Imagine the thunderous claps and cheers of the audience as dancers, singers, athletes and artists own the stage with the beats of their feet, and the graceful arcs of their shots into the basketball hoop. This is what many TKN volunteers from around the world are thinking about and looking forward to experiencing at the Global Encounters Festival in 2024.

For many years, Global Encounters’ flagship international initiatives have been led and supported by exceptional volunteers who have offered Time and Knowledge Nazrana. In addition to the Global Encounters Festival 2024 that will feature the Jubilee Games and Jubilee Arts, the Global Encounters Youth Camps and Internships continue to thrive. A new Talent Institute and upcoming Heritage Journeys are also being driven by volunteers under the new Global Encounters Institution. These volunteers bring their passion and expertise from a diverse range of professional backgrounds to ensure that the level of excellence remains high. There are many opportunities to serve in the global programmes, including some of the following:

  • The Youth Leadership and Talent Institute initiatives aim to identify, develop, and promote world-class talent in sports, arts, education, and youth leadership. The goal is to engage this talent to contribute to the development of the Jamat and the communities in which we live. Experienced coaches, teachers, mentors, and artists will find joy and hope through service opportunities.
  • The Heritage Journeys and Global Encounters Festival teams are creating distinct opportunities for the Jamat to experience first-hand the cultural diversity of our Ismaili community and our history and heritage and bring arts and sports to the centre stage.
  • There are many other areas of work that require TKN volunteers with expertise in technology, human resources, marketing and communications, operations, and administration, to name a few skills set requirements.

The introduction of the new Global Encounters institution offers a unique opportunity for TKN and other volunteers to contribute their expertise. It enables individuals to apply their much-needed experience, skills, and talents, and helps volunteers build friendships from all corners of the world.

Through service, volunteers are united and connected to the community and feel uplifted by the meaningful work they are doing. Volunteerism is an embedded ethic in our faith as Ismaili Muslims. Mawlana Hazar Imam, in the below extract from his address to the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, Canada on 27th February 2014, recognised the critical role played by volunteers and specifically mentioned the TKN launch during his Golden Jubilee commemoration:

“I have been impressed by recent studies showing the activity of voluntary institutions and not-for-profit organisations in Canada to be among the highest in the world. This Canadian spirit resonates with a cherished principle in Shia Ismaili culture — the importance of contributing one’s individual energies on a voluntary basis to improving the lives of others. This is not a matter of philanthropy, but rather of self-fulfillment — “enlightened self-fulfillment.

During my Golden Jubilee — and this is important — six years ago Ismailis from around the world volunteered their gifts, not only of wealth, but most notably of time and knowledge, in support of our work. We established a Time and Knowledge framework, a structured process for engaging an immense pool of expertise involving tens of thousands of volunteers. Many of them traveled to developing countries as part of this outpouring of service… Their impact has been enormous in helping us to achieve best practice standards in our institutions and programmes."

Sabriya Karim, a TKN volunteer who has applied her time, knowledge, and skills across the Global Encounters organisation, as well as many of its flagship initiatives, expresses that "Global Encounters is an extraordinary organisation that brings together passionate individuals to transform and elevate the lives of the global Jamat. Through my TKN with GE, I have had the privilege of interacting with hundreds of global volunteers with the most diverse backgrounds imaginable, who have also been the most dedicated, talented, energetic, and humble group of people I've ever met. I feel as though I have gained more than I have given. I would highly encourage anyone and everyone to volunteer with Global Encounters as all GE volunteers, regardless of role, will contribute to making a difference in the lives of the global Jamat, while making lifelong friendships along the way."

The Global Encounters initiatives are merely the beginning of a long-term vision to advance the communities in which we live. The fulfilment and gratitude Global Encounters volunteers and staff have expressed about working with this institution since its inception is indeed inspiring. These volunteers are making a massive difference. The impact of Global Encounters programmes is due to the deep commitment and vast capabilities of the TKN and other volunteers in the global Jamat, and their shared desire to advance excellence and remain as one global family despite the borders that separate us.