Celebrating Diversity

Chu Win Kai attending IGE 2011

Gold Award holder Chu Win Kai, from Hong Kong, attended the IGE 2011, hosted by The President's Award-Kenya. Here, she tells us about what this global leadership event meant to her and the lasting impact it had on her future and her outlook.

"Participating in the IGE 2011 is one of my most cherished experiences. It broadened my horizons and marked the beginning of some important journeys I have embarked on. 

To start with, my cultural awareness, confidence and communication skills were boosted by the IGE as it offered about 100 youth leaders from 50 countries a valuable chance to receive intensive training, get to know and collaborate closely with one another. It was also the first time I had set foot in Africa. Encountering the vastness and beauty of Kenyan wildlife and nature instilled in me the need to protect the environment.

Transcending cultural differences

The IGE plays a crucial role in demonstrating to Gold Award holders that the Award journey does not have to end with Gold; it acts as the rite of passage which signals their new position-that they can support the younger Award participants through their journey and help them to thrive. The slogan of IGE 2011 “Each one Reach One” spoke for itself; each delegate had their own unique Award experience that constituted to the collective Award memories and identity shared by the delegates.

This Award identity transcended the national and cultural differences that divided us by uniting us and making us understand the value of diversity. I believe we were all inspired by how the Award worked in different places when we were listening to our fellow delegates’ presentations. Such a strong Award family spirit has motivated me to keep volunteering for the Award after attending the IGE. In particular, Cherry (another HK delegate) and I were involved in organising activities for Award Network (Hong Kong), which aims at uniting Award holders through volunteering, training and social opportunities.

The Award family

I believe the years of voluntary experience and exchange opportunities I have had as an Award participant and as an IGE delegate have taught me to embrace challenges and stay positive in adversity and to see the world without boundaries. Over the past six years, I have treasured the friendships I have made with other IGE delegates. They not only remind me of the unforgettable IGE experience I had in 2011 but also how far the Award can take us through the opportunities it provides.

Last October, I moved to Belgium for my PhD study. I have come to realise that I feel at home not just in Hong Kong, but also here in Belgium because I feel reassured knowing there are other Award family members nearby. Without hesitation, I would definitely recommend Gold Award holders to put themselves forward for the IGE and to give it everything they have. It will give you more than you can imagine in return. "

Find out more about what's in store for IGE 2017, hosted by the Award Czech Republic, here.