Sunday, August 2, 2009

FLC Countdown: 6 Days, Updates

The Volunteer Orientation began at 10:30, Saturday morning at the American Center in Colombo. The SLU team members that left for Hikkaduwa beach fest were committed enough to wake up and leave as early as 4 or 5 in the morning to make the morning sessions. The talk was given by an American woman who spends her career encouraging young women to engage politics. Many of the principles she shared apply to both her specialty in youth empowerment and the volunteers’ participation in reconciliation. Being a good leader requires confidence, courage, and purpose. The volunteers must display these characteristics to break down through the unfamiliarity on behalf of the students. After the morning session, lunch was provided to everyone’s delight. The early afternoon was spent in small groups brainstorming challenges and solutions that could arise in the conference. The most common perceived challenges were the language barrier, shyness, and animosity between students of different ethnic backgrounds. As moderators, it was agreed that the volunteers should be proactive in engaging the students and should facilitate understanding between the both sides of any arguments that could crop up. Finally, the last section of the meeting was devoted to reviewing the conference’s 5 day program. During the conference, volunteers will have plenty of time to bond with their group and discuss the day’s topics after the intellectual sessions of the morning are completed.

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