Author: Vanesa Vazharova
Dear friends, believe in yourselves and do not let anyone or anything make you lose faith in who you are and what you can do. Keep struggling eagerly for what you long for no matter what happens. Believe me, everything is possible but often some long time has to elapse before your dream comes true. Let me tell you about my dream which did happen to me this year. I hope that after reading my article you are going to fill in an application form or write down an essay in order to help your destiny design your future as you would like it to be.
Year 2010, August, from 21st to 27th I attended International Youth Conference on Biodiversity in Aichi 2010, Japan. This was a week which changed me, my life, my attitude towards the nature and the biodiversity and, last but not least, my understanding of the world.
Let me continue with sharing some information about the application process with you. In the first place, I learned about that conference due to a publication on the website www.mladiinfo.com. I found that very conference two days before the deadline which was a day and half according to the Japanese time. So what I did was I spent four hours at night filling in my application and then again four hours early in the morning. Yes, it was a tough night but that conference was all I longed for. I had to write three essays on the following topics “My activities related to Biodiversity”, “Significant of Biodiversity” and “What I expect from participation in the conference.” I attached my CV and certificates that proved my advanced knowledge of English language. Other requirements were a reference letter written by a responsible relative and a reference document stating my competency. Then I sent them all with the hope that I might be chosen to attend that Biodiversity conference.
In a month I received an email which stated that I was one of the 100 young people from 66 countries all over the world who were going to become part of that remarkable conference. I was so happy that I was going to visit Japan not as a tourist, but as someone who would be there to do something meaningful, to make the world a better place to live on. 800 young people (from the age of 15 to 24) from 102 countries had applied for that conference and I am really sorry for those who were not chosen and I also do hope they will visit Japan because of such an important event one day in the very near future.
The International Youth Conference on Biodiversity 2010 in Aichi was held by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and its main aim was to promote communication among young people from different backgrounds and to improve their mutual awareness of biodiversity. The conference was associated with the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (so-called “CBD COP10”), held in October 2010. The world leaders who attended the CBD COP 10 meeting were informed about the outcomes of the youth conference. As I said, the host was the Ministry of the Environment, the co-host was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aichi Prefecture and the sponsor was Aeon Environmental Foundation. The conference happened with the cooperation of Nagoya city, the United Nations Environmental Program and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. As you may have noticed, this event was of very high importance. We discussed the current situation of biodiversity and stated goals for 2020 and 2050.
What we also did was set a number of youth actions which should take place in the very near future. Some best practices concerning the conservation of the biodiversity were shared. We, the participants, created a World map which showed many problematic areas worldwide and presented the measures which were taken to improve the situation. Furthermore, the non-formal conversations among the participants were invaluable. Everyone had something to share and by doing this we gained a great deal of new knowledge both for the environmental issues and for the world. It was amazing to find out how someone was struggling to change the world by saving the turtles. That very person created an educational book for kids on his own and also conducted different seminars (Zander Srodes, USA). It was so inspiring to see how a group of us, the participants, did not sleep the whole night in order to finalize the main idea. It was such a powerful experience to see how more than a thousand people listened to the outcomes of the conference, presented during a special event.
It was so precious for me to meet so many people who were totally determined to improve the current situation of biodiversity. While looking at their eyes I could feel their dedication … it was amazing. With this in mind, I think that I should present you the participants. They came from Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania, for instance, from Benin, Ghana, Egypt, India, Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippine, Australia, Canada, USA, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Austria, France, the UK, etc. It was amazing to find out a little bit about so many cultures. The best happened during the Evening of the Nations where we – all the participants – were dressed in traditional for our countries clothes.
As the conference concerned the environmental issues we visited the Satoyama place which is characterized by components such as paddy fields, fields for other agricultural crops, irrigation canals and reservoirs as well as secondary forests and Chinju-no-Mori shrine that have been maintained by human activities. To gain further experience we met students from the University of Nagoya who showed some of us the World Expo 2005 Aichi held on the main topic of “Nature’s Wisdom”, i.e. traditional Japanese housing and traditions. Other participants experienced Arimatsu tie-dyeing, a traditional Japanese dyeing technique and learned about Japanese culture while visiting festival floats. Every one of us felt the real Japanese spirit because each one of us spent a day and a night with a Japanese family on his/her own. I, for example, was taught how to cook sushi by my host family. They brought me to visit the amazing castles of Nagoya city. Some of the other participants visited the TV tower and the Aquarium or a factory for production of Sake. It was just amazing to learn so much for such a short time.
This conference influenced me a great deal. There I met wonderful people from all over the world who showed me that we all, no matter what our nationality, skin color or religion was, are one and the same. The friendships which I established there are invaluable for me and I do hope that we, all the participants, will gather together again. I am greatly impressed by the highly-professional staff responsible for conducting the International Youth Conference on Biodiversity. They showed me that I can manage my time properly. It was this very conference which made me much more mature. Now I live without any prejudices and in perfect harmony with the nature. I have learned how to overcome difficulties and how to act efficiently. I have started to have more faith in me. Now I know myself better.
My name is Vanesa Vazharova from Bulgaria and I am struggling to make my dreams come reality! And what about you?
This is one of the winning articles of the Mladiinfo Article Writing Contest