Friday, March 31, 2006

Where did the Six Weeks Go?

Alas or already, my time serving on coop placement is complete. There were countless bright moments, challenges, hand shakes, broadening horizons, inspiring discussions, kind people, involved people, busy people, prominent people and many exposures to the world of international governance.

I learned how complex issues are. The organization that I worked for is tirelessly involved in researching, organizing and initiating projects that seek to change the way policy is done and the way resources are administered. As a relatively new organization with diverse mandates that aren't easily summarizeable, this organization is seeking to increase its exposure threefold, and what I saw -the ambition, reflected that. You have to be a "forward thinker" as a media relations person and look for your own opportunities to send your message appropriately. I learned the role of NGO's in international affairs, how many opportunities there are in this vast world and how the purpose of politics must ultimately be for humanitarian good, though that word needs to be passionately debated for it to have any relevance.

I enjoyed writing news releases, building media contacts, going to meetings, planning and making sure events ran smoothly. Working with internationally renowned people could be intimidating, but I realized they all had their human quirks in person. They still all sat at normal desks. A lot of times my role was the little things like setting up chairs or supplying background information on a contact but it was also the intangible things like making sure that guests felt comfortable that made the difference. Through my employers hospitality to me -like the fact that they took me out for lunch today, I was able to feel welcomed and I was able to pass that on.

Yesterday was perfect evidence of why I'd love to stay at my job. 100 high school students came for our Global Youth Forum and I got to lead them to sessions where they learned about poverty, microfinance, water sanitation, disease prevention and how they could get involved abroad and right in their communities. These children were as quick as a whip and didn't accept any band-aid solutions without giving them a second attempt. These children, as a group, will probably have more effect on the future than any previous generation. With rougly 1.7 billion youth between the ages of 10-24, experts predict that this will be the largest population of youth in the history of this planet. They are predicting that population will plateau and then fall off. Can you imagine the effects their choices will have? As generations make a mess of the world and the environment, each successive generation has to come up with that much better a set of solutions for them to survive. We are counting on the next generation for our foibles but it is also our responsibility to do what we can now for the generations of the past!

It was wonderful for them to get involved and play the trading game where they were assigned varying amounts of resources in the form of description cards. They learned about international economics through trading resources, manufacturing and other credits to build wealth as countries. It was funny to see some of them walking around like salespeople saying: "we got cotton anyone need some cotton? Excellent cotton for some beef" and occasionally steal other team's resources.

It was sad/happy to take down all the papers that had accumulated on my bulletin board throughout the weeks, putting them in a binder or in the recycle bin. Sending myself messages from my new email account back to my old, looking at my boss's empty desk (not all goodbyes are perfectly coordinated), where flowers sit as a representation of her bright spirit. Now that I've left the office space, I want to curl up like a dying animal and cling to my guitar, so that is what I will do before I work up the nerve to start off on my serious job search -my resurrection. Then I will go see Frenchman and see what he is up to. Perhaps we will indulge in an astrological reading for a mental diversion. The I will go listen to the illustrious Richard Laviolette play music.

Now the stage of finishing school is in the wings. That is the immediate goal. There is a great sense of haste in my breast right now. I have no job lined up and just a few more weeks until freedom yet somehow I feel the rising of something. I am very lucky to have people looking out for me. I am anxious to follow this organization as they continue to provide public lectures and knowledge. Through each connection there is a doorway which leads to a myriad of possibilities. All it takes is the courage to step through.

Filed under personal diegesis


Blogger Chloe said...

everything is going to go all right Barrett. Don't worry. And if a few things don't work out immediately, i'll keep you company with my bad jokes.

6:03 p.m.  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

lets keep our fingers crosse that the next generation do a little better than mine did. obviously i got it wrong (certainly right here in the UK though) that there are more of us 'babyboomers' than any other geneartion before or since. Certainly over here my lot still dictate (rotten bastards) the download charts cos there are more of us. Not so in the world?

2:45 a.m.  
Blogger Maddy said...

courage my love

you are talented and
inspiring and bright and

8:34 a.m.  
Blogger sirbarrett said...

chloe -The worse the jokes, the better.

cocaine jesus -I'm not sure exactly how the statistics work, but I think the baby boomers were when the population really exploded initially, however, if all of them had children, the Gen-Xers and a bit younger, then you can imagine that's a lot. You can see the anxiety over transition of power to the younger generation in places like France, where youth are protesting the latest laws designed to allow employers to more easily fire youth. 1.7 billion! That's gotta be over one fifth of the largest population yet! Baby boomers still have a lot of the power, but youngsters are moving up. The next big issue we have to figure out is how long we can possibly keep baby boomer alive with our our innovations in medicine. Hopefully youth will still look for the wisdom of their elders in implementing solutions for their young.

maddy -*Catches courage in hand and absorbs it* Thanks.

1:25 p.m.  

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