“Wild and out of control heartbeat”, or: what it’s like for a participant in the days leading up to the International Human Rights Training Program

Home » Equitas blog » “Wild and out of control heartbeat”, or: what it’s like for a participant in the days leading up to the International Human Rights Training Program

Mariam Azeem, Program Manager with the Youth Parliament of Pakistan
Our International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP) began on  Sunday, June 3. Over 30 staff and interns are focused on nothing but – and over 106 participants have arrived in Montréal for a three week program that will change their lives and work. The participants are truly a varied group, coming from all the corners of the earth, representing countless linguistic groups and ethnicities and religions and backgrounds and opinions.  For more than just a few participants, this is their first time in Canada, or even leaving their countries.  This extraordinary diversity is one of the things that makes this program so unique and exciting.  The richness of this experience – having the opportunity to learn from people from every possible place and circumstance – enriches the participant and their work, and ultimately their communities and our world. These amazing individuals have descended upon Montreal with open eyes and open hearts.  Leading up to their arrival is a flurry of excitement and activity – getting their visa approved, getting the time off of work, making arrangements for their families and commitments…What to pack?  Will it snow in Canada? Mariam Azeem is one of this year’s IHRTP participants from Pakistan.  A program manager and trainer with the Youth Parliament of Pakistan, the largest youth organization in Pakistan, she works on the “Know Your Rights” program which works with youth across the country to promote inter-faith dialogue and peaceful coexistence with and between minority and marginalized groups. I asked Mariam to share her feelings leading up to the IHRTP.  You might say she was a bit excited: “I have never experienced the kind of wild and ‘out of control heartbeat’ that I did when I was approaching the “passport delivery” window to receive my passport. The agent handed over the envelope and I literally tore it away right there and then to see if I have got the visa… And it was a yes and I literally showed my wide smile and 32 teeth to the whole room!!!” When asked why she wanted to attend the IHRTP, she said: “I will get to meet a hundred new ‘Rights Friends”.  It will be a platform to celebrate differences and diversity yet with an attitude to find out solutions for a peaceful world where human rights prevail to make a harmonious society.  Imagine a HUNDRED new solutions!” Mariam – and everyone else who has arrived for the IHRTP – we are as excited as you are and are happy to finally meet you! – Ronit Yarosky

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