Monday, 9 June 2014

T.L.C. Day 2 - Taking Personal Responsibility & Against Indifference

The Tomorrow's Leaders Conference continued as we arrived, slightly less intimidated than the day before.
The repeated introductions (and name tags of course) helped all of us to remember each other's names a little better and what our majors were. The fact that we knew each other a bit more made it easier to communicate with one another, as if we were all just classmates that oddly came from contrasting fields of study.

We began the morning by discussing three essays which won the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics.
  • Victor Hernandez-Jayme's - The Uninformed Merchants of Death
    How drug consumption elsewhere has a direct negative effect on people's lives in Mexico 
  • Raphael Margarik's (in photo) - Lot's Daughters
    The story of Lot's daughters analysed through various perspectives 
  • Jessica Richman's - Truth and Reconciliation
    The necessity of optimism, reality, non-violent positive action, personal courage to reach reconciliation
We began to discuss the importance of personal responsibility by sharing our own personal experiences in our struggles with ethics throughout life - possible moments where our ethical compass was shaken. Also, that the diffusion of responsibility occurs way too often.  It definitely challenged us in urging us to take responsibility from a smaller scale.

We had a short break for lunch with delicious sandwiches and wraps alongside with fresh orange juice, coffees and teas. It was a great time of fellowship getting to know the other attendees as well as the mentors (essay prize winners). 

We continued our next session which focused on another three winning essays which focused on going against indifference
  • Sarah Ransahoff's - The Ethical Issues of Energy Dependence
    How slavery and oil consumption may have more similarities than we think, ethically.
  • Sarah Stillman's - Young Women, Sweatshops and the Ethics of Globalisation
    The exploitation in sweatshops and how to stand up against it in various methods
  • Zohar Atkin's - The Duty of Cock-Eyed Angels
    The responsibility of who we are and who we ought to be, with one eye on the past and one on the present
This time, Victor Hernandez-Jayme facilitated my group and engaged in a full on, heart-felt discussion with the rule of NO TAKING NOTES. Personally, I felt that the absence of the notebooks definitely enabled us to submerge into a topic with full concentration, both listening and contributing to the topic. To summarise the discussion, I would say that

The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. Also, when suffering is incurred unto someone without consent, that's when it's unethical (irregardless of cultural context).

When the session ended, due to the great weather, a couple of us grabbed some coffees and the odd burrito and sat on the pitch in Trinity. Getting to know the other students more over food is always good! Haha!

My mode of relaxation : not putting the camera down.

A couple of us went to get ready in time for the dinner which was to be held in the Trinity Dining Hall. Dressed casually smart, we proceeded to the drinks reception and mingled with the others while getting to know the role models which arrived on the scene.

Spent awhile talking to Dudley Herschbach (centre) who shared with us his past experiences in Ireland, Boston and Spain. Although awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, he was great to chat with, humble and very down to earth. 

He shared with us a fun fact of himself! He's appeared as a guest star on the Simpsons before for a 14 second clip. That's pretty impressive I must say! Very cute.

Elie Wiesel, the founder of the Elie Wiesel Foundation For Humanity then arrived! He was also an author of more than 60 books, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and many more amazing accomplishments. It was the first time that any of the conference attendees were able to see him so we were rather excited and probably slightly nervous upon meeting him. Obviously, as many others were eager to say hi, I learnt one thing about him this evening.

He has a firm handshake! (very important)

He arrived along with his wife, Marion Wiesel, who too contributed largely in translating her husband's books as well as producing many television programs. 

We entered the Dining Hall and it was decorated beautifully with coloured lights as well as several long tables which had delegated seats for all of us. Wasn't expecting that I must say!

We even received personally written name cards! 

Sitting at table 5 I was alongside Leanna, James and Fatimah.

Not to forget, Carolyn Johnston!

Also at table 5 were Chelsea Friedman and Victor Hernandez-Jayme

and Tony of course!

Elie Wiesel then gave us a short and sweet welcome just before the dinner and the food began to arrive!

For Starters
The tartlet of goat's cheese, caramelised onions and cherry tomatoes with a delicious mix of sauces

For the main course,
Pan seared sea bass on a bed of ratatouille and Chablis sauce with potatoes and green beans

For dessert

A creamy mango and passion fruit soufflé topped with whipped cream, coconut shortbread and a strawberry

Not to forget the coffee came in an adorable tiny cup!

People at Table 6

People at Table 7

And unfortunately I didn't manage to take photographs of the other tables but will definitely do that for the future days of the conference! It was great food, great fun and definitely an amazing full day of nonstop activity.

On a totally unrelated event, I had a revolutionary "aha" / "light bulb" moment in the middle of one of the discussions. Alan (left) had seemed familiar to me since yesterday but I could not pinpoint it. When I finally realised that he resembled Jon from Malaysia, my mind was blown at the uncanny resemblance between them despite the obvious differences. They even have similar habits! Extraordinary.

Who would think I'd stumble upon this at the conference?

No comments: