arises? It arises when we have different thought about the same thing. To avoid conflicts; we need to know how to manage it. To get knowledge about that, our beloved coordinators arranged a workshop on conflict management. It was a one-day workshop took by Mr. Paco Valencia.

The class started like this; we were divided into 4 groups. Each group was a mixture of 8 different international CCI Program participants. Before the class, we took an assessment called MBTI Personality Assessment. This assessment was used to classify us under two major categories- 1) Extroverts and 2) Introverts. Majority of the people came under the group extrovert. Even I was in the extroverts. Only a very few came under the category introverts. Mr. Paco explained why we fell into these categories and explained what it is. From that moment, we went deeply into other categories like sensors (S), iNtuitives(N), Thinker(T), Feelers(F) etc.,. These minor categories gave us in depth knowledge about the individual thinking style and reacting style to the varying situations. We played small games to get to know about the categories.

With the knowledge which we gained with the previous activities, we played a game after our lunch break. This game was conducted to know what we have learnt so far in that workshop. The game was like, thinking that we only three sticks or woods to cross the river without touching the water. We were again split into 3 teams and used the sticks which was provided to cross the river. We enjoyed this game as well as learned a lot of stuff. The thing which I learnt is: trust is the chain which holds the entire team to accomplish the single goal.

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After this game, we understood what is a teamwork and how cooperate with heterogeneous group to reach the objective. We spoke about the game in the class, and heard some feedbacks about the game.

After few minutes of speaking about the game, we moved on to the next topic. We took another assessment to know how we solve the conflict(Conflict solving style). He gave us a two page sheet to circle some options. After doing all the circles he gave us a solution handout. With the help of that we were instructed mark ourselves to the corresponding fields. For me, it came out like competitive and avoiding conflict solving styles. This conflict solving style gave so much idea about me, and gave some valuable comprehension about the group in which I am in.

We came to the end of our workshop at 4 in the evening. This workshop enriched with lots of information about the varied people who are around me and in this entire world. Last but not the least, I would like to thank my coordinators and CCI Program for giving me this wonderful opportunity to know how to manage the conflict, and to fine-tune myself in the heterogeneous group.  I have learned one important thing in this workshop, we have to put ourselves in other shoes to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.

Post written by Halith Syed Mohamed, CCI Program participant at NOVA 2016-2017, India

Contribute. Connect. Interact.

( CCI ), at the beginning meant for as all the people know but after getting the chance and living that experience, I see that it means for me something completely different. Which is ( Contribute. Connect. Interact.)

Contribute is give and take also discuss, share time, share experiences, share cultures, understanding, other visions, different way of thinking and much more.

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Connect, after getting any new idea or thought or any new experience, you start connect all of them to each other and you find out that it means something completely different that what you thought before, is about learning. If you stay in on place for long time you get the best of it but in just one way, but if you spend time and ideas and cultures in different aspects and in different places you get the best of the best and you see the bigger picture, and you can see it from different angles not from just one angle.

Interact. This is your job, it could take some time after contributing and connecting to get the best result, but the best result will come. Even if you don’t see it the best, it’s the best. It’s something you’ve gained but maybe you don’t recognize it easily, but the people around you can understand it easily.

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CCI taught me 25 percent in my field of my study, and the rest of the 100 percent  they taught me ( HOW?). How to learn, how to get, how to share, how to find your path, how to give, how to connect, how to lead, how to share, how to see the things in the real way, how to be smarter and of course how to live.

Post written by Abdelkhalek Mohamed, CCI Participant at NOVA 2015-2016, Egypt

Why should I volunteer?

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A group photo with Shaheen Scout. July 2014

I belong to a country where community is defined as the religious group with whom I share my beliefs and religious practices. In my community we have a structure of serving community under a volunteer setup. For example, if we have doctors, occasionally they provide services frees of cost or with minimal charges, if someone is a teacher, he/she will be voluntarily serving in any community institution, likewise all the people in the community have a kind of volunteer responsibility which is kind of mandatory to serve and I believe that, it is the back bone of my community development.

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Group Scout Leader, Village Nomal, GB, Pakistan

Generally we think like what can we do, how can I serve my community, how can I be part of a worthy cause? Being a young student, having no professional experience, guess what could I do for my community? Believe me; I had much more opportunities to serve my community than any professional person because, volunteer services need time commitment and dedication. Since childhood I remained associated with different organizations with different responsibilities like, Group Scout Leader, Finance Secretary with a welfare Organization, As a Teacher in religious institution, Member of wheel chair committee, Administrator of JDC an Institution and member of Aga Khan Economic Planning local Board Gilgit.

In my educational career, I always remained an average student but today I am a participant of Community College Initiative program among 40 students of Pakistan. Till now it is one of the highest achievements in my career and this would never have happened without the skills I have gained from volunteer services.

Although with busy life it is difficult to manage time, but if you spare a short span of time for volunteering, you may have a greater impact on your personal life, professional life and your community. It is the best way to gain experience, enhancing interpersonal skills; it gives you a sense of accomplishment, an opportunity to interact with diverse group of people, an opportunity for selection of right career path and much more…

To begin with, Volunteering is a great opportunity to gain interpersonal skills like, being a good listener, a good communicator, responsiveness, promoting togetherness and settling disputes etc.

