BTW, Speaking about justice…

Shine On!

Posted on: April 23, 2010

There is nothing more fulfilling than to spend a Wednesday night at an event where diversity is celebrated and being far away from home could win you £2,000. The event I’m talking about here is the British Council Shine! Award 2010. It is an award that celebrates international students’ achievement and contribution to life in the UK.

That's me, thirs from the left, next to Gary Fisher

That's me third from the left, next to Gary Fisher. Photo courtesy of Pedro Parraguez Ruiz (

Participants to the competition were asked to write about their lives outside their studies, from which then a judging panel would choose the best letter as an example of what life is like in the UK for future international students. I may have not described this event accurately, so, if you want to know more, please head to the award’s website (opens in new window).

Well fed and well entertained by 2010 winners’ video diary, I couldn’t wait to blog about the event. Not to simply report/review it, but to share with you the inspiration and spirit of ideas that glowed from everyone at the venue in London.

Matthew Morton, 2009’s winner couldn’t make it to the event due to the ash cloud. He sent a heartfelt video message and one of his lines were: “We come to the UK not just for the education. We come for perspective, we come for a world view.”

Indeed we did!

At my table sat brilliant minds thinking about the future of China’s diplomacy, empowerment for developing countries in WTO’s dispute mechanism, nuclear energy as transition to a better option, innovation and technology management, and most importantly, at my table were also the people who are dedicated to helping us make these ideas take flight: the Chevening team. How cool is that?!

Listening closely to fellow scholars talk passionately in detail about their interests, the ideas they believe in, and what the future would be like if we put our minds into it… I believe each and everyone deserves a standing ovation.

Matthew was right, we come for a perspective. What is mine?

While my friends’ work are geared towards building a livable planet, my work in intergenerational justice is geared towards building a livable society for people young and old. Here I see that even an advanced country such as the UK has problems just like everywhere else in the world. Here I see clearer that by working together, a good world is possible. Call me utopian, call me crazy, I don’t care. There is hope! There is light! Not just one, but many!

One doesn’t have to be the smartest, the most beautiful, the tallest, the richest, or the most talented to bring light to the world. Delfina Studio in London that night was filled with about 200 people from different backgrounds, different interests, different goals, each shining their light to the world. We’re not the only ones. YOU are one too!

Start today! Start right now! Shine your light to the people around you, light up the lives of the people near and far. Start small, start with making a person smile today 🙂 I’d love to hear all about it!


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Lishia Erza

Searching for answers about life, these are the ones I have found.

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