Musings from Montreal by Nathan Masyuko

Nov19

Afroes Conquers the World Summit Youth Awards in Montreal

The WSYA 2012 Collective

After a long, long trip I finally land in Montreal and like clockwork meet with Mxolisi (whom we fondly call Mx around the office) and get a taxi to the apartment we will be staying at. By the way, even though Mx and I had worked together for a couple of years, this was the first time we actually met each other in person. I still find it amazing how the world has evolved, because up till now our work has been done via the internet and VoIP conference calls.

Both of us are visiting Montreal for the first time. We were invited to receive awards from the World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) 2012 for two games that we produced at our company, Afroes Company Ltd. Moraba which was produced out of South Africa, where Mx calls home, and Haki: Shield & Defend which was developed in Kenya, my home country.

The next day, after we manage to catch a few hours’ sleep and settle ourselves, we meet our friend, Masaud who is a resident of Montreal and he takes us on our first, amazing tour of one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited.

In my view, “Montreal is a city you can fall in love with and a city you can fall in love in.” No surprise then that I simply loved it. The buildings’ design with their French and English influences, Old Montreal, the Old Port and the most breathtaking view of the city when you ascend Mount Royal – were all quite incredible. We also got to try a couple of the dishes native to Montreal, like smoked meat and poutine. I’ll be forever grateful to Masaud for his time patience (especially when we did boring stuff like shop) and for sharing the best of Montreal with Mx and I.

Then came the reason we travelled halfway across the world, the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) and WSYA. The WCIT is an impressive showcase of industry leaders, government ministers and speakers who shared their experiences and goals that are setting their countries and companies at the forefront of development.

I even got to meet Larry King and participate on a panel he was moderating with 7 other high profile panelists.

We also had the opportunity to mingle and network with them. But what I will forever take away with me, is the opportunity I had to interact with wonderful young people I met who including Mx and I formed the 18 winners and 12 runner’s up of the World Summit Youth Awards.

I was impressed by the work they are doing in their respective countries and how they are helping to influence the next generation in a positive way. They say that “Social Enterprise” is a new breed of business that is a cross between Non-for-Profit and for-profit business.

So getting to interact with them and share ideas was ultimately what the WSYA stands for. This was a celebration of young people who are developing solutions using mobile and internet to realize the Millennium Development Goals.

I made new, like-minded friends and look forward to changing the world together with them in our different corners of the world.

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