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9-11 Day of Service, photo by Caitlin Sanders, SCA

Secondly, volunteering is a platform where we can learn new things through participating in different events. While serving as volunteer we get involve in social, technical, funny and academic activities. Participation in event like Park cleaning, fund raising campaign and art exhibitions gave me an insight about these fields, which I could never learn in my routine classes.

Next, working for long hours, studying, assignments and other activities sometime makes us stressful. We can find such volunteer activities related to our own interest where we can have fun and enjoy, which may have a positive impact on our health.

Subsequently, I have handled a lot of tasks back in my own country but cleaning a pond in a park and controlling traffic in an event was something new and  interesting for me. Handling task smoothly in timely manners make us responsible and it gives us confidence to do something more.

Afterwards, networking is one of the most essential requirements for entrepreneurship minded people and nowadays finding a better job is all about networking. Volunteering lets you expand your relationships with other businesses and people with similar interests which can help you in finding better jobs.

Another main thing, volunteering is an opportunity to make choices from different professional fields, while participating in different events; you can select an interesting career field. Being student of economics I was planning to work in banking sector but my volunteer association with Aga Khan Economic planning board inspired me to think about entrepreneurship. During my services more than 10 families successfully initiated their own businesses which gave me a motivation to think beyond what I was imagining about my career and these were the experiences which linked me with such a wonderful international exchange program like the CCI Program, which is like a full package of experiential learning, theoretical studies, motivation and exposure visits.

Yet another important aspect of volunteering is meeting with diverse groups of people, for me it is a hobby; I enjoy participating in volunteer services because I love meeting new people and learning new things every day.

“Diversity is not a burden to be endured, but an opportunity”, HH Aga Khan”.

Volunteering is the best way to find people from different social backgrounds, cultures, food, experiences and ideas and only through mutual understanding we can bring peace in the world.

Finally, happiness and satisfaction cannot be purchased no matter how rich you are. The feelings cannot be compared to something else which we get after supporting a needy person.

In the end, I will conclude my writing with a beautiful quote by “Bob Marley,

“Live for your-self, you live in vain. Live for others, you will live again”.

Therefore I will recommend everyone to be a part of this worthy cause, which can help you being a successful person, helping you in living a happy, healthy and a meaningful life.

Post written by Naik Alam, CCI participant at NOVA, 2016-2017, Pakistan

The Walker Soul

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Ibn Battuta. My name is Vanesa de la Cruz and I am a walker soul.

I feel amazed by meeting new people, finding new souls in the way, discovering beautiful -and not that beautiful- places, immersing in different cultures… I like to see the sky from a new land every day.

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Photo by Moises Gomez

Although I have lived my whole life in the same house in one of the
humblest neighborhoods of the city, I never let the money to stop me from making my dreams come true. And my dream has always been to travel all around the world. Now, I can say that I am not a citizen of Medellin, Colombia, because today I have decided to be a citizen of the world.

And traveling is not only about going to new places every day. Traveling is about meeting new people in each occasion you have: talking with a new person in the bus, listening to someone’s ideas, reading somebody’s words… It is about going to some different place every day -it can be a new neighborhood in your city or another country in the other side of the world-.

For me, traveling is about learning. Because the world is so big and full of people living different realities. It is about understanding other people’s traditions, cultures and behaviors. It is about seeing the beauty in the diversity. It is about having an open mind (the larger it is, the most knowledge and experiences you can keep), because close minds do not allow the wonder of the world to come in.

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Photo by Cessy Anakay

I just started a new journey, the biggest in my life until this moment. The 18th of July I moved to Virginia, United States, to study during 10 months in a Community College.

This opportunity is bigger than studying. I am living away from home, without my family, with people from 11 different countries of the world. I am not only learning about United States culture, but also about Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Ghana, South Africa, Cote d’Ivore, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Yemen and Turkey.

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the
religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener. This is what I keep telling myself every day since I came here. Because I also came to learn about myself. I am discovering new version of me, new behaviors, passions and likes. And I am obtaining abilities and skills during this process. It is not only abou
t independence, it is about mutual understanding, about being in the other’s position, about respecting and accepting the difference and finding the beauty in the diversity. This is all about making a better world, full of love, understanding and colors.vanesa-blog-post-1

Until today, I already ate rice with my hands (as Indians, Pakistanis, Indonesians and Africans do), I discovered that I like spices, I danced the typical dance of every country in the program, I celebrated 4 different independences, and day after day, I keep learning about my friends (who I can call today family), their traditions, behaviors and ways to live and love. It has been only two months, but I already feel complete and blessed for this opportunity that is changing our lives and our ways to see the world, forever. And, of course, sometimes it is really hard to understand why some of them act in a certain way and why the others do not; why they think like that; why they do not understand me and my culture. But we are all working together to make this work and it is actually working.

The Community College Initiative Program is incredibly hard, but it is totally worth it.

This post written by Vanesa de la Cruz, CCI participant at NOVA, 2016-17, Colombia