Empowering individuals for a transformed world: Tawakkol Karman's speech at MSMilan2023

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights advocate, Tawakkol Karman, delivered an inspiring speech at the MSMilan2023 conference, the 9th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting held at Allianz MiCo in Milan from October 11 to 13.

In her address, she emphasized the significance of regulating international relations, human rights, education, global trade, and the economy in a systemic manner. This approach aims to prevent destructive conflicts, safeguard the environment, protect the interests of impoverished nations, and establish legal consequences for harming nature.
Karman further expressed that the world's transformation begins internally, driven by individuals who possess their own destinies and wills, rather than relying solely on external factors. She highlighted the lessons from history, affirming that it is the human will, desire for change, and ability to choose that shape the world we live in. The activist stressed the importance of recognizing this truth and reaffirming it to effect change in our reality and the world at large.
Continuing her speech, Karman drew attention to the prevailing systems, institutions, states, and political structures that have historically aimed to control people's thoughts and manipulate outcomes. She criticized the culture propagated by these entities, which seeks to control thinking processes and suppress individuals' wills in an effort to shape the course of history.
Karman emphasized that any endeavor to liberate and transform our reality for the better, aligned with the majority's desires and interests, must begin by freeing individuals' wills from alienation and distortions. Restoring the active self within each person, the will that can achieve remarkable feats and turn the seemingly impossible into reality, is crucial.
Tawakkol Karman's thought-provoking words underscored the importance of individual agency and the need to challenge oppressive systems. Her call to liberate the will and reclaim control over our destinies resonated as a powerful message, urging individuals to strive for a better world that meets the aspirations and interests of society as a whole.
Below is the speech text:
As I commence my speech, I am thrilled to be present among you today, engaging in a distinguished event that explores the advancements in neuroscience, specifically focusing on neuro resilience, and intertwines this scientific progress with the discourse on transformative leadership and our contemporary world, defined by an overwhelming influx of information and ongoing cognitive evolution. The interchange of thoughts and perspectives between science enthusiasts, activists, and community and civil leaders holds immense value, as it facilitates the exchange of knowledge, broadens our societal understanding, and empowers us to effect meaningful changes across all dimensions of our systems and lives.
I extend my heartfelt greetings to everyone present, with a special recognition bestowed upon the international neurologists and multiple sclerosis (MS) specialists who have traveled from various corners of the world to participate in this conference.  The development of science and the wisdom of ancient sages and philosophers both teach us the universal law of change and mutual interaction, exemplified by the revolutionary concept of neuro resilience in neuroscience, reminding us that all systems are interconnected, and no action affects a recipient without reciprocal influence from the other party.
The influence of an individual's thoughts and choices on their brain's functioning highlights the significance of harnessing this power to drive change in our educational, political, economic, and societal systems as a whole, a crucial understanding for today's leaders. It is essential to recognize that truth and transformative action do not simply flow from one party to a passive recipient, but rather necessitate the empowerment and enrichment of individuals, enabling them to actively engage, contribute, and shape interactive and democratic societies capable of incorporating public decisions with genuine and positive popular participation. I see that as individuals, companies, societal groups, and civil society, we are all faced with the duty of developing our efforts to equip our communities with knowledge of all the difficulties and problems they confront.
By considering the interaction of the healthcare system with the environment and the natural world, a clear differentiation arises between two schools of thought and lifestyles: one characterized by a mindset that neglects the environment, contradicts nature, and disregards the ecosystem, and the other embodying a biological approach that aims to harmonize with, integrate into, and preserve the natural ecosystem instead of causing its destruction.
Life embodies a creative and intricate process characterized by complexity, self-organization, and interconnected systems, where every element exerts influence and is influenced by others. All entities existing are dynamic systems perpetually in motion and transformation. Pollution and environmental degradation manifest when the reverence for nature and its inherent harmony is disregarded, neglecting the imperative of integrating with it. With each passing day, our understanding of knowledge expands to encompass the integration between human societies and the surrounding natural world. This emerging perspective redefines health as a state of natural equilibrium attained by acknowledging our interdependence with the environment, embracing integration rather than destruction, and living in harmony with it.
