During the time I spent at university I made a glorious discovery: academics is not just about studying and writing exams, it is about travelling and discovering as well. Conferences such as the South American Business Forum offer the perfect opportunity to do just that. SABF is an annual conference that takes place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the month of August and draws 100 participants and 40 experts in their fields from all over the world. Last year I applied, not knowing if I’d be accepted and lo and behold I was, along with 99 other inspiring and outstanding young individuals who spent three days of life-changing dialogue in the coolest city.
Last year’s theme was “A Conversation Across Borders” – a topic that was open to interpretation and lent itself to many interesting and diverse speakers and workshops. During the three days I spent at SABF I felt a renewed hope for our seemingly often hopeless world because of the people I met and the ideas they presented. I felt that we will be OK if our future rests in the hands of the participants that I met at the conference. It was a truly inspiring experience to say the least. Despite their youth, all the participants presented great ideas and were eager to broaden their minds and expand their worlds through lively dialogue and discussion. The conference was charged with a spirit of unity and excitement. Despite the days being jam-packed with activities from interactive workshops to round table discussions and key note speakers such as the incredible Dalia Mogahed and inspiring Rob Britton (a man that reminded me of a real-life Morrie from the book Tuesdays with Morrie), the evenings presented another round of adventure on the streets of Buenos Aires, pushing participants to fully embrace the “sleep when you’re dead” motto.
The bulk of the application centres around an essay which you have to write. Because of the topics chosen each year – this year’s topic is “Chasing A Shared Purpose” – you really have a broad scope to work with. The different angles and ideas that came out in last year’s essays were really astounding! What the organisers are looking for, however, is something innovative and creative, something that tells them that you have something to contribute.
Should you be accepted to participate, your expenses during the three-day event will be covered but you will have to finance your own travel to and from Buenos Aires. As a student, you may want to approach your university to ask for sponsorship as I did. Alternatively, you may inquire from your place of work if applicable or from different businesses as part of their corporate social responsibility.
I would truly encourage you to apply if you’re eligible. The SABF is a platform that uses the concept of globalisation to bring people and ideas together and bridge the gap between societies, challenging problems we face as communities and global citizens. You will make friends for life and perhaps friends that you might be able to crash with when you visit another country – which is exactly what I did during the days I spent exploring the city.
For information visit https://www.sabf.org.ar/conference/about and apply, apply, apply!