On connecting with others or a thank you to my friends

For as long as I can remember, I have felt a great connection to others, I love socialising, I prefer to work as part of a team rather than on my own, I love the intimacy of a couple, lunches with friends that go well into the night, long conversations and, when I travel, what I enjoy most is meeting local people and seeing the world through their eyes.

Over the last few months, weeks and even today, I have received so much love and affection from my friends, they have shown me time and time again, each in their own way, how much they love and appreciate me and that, for me, is priceless. And their love reminds me of one of our most basic needs as human beings: to be loved. If they didn’t think I was a fool, I would include in all the strategies and action plans I write for institutions the objective “to love all children, without discrimination of any kind”; and I would even include progress indicators. A few years ago I came close: I was invited to take part in the review of UNICEF UK’s “Child Friendly Cities and communities” programme and one of the badges (or priority areas) that had been identified was “flourishing”. When I saw this, I could not hide my excitement and my British colleagues asked me to just go for it and for the first time in my life, I was able to write results in a strategic document that had to do with self-esteem, self-confidence, dignity and connecting with others.

There is something invisible that unites us and that is difficult to put into words – although poets keep trying – love, in all its forms. Love connects us to others, makes us want to be a better version of ourselves, elevates us. I feel enormous gratitude to the friends I’ve made along the way, those who have been with me for decades, those who have come and gone and those who have just arrived. I’m very lucky to have you in my life and I hope to give you back at least some of what you’ve given me.