The View From The Middle Seat
The Commonwealth

QCT on the Road: The View From The Middle Seat

By Nicola Brentnall, QCT Chief Executive

Tuesday, September 18th saw my colleagues and I working with the Board on key opportunities opening for The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, not least on focus and priorities, on diversity and including young people's voices at every step and at every level in the organisation. Lots going on and loads to do. All good.

I then went to Heathrow, to board a flight to Kenya to start a visit to three countries to see young people's leadership in action. My mind fizzing with the packed programme ahead and the possibilities for learning, sharing and building our network that the visit presents.

When it comes to planes, I have to admit I am a window seat woman - attached like a limpet to the corner, out of the way spot. On the plane, to my dismay, I found myself wedged in the middle seat in the middle row of seats, windows a long way away. I mentally adopted the brace position and sat down.

All around me, in the middle block, sat really lovely people. A big and diverse group, from many places around the world, settling in to the flight and keen to smile and say hello. Tom, my travel buddy, and I, found ourselves talking at length to guy from Kenya, who had lots of cheerful advice for us about his homeland - how friendly people are there. And to the front and rear of us were people just the same. Suddenly, the middle seat in the middle seats did not seem so bad at all. In fact, it was a great spot, people all around us setting off on odysseys of their own. All of us brought together by chance on this airplane, one cool September night in London.

As I sat there I thought ahead to all the encounters yet to come on our trip and all that lies ahead. From visits to prisoners in maximum security facilities, to young women in the remote Zambian communities we are to visit. All leaders in different circumstances, drawn together by the shared desire to help others and to share time with each other and us.

This is the power of human connection, compassion and a desire to talk and share.

Suddenly, the view from the middle looked just fine.


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