From Student to Moderator: A Journey with Generation Global
One evening, while engaging with some young and brilliant minds from around the world on the Generation Global platform, I came across one of my older replies written in the dialogue spaces. Surprisingly, I couldn’t recognise that it was one of my comments. It seemed so much different from my style; everything from my word choice to the questions and the way I shared my own experiences was different. I decided to take a moment to reflect on my journey with the Generation Global platform and track the progress I had made with time.
When I first joined Generation Global, I was just a young high school student with a burning desire to learn more about various cultures and peoples around the world. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and adapt to a global environment, to feel like I belonged. Not just by my country or region but by the whole world. However, since I was young and had limited opportunities, discovering Generation Global was the biggest bliss. I attribute my initial participation in the Generation Global platform to my high-school English teacher, who encouraged me and my peers from the school to participate in the dialogue spaces and the video conferences regularly. This experience was transformative for me. It challenged many of my beliefs and opinions daily, providing me with newer insights into other religions and cultures. As I was learning so much from my peers on the Generation Global platform, I could feel that I was gradually developing a perspective of my own.
One of the first times I remember when my perspective was challenged; was during a video conference. An Indonesian girl, who followed Islam, shared with me how she was a fan of the character Arjuna from the Mahabharata (a mythological text, which many Hindus consider as sacred). This challenged my stereotypes because mainstream news and media led me to believe that Muslims don’t read the Mahabharata.
I grew up with Generation Global, becoming a responsible global citizen with a passion for learning more. Unfortunately, as soon as I turned seventeen, I had to get ready to leave the platform with my amazingly transformative memories.
By this time, Generation Global had become an essential part of my life, comparable to other social media platforms. Just like every social media platform has different purposes, Generation Global was my go-to destination for learning from my global peers about their cultures and identities. It was where I brainstormed to come up with great solutions for global issues. With the influence of Generation Global, I had already realised that I wanted to study Cultural Anthropology in college. I decided to travel to Central Europe for my education since it would be beneficial for me to have first-hand exposure to a different cultural environment.
Luckily, during this time, I was invited to apply for the prestigious Alumni Moderators’ programme of Generation Global. That is when my new journey as a global citizen began. After a rigorous application procedure, I received my acceptance letter. I was happy to be on-board because I wanted to continue to be a part of this wonderful community of global citizens for as long as I could. Soon after, I received formal training along with fellow team members, delving into crucial aspects of online moderation and safeguarding. The interesting part was that we were also taught about new techniques and measures to have better dialogues. This training significantly enhanced the eloquence and power of my dialogues.
When I started as an alumni moderator, I encountered many challenges. I had to be more responsible when engaging with the posts now. It was not at all like the engagements from when I participated in the platform as a student. This new role was way more challenging and mentally demanding. However, witnessing the positive outcomes of my moderation efforts over time motivated me to invest my best into these engagements. One time, an Armenian student shared with me about her culture in detail. The following week, I took a class about Caucasian traditional customs. Thanks to my interaction with that student, I already knew about the festival of Vardavar. This was a proud moment for me.
Another time, a student shared with me how she feels discriminated against due to the social norms in her society considering the menstruation cycle as a taboo. She shared with me her aspirations for the future, where she wants to voice out against this social norm and spread more awareness about normalising basic human rights. It was again a proud moment for me when she shared how my engagement with her post had motivated her to bring about a change in these social norms.
Even a student from a war-torn region of the world shared with me how she is advocating for women’s rights in her community at a micro-level, yet, bringing about a big change in her community’s mentality towards girls’ education. I was proud to know that she feels optimistic about the future.
Gaining insider views and the natives’ perspectives through the Generation Global platform, I realised how people’s reality is sometimes contrastingly different from those of the popular news and media stereotypes. With all my engagements with the young global community on Generation Global, not only did I learn about the world around me, but also found my place in it.
On a personal level, I was motivated by the stories of brave students who had experiences of fighting with hate speech online and raising their voices against unjust social norms. Generation Global gave me a brighter and more optimistic perspective about the future. When I observed my peers making small contributions to the global community, I felt driven to do the same. This motivated me to start a little website of my own, ‘alekhni.com’, to share the knowledge that I gained from my education in the humanities. Dialogues with my global peers taught me that no step is small. You never know which words of yours might change someone’s life or leave an impact.
As I look forward to contributing my part to the Generation Global community, I invite more young people to take part in this miraculous project to enhance their perspectives and play a role in creating a more inclusive and peaceful global community.