On June 12, the first day of the e-Medicon, Rotaractors from all around the world joined a session of Free Intelligent Conversation, a joint project of Rotaract Europe – ERIC and Rotaract Mediterranean, which was first supposed to take place outdoors in March.
Its founder, Kyle Emile, was kind enough to join us at the beginning of the session and elaborate more on this concept. He explains that the idea came to him when he was unable to find a place to go just to have a conversation about random life topics. And he realized that, no matter where people ended up going, whether it’s restaurants, bars, parks or any other social place, they rarely have deep meaningful discussions. One day, he then made a sign and held it out in the street and invited people to initiate discussions related to different topics. The goal was to learn and be intentional while doing it.
Later on, Laura Bourgeois, Social Officer of Rotaract Europe, and Kyle met and the idea of the Free IC was introduced to Rotaract France, then Rotaract Europe, and in the end finally made its way to Rotaract Mediterranean, too.
Since the session was being conducted online, the participants gathered on Zoom and were then divided at two intervals into random breakout rooms of 3 to 5 peopleand provided with a list of over 200 questions. The questions were a tool to break the ice and initiate a conversation. Because the groups were small, each person was able to take their turn and answer the question at hand, as well as have a mature discussion about the different approaches and answers within the group.
Each person’s experience was different. We reached out to five different participants and asked them about their impressions.
PatilleMadaghian, President of Rotaract Sahel Metn, Lebanon 🇱🇧
This wasn’t my first Free IC experience but I can say that this was a very unique one. It was fun to be in a big room together and then go into different smaller breakout rooms to have a more personal experience with each other. The Free IC asks you questions you don’t usually think about or don’t necessarily discuss with other people. The questions were diverse soit was a great way to express ourselves, get to know other people from different countries and find out our differences and similarities in cultures. It’s really nice to be able to get people’s input and perspective on various topics. The discussions were enthusiastic and vibrant and it was truly an international experience. I would love to do this again with even longer sessions.
Shantanu Arvindekar,District Director – International Service of RI District 3131 and member of Rotaract Club of Sinhgad Academy of Engineering, India 🇮🇳
The e-MEDICON was one of the greatest experiences and I really am glad to have joined. This was my second experience of Free IC with Rotaract and it was a delightful one. In the first room, we did not go through many questions but we were able to discuss our careers and get well connected together. The second round of discussions, though, helped me realize what really matters in life, what we are all facing currently and how small things can affect people. It was great to see that multiple people of similar age groups can be put together to gradually learn about each other’s lifestyles.
Abdelilah Aziz, President of Rotaract FSTM Marina, Morocco 🇲🇦
It was my first time at a Free IC and the least I can say is that it was amazing. We had a wonderful time getting to know each otherto the point that we forgot about the time running. We were just talking about nothing and everything with no barriers without noticing that we were exchanging deep ideas and experiences. This was a proof that we are all,in fact, the same,and want similar things like peace, freedom, wellbeing of humankind, travelling and sharing time with our loved ones. But what was even more interesting was realizing that we’re afraid of the same things like war, diseases, losing a very close person… Which made me more confident that as humans our similarities surpass our differences, we just need to have a free talk to rediscover that.
Mohamed El Shibiny,PR Director of Rotaract Alexandria Mariout, Egypt 🇪🇬
I had heard about the Free IC before but itwas my first time participating. I really like the fact that it pushes you to think about certain topic and even encourages shy people to talk and express themselves. Sharing personal experiences with others and getting to know theirs has a really positive effect and brings happiness. So, overall, it was very beneficial and it was a great way to meet new people and connect with them.
Froukje Zandvliet, Secretary of MDIO Rotaract Netherlands and Vice President of RotaractScheveningen, Netherlands 🇳🇱
I enjoyed the Free IC very much. Even though it was online and I prefer to meet people in real life, it was nice connecting with Rotaractors from around the world that I hadn’t known prior to this and having some quality time together and getting to know them better on a deeper level. As board of Rotaract Netherlands, we organized a National Assembly with a Free IC in the streets of The Hague, which was even for me, a citizen of Hague, another opportunity to learn more from other citizens and tourists. What elevates this experience is the breakout rooms with not more than five people; that way everyone has the opportunity to share more. Also, this session wouldn’t have had the same outcome if it hadn’t been for the participants that were open to share their views on life, welcoming of other perspectives and at all times respectful.
Learn more on#FreeIC and how to do it with your club, here.
Photo credits to the rightful owners.
Written by Lynn Feghali