Closing: Keli Yen

I would like to build on what Amelia and Mar have said by speaking about the function of the Global Greens.

In my eyes, the Global Greens is the community movement of individuals. It is also what we in Chinese call, the field of practice, the ring where you practice your martial arts. In this ring, we push against one another, we learn how to ground ourselves, be firmly rooted, and push against one another, learn how to be relaxed, agile, responsive, and quick and calm, and we develop all the skills, both in our minds and spirits, and in our muscles and bones. 

That is what we are for one another as a community in this practice field. We learn skills and the art of leadership, the leadership within ourselves of how to be self led. In my own experience, that's what it was – from signing up as the webmaster for the Asia-Pacific Greens Congress, and then opportunities arose and they asked who wanted to step up, and my hand kept going up. I think it was the same for all of you. You are leading some committee and then you are coordinator of the Global Greens.

What I found is I didn't think of myself as a politician or activist, but through all of these activities, we learn what we care about, and we learn what we are willing to be vulnerable for, and where to find our courage to do things that frighten us so we can, in those moments that are so important, speak truth to power, do your best in that moment, and step up to it. 

We learned skills – how to talk onstage, how to debate, how to make an argument. All of these things are the work of activists like yourselves, so I think the purpose of this Congress is to inspire one another to always reach further inside of ourselves, stretch further out there, to organise ourselves so together we can have a greater impact, and to amplify ourselves so that, wherever we are, even though we are an individual, our voice has the sort of global impact and we can be heard by our friends that we make today, over coffee, by people we will never meet and we will never see the full knock-on effect, that is what leadership means. It is not a Napoleon, leading out in front and being perfect, but the journey of ever developing awareness about the impact that you have around you, even the impact you can't see and the growing awareness. It is a lifelong journey. 

I think the message of this Congress especially at this time is the importance of being self led. For me, when I saw Trump getting elected, it was just a clear message you can't expect someone else to save you, you can't expect your candidate to get elected or expect that someone who is in a position of power will do the right thing. So who will? It has to be us and our friends whom we influence through our leadership, so that direction, that clarity, has to come from inside. 

That's why think one of the most important elements of the Global Greens, of us, is our hearts, our hearts that get us out onto the streets, get us out of bed in the morning, give us a sense of purpose when we take on the day. It is our hearts that define our ideology, in fact. We see disconnects in the world, in the newspapers, all the time, people vilifying each other, finding scapegoats. What defines Green ideology is we are all about connection, compassion, caring for one another. The politics of caring is something I learned from the Australian Greens. That is their message – welcome, refugees. We care about you. The politics of caring. We care for the trees, the animals who don't speak our language, but we care about them anyway. We care about soil, the future that we won't live to see. 

So the most important message I would like to express to all of you is to care for one another. I have had the chance to travel and visit a lot of Green parties, and I can see the conflicts that happen inside our family. It is really hard trying to bring our ideals into action. A lot of struggle. Care for one another, be kind. Let the Global Greens community be our sanctuary. It is a hard fight out there, and we are in the trenches, and we are the underdog in a lot of cases. We need one another. Be good to one another. Take the leap of faith when you are scared. Talk to your adversary. Reach out to them.

The Dalai Lama says, when you meet someone, think you are meeting another human being. I find that helps someone when I meet someone with a big title, and it’s scary. I am meeting another human being and I feel privileged to be spending time with another human being. And on our last days, even if we’ve never met before, we have that kinship. We are alive together. Let's use this lifetime, make the most of it, do what we can, be kind, be loving, be the change we want to see in the world.

Thank you. 

Congress organisers


Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool
Kings Dock, Liverpool L3 4FP, United Kingdom

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30 March - 2 April 2017

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