IAF Seminar Report
New Direction for Myself
Leadership for Young Leaders, May 6-18, 2018
By all measures, I have been a privileged Bangladeshi since birth. Both of my parents were highly educated, and I received the best education a developing country can offer.
While I had bit of a rough childhood, I still grew up somewhat in a bubble, away from the daily sufferings and pain of my fellow countrymen. After I completed my higher studies, I intended to get into Bangladeshi politics to help my motherland.
It didn’t take long for my bubble to burst. I soon realized Bangladeshi politics in its current state was not the place for me. I gave up that plan and focused on serving the country by other means for the last 5-6 years, primarily through social and development work. This changed a week ago, when I returned from an incredible seminar titled “Leadership for Young Leaders” hosted by the International Academy for Leadership (IAF) in Gummersbach, Germany.
The 12 days long seminar introduced us to how liberal politics works in a developed country, while making us introspect what kind of leaders we were. It was simply a profound experience, and I am certain I will never learn this much in 12 days for the rest of my life. I am going for a masters program at Harvard University this fall, and I still believe that.
A new world of politics
Besides finding out that I am indeed a liberal, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) Convention we attended as part of the seminar opened a whole new world of politics for me. It was amazing how the political system can be developed to represent the voice of all the citizens. I know it will take Bangladesh decades to reach that stage, (which makes me envious of the Germans), but on a personal level, I felt that THIS was something worth fighting for, something worth the time and effort to build. I found a new direction for myself, and rekindled the hope I used to harbor for my country.
Any talk of the seminar must end with the incredible 23 fellow participants I had the fortune of meeting at the IAF. Within the span of 12 days, we shared things with each other that many of us have not shared with our closest friends. We created a safe space for each other, so that we may push ourselves to our maximum capacity and beyond. It is always harder to make friends when you grow older, but somehow this did not hold true at IAF.
The seminar was a deeply personal journey into myself as a human being, as a follower and as a leader. It was beautiful.