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September 3, 2018

Where there is support, there is growth

Every time I experience moments that make me feel like they come only once in a lifetime, I always end up thinking how I could’ve easily missed out on this kind of experience and feel grateful for the way things worked out to create the path that there. This time, if it wasn’t for IPKO Foundation and their support, I could’ve easily missed a workshop that ended up being the highlight of my summer.

MEDS Byblos 2018 was a dream to me. MEDS workshop “Meetings of Design Students” is an international workshop that happens each summer in a different country and helps designers and design student expand their expertise. I got the chance to get in touch with diverse approaches to design, different building techniques, traditions, and skills that all the participants and tutors had to offer there. Together with 250 other participants from more than 40 countries around the world, we succeeded in working on the design and the implementation of 16 projects made specifically for the public spaces of Byblos. Each project had its own touch to the city and it was heartwarming to have people pass by our structures and come to thank us for the beautiful addition we are making to their city.

After three weeks of this amazing experience, I realized that along with the design expertise I gained more than just skills to add on my CV. I talked to people coming from completely different backgrounds and learned from their stories while sharing mine as well. Every participant was present, with their entire energy devoted to sharing moments with each other and learning as much as we could, based off of our similarities and differences. It really felt like we were not defined by our nationalities, nor by the border lines that keep us apart, but rather we became a family and each member had something unique to offer to this ‘wholeness’. It was one of the most beautiful things to witness as a participant in the workshop and as a member of the MEDS family too.

IPKO Foundation is the reason I was able to be a part of a community as beautiful as the MEDS family. It is really inspiring to know that although many obstacles come up on the way when trying to grasp an opportunity, there are foundations like IF that work on making it easier for us to seek growth. Truly thankful to IF’s support and truly enthusiastic for all the other applicants who will get opportunities as such because of IF.

-Hana Gjikolli