Believe it or not, volunteer work changed my life. The first time I volunteered I was 11 years old! Yes that young. In fact I’m glad my school (ISC) had something called Student Life Organization (SLO) which engages students in their school life to run this student led organization that acts something like a Student Affairs in a typical school.
Starting at that young age helped me overcome some personal weak points, from shyness to knowing how to interact and deal with people and responsibilities. Yet the seed it planted in me…didn’t stop there, it grew multiple folds to flourish in my university life and beyond.
From the first year of university, I just had that drive to give back to community, to serve, to grow, to meet people and so I ended up joining student societies and clubs at my university (AUB) as well as cofounding an NGO called Aie Serve among my involvement with many others that I am still involved in till this day whether as founder or Board Member or Advisor or simply as a member.
So here are some of the things I believe volunteer work gave me:
- Opened my mind to new ways of thinking about life.
- Gave me a purpose beyond my own self and my day to day life.
- Got me to meet the most inspiring people I would have never dreamed of knowing.
- Made me more friends that I could have possibly done in 50 years.
- Gave me life changing experiences and challenges that made me mature way faster than many of my colleagues and friends that were not involved in volunteer work.
- Made me feel proud about the achievements I was able to accomplish with the teams I worked with to make Lebanon a better place to live in. From improving the life of underserved children to giving back to nature through tree planting and beach cleanups to mentoring youth to training and sharing knowledge with aspiring young leaders to many many maaany more.
- Gave me opportunities to learn how to manage projects, lead teams, do strategic planning, explore my training skills, brainstorm for ideas that will make the world a better place…just to mention a few.
- Lead me to having a career in consultancy and training that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t do all the volunteer work I did, simply because a typical university life and a 8-5 job wouldn’t have given me half as much opportunities to learn, grow and meet new people.
So my recommendation to you, no matter how old you are or what your social/economic/academic/marital status is, if you’re not engaged in some volunteer work already, then get to it! You can never do too much volunteer work, the more the merrier, and trust me it just gets better with time, just make sure you join the organizations or causes that you feel passionate about or at least interested in, the rest will follow!
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I have recently been awarded the Ambassador for Peace certificate by the Universal Peace Federation and so it was a delightful surprise to know that I joined a network of leaders from all walks of life all around the world in further promoting Peace, Inter-religious and human development.
Consequently many started asking me, “So what does it really mean? What do you do?” …so here’s a small briefing about it hoping it will quench your curiosity
What is an Ambassador for Peace?
Ambassadors for Peace are part of a global network of leaders representing thereligious, racial and ethnic diversity of the human family, as well as all disciplines of human endeavor. They stand on the common ground of shared principles and arecommitted to the path of promoting reconciliation, overcoming barriers, and building peace.
So what is the Ambassador for Peace Award?
The Ambassador for Peace award honors achievement and signifies a new appointment to a mission to serve the common good.
What do Ambassadors for Peace do?
- Exemplify the ideal of living for the sake of others.
- Promote universal moral values, strong family life,inter-religious cooperation, international harmony, renewalof the United Nations, responsible mass media, and the establishment of a global culture of peace.
- Transcend racial, national and religious barriers.
- Contribute to the fulfillment of the hope of all ages, a unified world of peace, wherein the spiritual and material dimensions of life are harmonized.
- Serve as members on national, regional and global peace councils promoting and safeguarding world peace.
- Develop a broad strategic alliance of partnerships among individuals, educational institutions, organizations, reli-gions, corporations, the media and governments.
So I hope you all join me in this life long journey of serving the community, being at peace with ourselves, families and community and further promoting ethical values.
.نادراً ما اكتب باللغة العربية ولكن في هذه المناسبة وفي هذه الظروف لا يمكنني إلا أن اكتب بالعربي
هنيئاً لمصر وهنيئاً للشعب العربي في كل البلاد العربية. لقد رفع الشعب المصري رأس كل عربي في هذه الثورة، تمكنت الإرادة الشعبية من أن تنتصر على سنين من الظلم والإستبداد، على حكومات وانظمة متامره ومتخاذلة وذليلة. لقد عاد الشعب العربي يتنفس العروبة والقومية والكرامة والعنفوان.
.ما ابتدى في تونس تنامى في مصر وكبر وحقق نصراً على عقود من الذل والقهر. 11 شباط يوماً لن ينسى بعد اليوم، ستبنى عليه امالنا وأحلامنا
.فلينتفض الشعب العربي أينما كان للم شمله وإعادة العزة والكرامة لقاموسه
!!!فلتحيا مصر، فليحيا الشعب العربي و لتحيا العروبة
Well I wasn’t planning on publishing a post today, but the current political stance in Lebanon is just too much for me to stay silent.
I ask myself, and all those reading my post, to take a deep breath and reflect on all what is going on and consider the following.
The US, Saudi Arabia, Syria, France, Qatar, Iran and last but not least Turkey are all supporting the Lebanese sovereignty, civil peace and rule of law. Nevertheless they allow themselves, so freely and so publicly, to engage in Lebanese politics, meet politicians, make deals, negotiate, threaten, support one group over the other…etc.
All that just to ensure our SOVEREIGNTY … ironic right?
Well it doesn’t stop there…they even hold meetings in their own countries (ie Saudi/US meeting in US, Turkey/Qatar/Syrian meeting in Syria..etc) to discuss and agree on HOW should Lebanon be governed in the coming phase. After that they exchange agreements, refuse deals, work on others and they come here to discuss it with the Lebanese politicians (not strictly the officials…they visit anyone and everyone they want from heads of political parties to individual parliamentarians to ex-ministers…etc) …so much for sovereignty!!
Mind you I’m not against diplomacy, international affairs and all the care that Lebanon has always had from the fellow Arab nations and the world, yet I don’t think any country EVER has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs.
It’s funny and sad at the same time to see nations coming to teach us about diplomacy, democracy, rule of law, what’s right and what’s not…yet most of them just support one party and work with them in a way that ignites polarity in the country, links all the politicians’ decisions and actions with what is agreed on outside the country and put pressure on how should our government and officials act and work to suit the international agenda.
Lebanon..my dear beloved country, is struggling …gasping for a breath …and yet all those countries come in to support its sovereignty, but instead of saving it, they’re strangling us all!!!
Ironic…and very very sad