Was immensely proud and grateful for the opportunity to attend their ‘Pathway To Success’ residential training course this week organised by Operation Black Vote held at the prestigious Magdalen College, Oxford University.
OBV, under the passionate leadership of Sir Simon Woolley, has been instrumental in advancing the interests of the BAME community in Britain. This residential set out an enhanced and intensive 5 day course bringing multiple organisations together for us to build our abilities in elected office present or future. This acrossed multiple areas of our lives- personal, professional and unknown- inspiring us forwards, giving us the tools and selflessly introducing us to those at the very highest caliber in their fields with real experience to learn from. A cross party group of 30 budding politicians from across the country were given this rare opportunities to receive training with the most senior politicians in the land, expert civil servants, the Blavatnik School of Government, personal development trainers, inspiring speakers and experienced campaigners.
We all felt the privilege to learn from the lives of Steven Sylvester, author of ‘Detox your Ego’, Nick Timothy who was right at the very heart of government, we had a frank Q&A with Baroness Warsi and heard from professors and senior experts gaining from the wisdom of their own experiences.
But never in our wildest dreams we thought we would meet the Speaker of the Commons in his personal chambers on the day after he had announced he would stand down at the end of the month after Parliament was brought to a close at the end of a marathon debate until 3.30am . Never would we have had the opportunity to hear from Sir Vince Cable and many other prominent MP’s without OBV. We soaked up the words of Parah Mehta, Public Liasion officer for Barak Obama who had flown over from Amsterdam just to be with us. We listenied intently to Professor Emily Jones on the art of negotiation, Marcus Bell from Whitehall, and we debated in the Oxford Union where so many great debates had happened over the centuries before us.
Most of all we learnt from each other, our own individual passions, heard every one else’s journeys and built friendships and support networks certain to stand the test of time.
The selflessness of OBV never ceases to amaze me generously. They gave us this opportunity, empowering us, opened their contacts, arms of friendship, advice and experience to us without any ulterior motive or self interest. On Friday we all left on our separate ways home with our eyes brighter, roads clearer and purpose refined while united in our common purpose to selflessly serve our communities and others not ourselves in return for their trust in us.