A Toast to You

| Author: Jenny |

Yesterday MaKenzie requested that the staff write a blog just as we’ve asked you all to do for the past 10 weeks. I’ve actually been thinking about doing this for some time. However, every time I thought about what I could possibly write about, I would run into the same mental block: how I could ever convey my thoughts or feelings as eloquently as you all have time and time again - 100 times in total to be exact. I suspect many of you have had similar concerns. So I won’t promise eloquence or deep insight, but I will promise that this is from my heart and it is a very well-deserved toast to you. A toast that would have been appropriate for last night but I think our time was better spent in conversation, in laughing, in dancing, and in celebrating with the people that you’ve spent the past 10 weeks with. Plus, how could I ever compete with Macklemore and all of your great dance moves, including Amber’s mom’s?!

So, here’s my toast to you:

Thank you.

Thank you for giving India and GCIL your all. It was so evident to us - and based on yesterday’s questions and feedback, I believe it was evident to others as well - that you gave your projects everything you had and as a result you have generated fantastic projects and ideas that I hope others will consider carrying forward.

Thank you for jumping in and getting to know one another, for forming new bonds with GCIL and ILK folks and with people here in Bangalore, whether from your organization, SJC, or elsewhere.

Thank you for letting us share this journey with you. It has been a privilege to get to know you and to watch you develop your projects and hear what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown from your time here.

Julian has mentioned that we’re experimenting with GCIL, that we’re still figuring it out. To some degree I think that all teaching is a developing experiment, or perhaps in GCIL and business development language it’s a constant build-measure-learn cycle. There’s constant learning of what works well and what doesn’t; so thank you for thriving with the parts that did work well and bearing with the parts that may not have, and for always giving feedback.

I know I have learned a lot about myself and what I want to do next while I’ve been here and I hope you have as well. I sincerely hope that you’re able to take this experience with you and apply what you’ve learned to create positive impact in this world no matter where your life leads you.

Thank you for demonstrating so energetically what a team of highly motivated and capable people can accomplish in such a short amount of time when you set your minds to it. I hope I and others can emulate your drive to create an impact and change, and remember that we can do a lot in a short amount of time.

Now, like a good business pitch, I’ll end my toast with an ask: please stay in touch - with GCIL, with me, with each other. Whether that’s through lifelong friendships you’ve formed, a yearly email update, or even just a connection on LinkedIn. I hope that you’ve learned through this program the power of community, the power of networking, the power of connections, and what a small group can accomplish. Each and every one of you is going to graduate from your programs and continue to live truly interesting lives. Henry asked yesterday if I thought I would ever see any of you again after GCIL. My answer, which I stand by, was, “I don’t know, but I hope so.” I hope our paths cross again in the future, whether that’s through shared stories of travel and learning from new cultures, new social ventures or activism, or anything else. I hope I get the chance to hear about what you do in the future because I’m so excited to see what you accomplish.

So cheers to each of you, cheers to Team APSA, Team Biome, Team Hasiru Dala, and Team SELCO. Thank you for everything you’ve accomplished here and thank you for jumping into this new place, this new space, this new program like pros! You all are awesome!

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