Another person who saw this project through to completion is Tyler Adkins – an articulate speaker who has presence and projects confidence, always aflame with creative vision. Despite being burdened with a heavy load of chores, Tyler took some time to answer a few of my questions and elaborate on his participation as one of the lead figures in WoD.
Magdalena: How did you learn about Waves of Democracy and what prompted you to get involved?
Tyler: I’m a long time “friend of the show”, having been working with IUC/Waves as both a participant and organizer for 10 years now. My initial introduction was at a small event in Copenhagen, when Nina invited me to meet with some of her students at Sankt Annae Gymnasium. I was blown away by the level of knowledge these young students had about American politics, the thoughtfulness of their beliefs, and their ability to articulate their ideas in a second language. I’ll never forget it.
Especially as a young person who had just left North America for the first time, the experience of meeting young people from around Europe, sharing experiences, ideas and making friendships (that continue to this day) was life changing. Programs like WoD make a lasting impression on both participants and organizers – which is why so many of us keep coming back for more!
Magdalena: Which workshop did you lead and how did you prepare for your role? Did the topic fell within your field of expertise or were you randomly assigned to it?
Tyler: I led the environment and sustainability workshop, which is both both a personal and professional interest of mine. In my day job is developing solar projects for commercial applications around the world. It’s very exciting work, but very much focused on the details of individual deals. For this workshop I had the great opportunity to take a step back, think about things again at a much higher level, and learn from the perspectives and experiences of our participants. Preparation was largely focused on revisiting concepts and articles picked up along the way at university.
Magdalena: What was the most challenging aspect of leading this particular workshop?
Tyler: Since there were multiple sub-groups working independently, it was challenging to maintain a consistent thread between the parallel conversations taking place. But at the same time, it was great to see the participants start from the same initial challenge and take the conversation in such different directions. I’m always extremely impressed by the energy and engagement of participants, many of whom are exploring new topics and communicating in their second, third, fourth, or fifth language!
Magdalena: In retrospect, if there was something you could change in the way the project unfolded or the way you fulfilled your tasks, what would it be?
Tyler: Is this where I make a sly comment about the lunch menu? 😉