by Mariam Metwally, Egypt
When I randomly signed up to write a blog on the 16th of August, I had no idea that I will be writing about, in my opinion, one of the most influencing, interesting and exciting days of this symposium. As we go by the third day of the simulation; what is believed to be the outcome of more than three weeks of hard work, incredible speakers, controversial ideas, conflicting and challenging thoughts, we all came to our own conclusions of how this experience had changed and modified our personalities whether personally or professionally. It’s undeniable that these last three days of the symposium made each and every participant think about what should/could be the next step whether academically, professionally, or even personally. As I cannot speak for 52 incredible, magnificent, unique, and brilliant participants, I think I will just proceed with this blog talking about my own experience, my own conclusion.
Before coming to the Hague, I was on the verge of losing hope in the Egyptian revolution, I was so close to believing that I will not live long enough to see the outcome of what we started as we hoped it will be in my time, and I was ok with that on some level as long as it will impact generations to come, I was and still am happy with the changes I saw in my country this far. However, when I arrived to the symposium and met all these people from all different spots in the world and fascinating stories and when I looked to their faces while I gave a very modest presentation about what has been occurring in Egypt in the past two years, they made me realize something I had forgotten a long time ago. I forgot that you need to see your own problems from other people’s perspectives as well as your own; other views can make you regain faith in what you thought you have lost. IPSI people gave me that.
As I tried throughout the symposium to use what I was learning to analyze the situation in Egypt, I came to understand that when it comes down to it, transitioning, it’s never about what you learned in school or read in the manual. It will all depend on the people around the table, those in position of power, their interests and their own analysis of the situation. The last three days of the symposium, the staff put us in a simulation for the transition of the fictional country of Kanraystan.
As we sat around the table in complete character from the US ambassador, the UN representative, the president, the province and district governor to Taliban, I was amazed and fascinated with how we actually could have accomplished some kind of transition in this conflict zone if we were given more time and resources. And it wasn’t just because we are the most brilliant incredible thoughtful peacemakers group of all time, it was simply because of the effort and dedication put into it. I learned that if you are willing to play politics in life, you have to realize that at one point, you will pause and look at yourself and think, I would have never taken this decision 20 years ago, I am terrified of this thought and to be honest it made me rethink a lot of goals. At the same time, being in such positions, is the only way that you can make a difference and influence the track of any story, just because you have the power to do so. I end my blog saying that IPSI has given me an experience of a lifetime that I will value and cherish every second of it, every lesson I learned from it and every friend I made through it. I am sure that it will come the day that I will point to a great leader on television and say, I lived and learned with this man/woman in the Hague one summer.