[Five lessons from the ACM] Lesson 5: Points of reflection

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The Annual Curators Meeting 2016 (“ACM”) provided many useful lessons for effective contribution to the Global Shapers Community. I was privileged to represent the Hong Kong Hub as its Deputy Curator. Here is the last of the five lessons I learnt.

The ACM made me reflect on several things about being a Shaper. It made me a better advocate for youth and youth leadership. (You do not have to be young to advocate for the young, just as you do not have to be female to support women’s rights. Youth representation by contrast is a different issue.)   

Reflection as a Hong Kong Shaper

I left the ACM convinced that the Hong Kong Hub is on the right path. When compared with other hubs, it has adopted international best practices, especially in hub governance. We have talent and diversity in our hub, and strong foundations to achieve lofty goals. We reflect the cosmopolitan and industrious character of our city, and our deep understanding of Eastern and Western cultures.

Our city is a great connector (perhaps, even a super connector). It has been since it evolved from a fishing village almost 200 years ago. We, the Hong Kong Hub, too can be a great connector. We have excellent neighbors in Asia to learn from, collaborate with, and celebrate their awesome projects. For example, the Ulaanbaatar Hub has a project to preserve and educate children about the culture of the Mongolian Ger (nomadic dwelling; a “Yurt” in Turkic languages), which has been adopted in the national school curriculum. The Kathmandu Hub was fund-raising and managing the construction of a state-of-the-art school after the Nepal earthquake of 2015 (many schools were destroyed by the earthquake).

I am proud of the fact that the Hong Kong Hub is hosting the SHAPE China conference in October 2016 with this exact objective in mind to connect Shapers from the Greater China region with those from the rest of the world. SHAPE conferences are meetings organized by Shapers for Shapers, and they are particularly meant to strengthen the interconnections of the regional network of hubs.

We, the Shapers, must not be complacent. We should apply our resources to good use, be they tangible or intangible, to benefit our community. We must think hard about our values, and revisit them regularly and collectively to check for their relevance. What does it mean to be a Hong Kong Shaper? What should be the guiding principles for committing to a project? How do we critique our own governance, engagement, and impact levels to make sure we are doing enough as Shapers? Would a combination of strong governance and uncertainty about values lead to weak engagement and impact? These are tough questions because they are important questions. They require authenticity and further reflection on Lessons 1, 2, and 4 of the ACM. which I wrote about earlier. They may even require a bit of thinking about thinking using a different mindset (see Systems Thinking).

To me, selection as a “Shaper” is an unearned honor that one should try their best to make worthy during their tenure, and that honor reflects the collective good that hubs have done for their communities.

Reflection as a youth advocate

The ACM has inspired me to think a lot about youth leadership and other youth issues. I have already written on this in Lesson 3 . Being absorbed by the issues today do not absolve our duties of tomorrow. When Schwab founded the Forum in 1971, there were more dictatorships than today and 2 billion people lived in poverty (a similar number today but the world population has grown much larger). The world is becoming a better place, but the fight for inclusion and strengthening public interest to serve the global society is more relevant than ever. We need a culture of stewardship to take care of inter-generational values (from old to young, and young to old). And, joining the Global Shapers is a great way to cultivate this.


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