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This insightful experience has proven to be very fruitful as it enabled me to grow as an individual and as a learner. Through the two keynote speeches on the first day of the conference, I didn’t only discover new aspects about racism happening in specific regions in the world but I was also able to reinforce my previous knowledge about the different types of violence and learn more about the situation in Lebanon and Namibia.

Discussing such significant matters with others who are equally as concerned as I am about it, enabled me to broaden my perspective and understanding of what is happening in the world rather than always staying close minded by acknowledging only what is happening in my country. I was able to learn new facts and ideologies from different places and citizens which piqued my interest.

Moreover, I believe that this experience has in a way “burst my bubble” as it opened my eyes on all the atrocities happening which people are turning a blind eye to. This made me realize that taking imminent action to solve the worsening situations is something that needs to be taken seriously and that the lack of knowledge provided to teenagers, such as myself, is the barrier stopping us from taking actions for the betterment of the future.

Therefore, my group’s Charity Hackathon project was concentrated on raising awareness about the issue of modern slavery by increasing the exposure of the organization “Slave Free Trade” to mainly youngsters. I feel immensely jubilant and proud of the project that my group has been able to come up with as it was a first step towards the change I want to see in the world. Even though I wasn’t assigned a specific role, I ensured that we were productive, on track and completed all parts of the assignment. I also shared my ideas and made sure that communication went on smoothly.

The interactive discussions we had during our breakout sessions enabled my communication skills and self confidence to improve greatly as I am often scared to talk to strangers. Thanks to the extraordinary help of the facilitators who helped guide us in the right direction, we were able to complete our project within the allocated time. I definitely feel more prepared to participate in the change that we need to undertake and eventually even put to life the project my group created.

Even though the Virtual CAS Conference didn’t challenge my ethics as such, it shook the foundations of my beliefs about slavery, racism and violence because I wasn’t expecting that such profound situations are still occurring to that extent around the globe.

I would definitely recommend this experience to others, not only students doing the IB but for people of all ages as it is a refreshing and challenging experience pushing you to become more open-minded. Personally, I intend to participate in future Virtual CAS Conferences organized as I really enjoyed the keynote speakers, discussions and activities.

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