This October, Cenet participant Laura Torrent I Garcia was selected by the U.S. State Department as one of three Exchange Visitor Program participants to attend a four-day leadership event in Charlottesville, VA. The Global Leadership Forum provided an opportunity for 24 emerging young leaders from around the world to engage in leadership development and networking.
Torrent I Garcia, originally from Barcelona, is participating in a 12-month Intern program in international trade at a company in Washington, D.C. She describes being selected for the Global Leadership Forum as “an amazing opportunity to be with people from 19 different countries,” all of whom “helped [her] to grow professionally and personally.”
The main purpose of the event was for representatives to “delve into the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint for global peace and prosperity, and examine cases of effective cross-sector partnerships that are advancing these goals.” The event was fully funded by the Presidential Precinct in partnership with Tupperware Brands, and included an itinerary of keynote speakers and panels, roundtable discussions, skill-building workshops, community site visits, project-based learning, and networking opportunities.
Grateful for the opportunity to learn about SDGs, leadership skills, and the stories of other global leaders and peers, Torrent I Garcia says she was still most impressed by her own personal growth throughout the event. “In the beginning, I didn’t know what to expect from this program or what did they expect from me. I was scared and I thought I wasn’t good enough to be there,” says Torrent I Garcia. “These days have helped me to see that I deserved to be in this program as much as my fellows. I have realized that even though I still have so many things to learn, I already have many good qualities in me.
“Living in this multicultural environment has opened my eyes, in the sense that everyone’s different, there is no better or worse, there is only diversity. I had the amazing opportunity to be with people from 19 different countries: Syria, Belize, Trinidad & Tobago, Zambia, Nigeria, United States, Vietnam, Ghana, Bangladesh, Philippines, Brazil, Sweden, Ethiopia, India, Estonia, Malawi, Pakistan, Tunisia and Peru. It is unbelievable how people from many different cultures have connected that much. In the end, we are not flags, countries either languages, we are people.”