This is the first of a series of entries about my experience at the Three Dot Dash Just Peace Summit! I hope these entries prove beneficial to anybody attending a summit sometime in the future. Enough stalling, let’s get started!
Day 0 Part One- Affinia Manhattan:
Here I was. The Affinia Manhattan, just across the street from Madison Square Garden and my ‘home’ for the next 6 nights. I was experiencing many emotions when I entered the lobby: Excitement at the fact that I’m spending a week in New York City and being selected as one of 30 Global Teen Leaders from all across the globe; Fear of making a bad first impression and embarrassing myself in front of the organizers and my fellow Global Teen Leaders; and bleakness after looking at some of the accomplishments of the other GTLs, hearing about how some of them met President Obama, Prince William & Kate and a laundry list of celebrities stretching from Mark Wahlberg to Justin Beiber (Yes, one of them actually wanted to meet Justin Beiber). It kind of made me feel bleak as i’m still yet to meet my own Amir, which is the highest honor for any Kuwaiti. As I continued gathering my thoughts, I soon realized that the cons outweighed the pros as I continued to search for the Three Dot Dash section at the hotel. How was I possibly going to match people who raised millions for diabetes research or a member of Canada’s 20 under 20?
The answer was simple: I had to prove to everyone that I belonged here. Even though my accomplishments were inferior and my interaction with famous people, in relation to my project, was close to zero, there was no chance in hell I was going to go down without a fight. Throughout my life, i’ve had to overcome obstacles. From being told I may have ADHD (which turned out to be false) to being told that I had no chance of passing the 7th grade, I was not going to let their accomplishments intimidate me or stop me from showing that the no-name kid from Kuwait can hang with the big guns. What I lack in achievements, I make up for in passion, drive, tenacity and never backing down or quitting. It became apparent that I had to play the role of the underdog one more time with the only difference being that the story was set in Manhattan, not Kuwait. This was my golden opportunity and I was darn sure that by the time the week was over, Faisal Al-Fuhaid will no longer be the kid that can’t hang.