Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Day 2 was the best day ever. I woke up a bit early to go over my presentation one last time. I have been averaging about 5 hours of sleep each night since I've been here. Hopefully tonight will be better! Anyway, the day started out at the Dubai Men's College where we heard from the leader of the Amazon Conservation Team. Following him we heard from CNN Hero Evan Wadongo who started a program using solar lamps from completely recyclable material so children in Kenya can complete their studies. This was particularly incredible because I had watched the awards being given to the 2010 CNN Heroes. He left us with an amazing quote, "education isn't about what you know, education is about what you do." I whole heartedly believe in this quote. One can learn so much but it really means nothing if you don't do anything with your knowledge. Robert Swan also spoke to us, he is a traveler and explorer of Antarctica. He is the only man who has walked across pole north and south poles and is now leading trips of youth down there to help protect and conserve Antarctica. The student presenters were next. There were three different time slots so we chose which ones we wanted to hear. I heard presentations rangining from "Peace Education as a Tool for Conflict Resolution in Africa" to "A Framework of the International Humanitarian Disaster-aid Mechanism" to "The Increasing Water Crisis in the North West Province of Pakistan." All very interesting, engaging, and inspiring. We then heard from another CNN Hero Anuradha Koirala from Nepal who created the organization called "Maiti Nepal" in which she helps resuce trafficked women and children in Nepal and South Asia. After here we heard from Faith Act Fellows from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and they as well as all the others delivered a very inspiring message. My presentation went well in the huge and intimidating auditorium. The actual presentation should be online somewhere but I don't think it is up quite yet. I received three very interesting questions from the audience that I was able to answer and several comments that they think it is a great idea and loved my presentation. Overall it went very very well and I was honored to have been selected. We found out the final numbers, 3500 people applied, 750 papers were submitted, 6000 are attending the conference with 36 paper presentations. So again truly honored to have been chosen as a delegate and even more as a presenter. We then got changed for the gala dinner and were transported to Abu Dhabi, about a little over an horus drive. We all looked very stunning in our semi formal/national dress. The gala dinner took place at the Emirates Palace which is absolutely gorgeous and was decorating from the drive up with EWB flags. There is so much gold in that palace it is ridiculous. They even have a gold atm. You can put your card in and it will dispense gold. The gala dinner was beautiful it was on the deck of the palace overlooking the water. Again we were amazed by great performances with all different cultural dances and singers as well as another inspiring speech by the Sheikh with the American CNN reporter here in Abu Dhabi as our host. I was able to dip my feet in the Persian gulf, shake the Sheikh's hand on the red carpet, engage in conversation with the a world reknown plastic surgeon, and try a different appetizer dip from every continent. We returned to the hotel after 1am.