Last week, our current Global Citizen Scholars and Alumni from the program had the chance to attend an expert workshop with Arrey Obenson, CEO of Transformunity. Transformunity is a consulting company that tackles the opportunities of organizations, drawing on expertise in movement building and citizens engagement to accelerate positive change and sustainable development for a better future.Based on his experiences from the past 20 years, Arrey shared his personal theory of change, kicking off the workshop with an inspiring speech on how we can choose between two roles when we approach challenges: spectator or actor. He emphasized that only one role will lead to finding solutions and living a prosperous life.

“I choose to be an actor rather than a spectator. I see life as a stage where we have a choice to be in the audience cheering others on or can use the opportunity to play a role”.

During the workshop, Arrey prepared a thought-provoking exercise for our scholars and alumni and asked them to write down what challenges they saw standing in the way of their success. Afterwards he asked them to determine opportunities within those challenges.

We all know how incredibly challenging this year has been, as our realities were significantly altered by the global pandemic Covid-19. But as Arrey and our global citizen scholars discussed, the crisis has also brought with it many opportunities, including new ways of learning through increased access to online education globally as well as opportunities for international cooperation and gatherings without burdening our resources, both in the financial sense as well as the environmental sense. These are just a few of the opportunities that were shared.

Instead of focusing on challenges alone, Arrey advocated looking at the possible opportunities and solutions. Arrey exemplified Africa as a case where challenges often overshadow the opportunities in the global dialogue. However, he sees so many opportunities! To Arrey, it is a “land of a billion opportunities”, vastly rich in 1.2 billion human resources.Moreover, he illustrated how his theory has proven successful in his own work. After the outbreak of Covid-19 in Cameroon, Transformunity organized a massive education campaign on health and wellness: “Covid-19 was the challenge, but the opportunity was to build resilience in Cameroonian communities against infectious diseases”.

To conclude his presentation, Arrey encouraged everyone to turn every challenge into an opportunity.

Following the workshop, the scholars had the chance for peer-to-peer exchange with the alumni of the scholarship program who joined the call. After a round of introductions, the scholars were sorted into breakout rooms to connect and network.

At the end of the breakout room rotations, Program Officer Julia, thanked the scholars for their participation and shared ways for them to stay in contact!We are very excited to celebrate the closing of this year’s scholarship program on December 15th! Stay tuned for information for how you can join the virtual event and watch our scholars present their SDG Micro-Projects!