By Kathryn Walker
I have been a member of CISV for over 12 years. Year after year I have observed the excitement of seeing young delegates plan and prepare for their programs. At first, my own children and then many, many others…When I had the opportunity to participate and represent our Maine chapter at the 2018 Global Conference, I felt that same excitement that I had been observing in others! It was an honor to share this opportunity in the Netherlands with Samantha Coltart, our current Maine President. The 5 day Global Conference is held every three years bringing together CISV volunteers to participate in leadership activities, knowledge-sharing opportunities, chapter-strengthening ideas, creation of ‘friendraising’ connections and overall, having fun! This year’s conference brought 525 participants from 65 countries that included places like Mongolia, New Zealand, India, Iceland and so many more. Amazingly, there was over 70 USA participants! The opening ceremony dynamically began with an inspirationally taped introduction from Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who as a CISV member was a co-founder of the New York chapter. Marc Kielburger, co-founder of the We Organizations was the keynote speaker. His inspirational talk shared information on ‘how to find meaning, make a living, and change the world.’ Each participating country was represented on stage by a delegate holding the country flag. It was a tight fit on the stage! And so much more. It was an amazing opening that fused the laughter of many languages, tears of international connectivity and heart-felt singing in the CISV tradition. CISV educates and inspires action. The 5 days were spent in workshops that melded new and old topics into discussions, trainings, and challenges that CISV faces globally. Each end of day was spent in a reflection group. My favorite part! The similarities and differences that were shared among participants empowered the importance of the need to continue the common mission towards a more just and peaceful world. Thank you Doris!