“Dear new UWCSEA IBDP Class,
Initiative for Peace is a once in a lifetime experience, the lessons you learn during that week are some of the most important lessons you can ever learn. After coming back from this conference I feel like a new and improved version of myself and I have made friends from across South East Asia who I will never forget. If you are signing up to do IFP you must be sure to be fully committed to it.
These are the top 3 ethical considerations to bear in mind before joining IFP: you should know to be someone who is not patronising, be someone who is aware of what these delegates have been through, as well as this you need to be someone who cares enough to not let go of the friendships you make during this week log conference. The last ethical consideration you must bear in mind is the way you act with your fellow facilitators, you shouldn’t leave the delegates out, most of them travel hours and hours to see you so please ensure that you make them feel included at all times.
Through IFP I was able to identify my strength in leadership, this evolved over the course of the year. I noticed this during my time in IFP, before arriving at the conference when we had to present at school, I would always shake and stutter when asked to present. However, upon reaching the conference something within me changed. I was able to speak confidently in front of all 80 people, as time went on at the conference I found it easier and easier to speak in front of larger groups of people. As well as this I got more confident in giving simplified instructions.
You would’ve seen my commitment to IFP when we were doing our outside of school sessions, we did the Peace by Piece conference, through these many different IFP activities I was able to show that I would be able to commit my time to the conference. As well as this during the entirety of the conference there was never an occasion where my energy wavered, I knew that these delegates spent hours and hours getting here and it was not right of me to ever act low or detached from them. I made sure to make them feel as welcome as possible. Not only this but, even months after the conference came to a close I am still in contact with delegates who were a part of the conference on social media.
IFP cannot happen without a strong belief in the power of collaboration. The three moments which best demonstrated our ability to improve as a collaborative team were when one of the groups was struggling to stick with the time allocated to them, we found a way to work out ways to include the activities they wanted into the timetable of the conference. This meant compromises from the other groups but, we worked together to come up with the best possible outcome for the conference. As well as this we also worked together in a less direct sense, what I mean by this is that we worked together to make sure all the delegates felt welcome and felt like they belonged. We would split up and sit with a variety of delegates and made sure none of them were ever alone.
The one most significant thing that I learned through IFP was that the world is in need of a lot more positivity, the amount of positivity I experienced in IFP is indescribable, we supported each other throughout the conference, we overcame our differences and learnt to just accept and love. As well as this I learnt that it is up to us, our generation to make a difference whether it is small or big is not the point, I was able to access this learning by speaking to many of the delegates. Through them I was able to learn that I have what it takes to make a difference, I have what it takes to do more than just a desk job. They taught me that I can do something and that what I do can have an impact because I impacted them.
IFP is an experience that can never be replaced in my mind, it is something I will never forget. Whenever I feel down I know that the thought of what I learnt in IFP will take over and make me determined and hopeful again. So, if you are joining IFP be sure to be very committed to it because it is truly an experience you will never forget.”