Making Introverted Leaders: Why The Future Looks Bright?

Interview with Ines Lobo Lozano, a WYA Europe intern

un-ines-cpd

A few days ago – just when the buzz about Donald Trump winning the US elections has reached its climax – I had a privilege to have a private talk with Ines Lobo Lozano. A shy and soft-spoken girl with even softer accent from the north of Spain, was waiting for me in the common room of the WYA flat. Few hours before she left the office to work alone in the common room, because “there was simply too much noise in the office”. Her supervisors agreed that she can do that. “She’s doing a great job, but she likes to work on her own and in silence, so we thought we could allow her to do that” said Ewa, WYA Europe’s staff member in charge of the Internship program.

“I was born in Spain, in a very big a family”, she explains to me, “We were six siblings, along with all the abandoned animals that my brothers would bring home when they found them alone on the street.” In her family, they have artists, sportsmen, businessmen, philosophers, engineers and one doctor – “Me”, she adds with a lowered tone. “I think that made me very aware, from an early age, of the richness and uniqueness of the human persons. I always felt loved by many different people and I did love many people. I enjoyed a lot learning from my siblings, asking them for their studies, helping them if they needed… and especially taking care of my little sister.”

She starts telling me the story of her disabled brother. She has a special memory of him. He passed away at the age of 23 and his short life has been for her an inspiration and encouragement to make her life meaningful and fight for the rights of the most vulnerable. “Thanks to him I know that every life is always a precious gift, whose value is not explainable but only recognizable (and admirable!).”

hospital_verdeThen she proceeds: “I am currently in my last year of medicine. I love my career and I wish I could help many people in the future with my profession. I will become a pediatrician because I love children. I have also studied piano. That’s my main hobby. I love music!” She also mentions her boyfriend, who is a physicist and is now preparing himself for becoming a physics teacher. “I have a wonderful boyfriend. He supports me in all these projects and wants to commit himself to promoting values that help people live a better life. He is also a WYA member!”, she adds enthusiastically.

She heard about WYA three years ago, when she met a Spanish WYA member. In that moment, she was very concerned about the new laws against human dignity happening in her country. “It was also the year when my brother passed away and I urgently wanted to do something meaningful. Then, after a few moths with this questions rushing around in my head, was when I met this WYA member, and I immediately realized that was what I had been looking for. I really liked the idea about promoting human dignity in the society, because that is the root of all the problems that were worrying me!”

And the problems that worry her are manifold. One of the most important of them is Women’s Health, which became the main topic of our conversation. The quiet introvert suddenly becomes very passionate and exclaims: “I am very concerned about how women are being manipulated and how some groups are using women’s cause to justify their personal interests. With the excuse of one kind of oppression, they are trying to impose an even worse oppression. If we are not told the truth about ourselves, we will never be free to take our own decisions. I feel that some political groups are taking advantage of us (women), and manipulating our interests to impose things that are harmful to us. Not only for us but for the human race in general. The worst thing is that we are being fooled. And without knowing the truth we will never be free to develop ourselves in accordance with the truth of our beings.”

It was not an easy job for me to grasp all the ideas which suddenly started to come out of this quiet wellspring. Three years ago she contacted WYA office in Brussels, but they told her that there wasn’t any chapter in Spain. “So I started the Certified Training Program online. I enjoyed it so much. I learned the deepest roots of the most important values that must sustain the society. Thus, I was able to talk about the things that worried me in a well-founded way”, she continues her story.

un-cpd49Ines at the 49th Commission on Population and Development in the UN

But the story doesn’t stop here. A few months after finishing the Training Program she participated in the Youth Voices at the UN program and had the opportunity to join WYA team for the 49th session of the Commission on Population and Development.

“What I like the most about WYA is its universality; the fact that we are many different people united for the same cause. Human dignity is still a mystery that we don’t really know how to explain what we all now it is there, and it is worth fighting for.” When I asked her how does she plan to fight for human dignity, she says she wouldn’t invent anything, but she would just get more involved with things that already exist.

“I like FEMM, for example, I would like to support this program as far as possible. Also, I would like to start a WYA chapter in Spain. It’s such a pity that there isn’t one yet. And also, I think it’s very important to live out WYA’s values in our lives. It’s not very easy to explain the truth by theoretical talks and get people to understand it, but it’s very easy to recognize the truth and the good when you see it.”

Apparently, she saw the truth and good and recognized it in WYA. She read about the internship on the webpage and decided to apply in order to learn more about these topics, and being able to start something with WYA in Spain. “So far, I have learned so many things; I have deepened my knowledge about human dignity and all WYA’s values and have acquired many professional skills that for sure will help me a lot in the future”. And the future looks bright.

WYA Europe Director Hrvoje Vargić told us that he counts on her being one the new leaders of WYA Spain. He sees the potential in her. “I also have a sympathy for this kind of introverted leaders. They don’t talk much, but when they do, you can see that the quiet life inside of them is full of ideas and meaningful plans”, he assures us.

Hrvoje tells us that in the future he would like to help her wish to come true. And that wish is to form a family founded on the concepts of human dignity and freedom, and based on the values of solidarity, trust, responsibility. “I’ll try to live my life according to this vision of the human person that WYA promotes, involve in activities promoting human dignity and explain the truth to the people around me every time I can.”

And WYA is very happy to have persons like this in its community. Future indeed looks bright.

Written by Timo van Meertens, a freelance journalist and occasional contributor to the WYA blog.