Lessons on History: What Brought me to WYA

I was exposed to studying history during my Social Studies classes ever since I was in early grade school. We would talk about people, events, places, and even visit museums. With this, my love for history developed, resulting in my excellence in the subject which then made me pursue humanities in college.

My love for history also allowed me to participate in different organizations and pursue extra-curricular activities. Most importantly, this love for history brought me to World Youth Alliance. After being introduced to the organization, I decided to take up the Certified Training Program and this made me understand fully the importance of history in relation to human dignity.

Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

From readings that talk about freedom (Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela) and solidarity (The Solidarity Decade by Norman Davies), I was able to relate how man’s actions shape history. Ever since the dawn of humanity, man has been using his free will and intellect in order to create progress in the development of civilization through his thoughts and actions. This is manifested through his contributions– his inventions, writings, and discoveries. Aside from this, how we perceive man also becomes the sole basis of every decision that we make. How we treat a single person affects the society as a whole. Laws were created to protect man and ultimately, protect his dignity.

Because of the readings, I was able to clearly see that how we promote and protect one’s dignity ultimately shapes history. More than just a core subject that may or may not be too hard for us in school, history allows us to have  a better understanding of the world. History shows us how societies and systems looked like before so that we can better understand how things are now.

If we only try to learn more about history, using our hearts as well as our minds, it won’t be too overwhelming to “study” for it would feel like you’re just encountering people from books. I know it’s a cliche, but the saying today’s news is tomorrow’s history rings true even up until today. The things we do and the decisions we make (or are making right now) will be considered history tomorrow. With the pandemic halting a lot of things we’ve always wanted to do, how we respond to the situation will be part of the future generation’s history classes.

And so I ask this question— how can we best shape history in a way that protects and promotes one’s dignity?

Published: September 16, 2020
Written by: Antonio Ivan Beley, a WYA Asia Pacific Regional Intern