Amazing and Inspiring experience at JCI National Presidents Meeting

01 Aug

The first ever National Presidents meeting for the area of Africa and Middle East was held from 7th to 9th February 2013 in the capital of Ghana, Accra. When the 2013 JCI Mauritius National President announced that he would not be able to make it, I seized the opportunity to volunteer to represent Mauritius in that meeting. Having attended two JCI World Congresses, I knew this would be an opportunity not to be missed.  After a few email exchanges with the National President of Ghana, my visa was secured and I was all set to board my flight to Accra through Dubai.

I reached Accra on the 7th of February with the African heat present to welcome me. After having spent of couple of hours at the airport trying to go through the customs without giving any bribe, I was on my way to Alisa Hotels where the meeting will be held and the delegates would be staying as well. The opening ceremony was scheduled in the evening. This was the time when all the delegates were given the opportunity to get to know each other over dinner. I had the pleasure of meeting the JCI Executive Vice President assigned to Africa and Middle East, Rania, the Vice President Nana who was assigned to Mauritius and the Deputy Secretary General of JCI , Arrey and other International JCI officers. 

The day started very early for me on the following day since I had a meeting with the JCI World President Chiara and the Executive Vice President at 7.00 a.m. We discussed how things were going on in JCI Mauritius and both Chiara and Rania advised me on certain matters. World President Chiara insisted on JCI members daring to act, taking their responsibilities and working to create impact on the society. Executive Vice President Rania told me how concerned JCI was on JCI Mauritius members not attending international conferences. She highlighted the importance of attending those conferences and I could not agree more because it is only by attending those conferences that a JCI member can realize the potential of this wonderful organization.

The first module of the National Presidents meeting was ‘Discovering your potential’ which was conducted by JCI Nigeria Past President. It was a very interesting workshop where each one of us had the opportunity to really get to know ourselves and the other delegates as well. The second module of the day was conducted by the World President herself. She stressed on whatever projects we, as JCI members intend to do should be based on facts and facts only. She also mentioned that we should stop blaming each other. This will not lead to anything. Instead of just sitting and complaining, we should start to act and try to solve the challenges the world is facing. The importance of the Active Citizenship Framework was also highlighted and also working towards achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. She also encouraged members to use the social media to promote JCI and its projects. The presentation of the World President was followed by a presentation on growth in JCI and a presentation on the conference of Africa and Middle East whereby Executive Vice President Rania was motivating all those present to attend the conference.

In the afternoon, JCI Impact was conducted by the Deputy Secretary General Arrey. This is, according to me, the most important training that a JCI member should attend. The way JCI operates during the past few years has changed a lot and I realized that JCI Mauritius has some catching up to do. JCI members are active citizens and the definition of an active citizen by JCI is someone who identifies challenges, engages the community, take action to provide sustainable solutions. For JCI members to be able to implement the active citizenship framework and to know in which direction JCI is heading, it is really important that a JCI member graduates from the JCI Impact course.

In the evening, JCI Ghana members had organized a Ghanaian night where the delegates of the National Presidents meeting were given the opportunity to experience the culture and traditions of the country. Typical local food and beverages were served and some of the delegates even danced on the tunes of the local music. World President Chiara was crowned queen of JCI Ghana during the Ghanaian night.

On day 2 of the National Presidents meeting, Senator Materne Bossou conducted the new version of JCI Achieve for the delegates. JCI Achieve is about the identity of the organization and is another JCI official course along with JCI Admin. There have been a lot of changes regarding training as well lately. As from now, there are only 3 official JCI courses namely JCI Impact, JCI Achieve and JCI Admin. In the afternoon of day 2, all the delegates participated in a community project of one of the local chapters of JCI Ghana. It was about cleaning the streets of Accra. It was an amazing experience seeing all those leaders working together to create an impact in Accra. When we came back to the hotel, we only had time for a quick shower and we headed again for the conference room for a workshop on the active citizenship framework. We also received tips on how to make a growth plan in terms of local organisations in our respective countries. JCI is already applying them and they seem to be working.

The closing ceremony was scheduled at night. There were a lot of tired but also proud faces after 2 days of intense work. When we met over breakfast the following day, most of us had mixed feelings leaving the place since we had to leave each other just when we were beginning to create that JCI bond but we were eagerly waiting to get back to transfer whatever we have learnt to our fellow members and start creating that impact which will create a positive change in our community. This was another amazing experience from the JCI world for me. I am eagerly waiting for the next National Presidents meeting already. I would definitely recommend anyone who wants to attend any international JCI event to do so without thinking twice over it. Those experiences can only make you better persons.

Prashant Lallah
2013 JCI Mauritius Deputy National President


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