Alice Cozens blogs on the inspiration imparting upon delegates of a General Assembly and the potential of the IFMSA to achieve great things.
One of the most striking things about the IFMSA is the motivation, enthusiasm and wealth of experience that the delegates have. I look around and realise that as medical students passionate about global health we all have such huge potential to create lasting change not only for our communities but for the health of our nations and most importantly to advocate for those people who do not have a voice.
As you can imagine realising this potential is not always easy but requires determination, persistence and a strategic approach but we are ALL capable of contributing to this and making our mark in the global mission we all share of removing the injustices in the state of our world’s health today.
Each of us in Medsin has their own passion and part to play and we are strong because we are all working towards the same vision “a fair and just world in which equity in health is a reality for all”.
My first experience of the IFMSA General Assembly was an open mic event for delegates to share their stories. It was a humble enough event but I was blown away by the incredible examples of students using their potential! I thought I would give you a snapshot to inspire you! The following quote was one delegate’s contribution to inspire us to be all that we can be:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
(A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3])
Another delegate explored how ideas are viruses and that you need to get other people to share your view, then empower them to take action and before you know it ideas spread like wildfire.
As this was the 60th anniversary of the IFMSA, an original member of the international committee was there who explained how it was a small group of medical students who had a vision for social justice in health and had the passion and naivity to believe huge change was possible. Now 60 years later, over 96 National Member Organisations are involved in incredible community projects, Accesss to Essential Medicines, Pharmaware, Think Global, Calcutta Village Projects, Healthy Planet, SKIP, Sexspression to name a few. We need to “be the change we wish to see in the world!” Ghandi.
We were also privileged enough to hear first hand accounts of the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt by the delegates from these countries. It was awe inspiring how the people had stood up for change and this had led to the ousting of a violent dictator. Their messages were of victory and the power of our generation. They also called us to embrace the power of social media in eliciting change!
Another particularly inspiring talk was from a delegate from Southeast Asia talking about the desertification of his homeland due to Climate Change. This personal account of what seems to us to be a remote issue was truly inspirational. This should fire us all up to take action through changing our lifestyles and working with Health Planet. Finally, every 2.5 seconds a child dies of hunger. Food inequities are a stain on the humanity of our generation.
I guess what I personally took away from this was that whatever our passion may be we CAN make a difference. The issues of global health are about people and their welfare and we cannot stand by and do nothing. So find your passion, be inspired and take ACTION!!!