On May 22, 2013, I received an e-mail from Connect4Climate. My team and I were invited to Milan as one of the five finalists.
A week later, my teammate, Selina, and I embarked on our journey to Italy. There, the Connect4Climate team greeted us very warmly. We are deeply thankful to them, as they showed us great enthusiasm as well as impeccable managerial skills.
The Connect4Climate team made sure that all the finalists met a couple of hours before the event. It was a wonderful way to allow us to mingle and build connections. Selina and I were deeply touched by the friendliness of the other finalists. Each finalist possessed a wonderful integrity and brilliance that we couldn’t help but admire. I am so thankful that the Connect4Climate team subtly pushed us to make such positive bonds with these other students. We all stuck together as a team and received such wonderful support throughout the event. They made the entire process so smooth, and for that we hold deep gratitude.
In retrospect, it’s funny that the most thrilling moment was not the winning one, but rather the moments just before. We were sitting in our seats when our videos started to play on the big screen. Every time a new one started, our hearts would leap because our video was drawing nearer. It was the last to be screened of the five. As soon as it started, we held our breaths because we were nervous about how the audience would react. Thankfully, the audience’s laughter, which quickly spread throughout the theater, broke the tension. In that thrilling moment, our anxiety was smothered by a warm blanket of appreciation that rung in our ears. To be present and observe the audience’s spontaneous reaction, is a memory that we will cherish forever.
Our win was the cherry on top of the perfect evening. The prize we received was one of pure generosity. We are truly privileged to have been awarded scholarship money, and honored that our video will be screened at international film festivals. And the internship in New York is so much more than we could have ever dreamed of. We are confident that this internship will launch our careers and it will be an adventure we cannot wait to experience. We are being immersed into the heart of creativity.
This competition has inspired us to believe in ourselves and our creativity. Imagination is a beautiful gift and when used properly, it can have a powerful impact on others. It is a necessary tool in the fight against global warming. This competition has inspired us to get in touch with visionaries of Lebanon, like, Ziad Abichaker; a revolutionary changing the way we deal with garbage.
With our creativity and determination we can build a sustainable future.