A global network has emerged, encompassing civil organizations, human rights advocates, environmental defenders, and political movements united by a common vision to halt the destruction of the natural system and reshape our lives in harmony with the ecosystem, rather than as adversaries engaged in conflict against it. This unified trend transcends continents and nationalities, fostering shared perspectives on climate and the environment, while aiming to integrate our lives with the surrounding ecosystem, rejecting its destruction and forging alliances to achieve these goals.
The global trend encompasses the fight for human rights, democracy, justice, and women's rights, while also emphasizing the significance of integrating human systems with the natural ecosystem. Environmental and economic stability, as well as the health system, should align with the perspective of nature and climate. The foundation of life, from its origin, relied on the interplay between humans, trees, animals, and plants. Our present efforts are centered around this complementary viewpoint, aiming to gradually attain the harmony that is currently absent in our lifestyles.
With bodies that have evolved over millions of years, capable of self-regulation and maintaining health, imperfections arise when nutrition, exercise, and diet are neglected, leading to issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease; thus, embracing a new perspective on environmental health becomes crucial, emphasizing the essential integration between human activities and nature, a vision indispensable for the survival and sustainability of our world.
In today's world, human societies require, more than ever before, the need to design our ways of life based on the integration between human life and the environment surrounding it, including the healthcare system, business, economy, education, trade, and industry. The objective is to establish a design that harmonizes with nature, reduces harmful interference, and safeguards the inherent capacities of nature that support and maintain life. This integration is now widely recognized as an essential requirement rather than an expendable luxury.
Anticipating the establishment of new frameworks for international relations, human rights, education, and global trade and economic regulation, we envision a systemic design aimed at preventing destructive conflicts, safeguarding environmental well-being, protecting the interests of impoverished nations, preserving nature, and prohibiting and penalizing harm inflicted upon it.
In an age defined by the widespread dissemination of information and continuous connectivity, the frontiers of human comprehension have been extended beyond previous boundaries. The overwhelming surge of accessible knowledge has fundamentally reshaped our engagement with the world, presenting us with a colossal volume and variety of information that perpetuates an ever-growing array of questions. We find ourselves navigating a realm where the sheer inundation of information disrupts the clarity of vision for countless individuals, impeding their capacity to discern and select amidst the vast array of available knowledge.
In a world where truth becomes entangled with lies, the pervasive presence of deception and false information has led to a distorted vision. Deceptive tactics, aimed at obscuring facts and undermining the public's ability to discern and recognize manipulation, have profound implications. These challenges serve as a stark reminder that, as we navigate this age of abundant information, we must confront the inherent confusion that accompanies it. Standing on shifting sands, we find ourselves lacking steadfast points of reference in our pursuit of comprehension.
In the face of an overwhelming flow of information, it is paramount to empower recipients with the responsibility and ability to select, categorize, and discern their needs from the vast array of daily information. This entails acquiring the knowledge to differentiate between truth and falsehood, while acknowledging their active role and influence in the equation. Nevertheless, the incessant strain imposed on human minds, constantly tied to screens without respite, may contribute to the surge of neurological disorders and a dearth of contemplation and connection with nature. In this digital era, individuals encounter a substantial challenge in effectively navigating and mitigating the impact of falsehoods and deceptive information. Prioritizing the enhancement of people's capabilities to cope with the massive flow of information is crucial, as it significantly impacts knowledge distortion across all aspects of life, including issues, events, and diseases.
The scientific advancements in neuro resilience and the profound influence of individuals' thinking on their neuroplastic brains, consequently affecting neurological diseases, herald a paradigm shift in pathology and the traditional understanding of illness. Successfully integrating this scientific progress into patients' lives and public knowledge necessitates challenging prevailing notions that solely rely on external sources such as doctors, treatments, and pre-established prescriptions for recovery. This neuroscientific development calls for a revolution of awareness among patients and the general public. The overwhelming influx of information further exacerbates the dissemination of conflicting ideas and fragments people's understanding of diseases, paralleling the disarray and confusion it creates in public knowledge across all issues.
From here, we find ourselves with you as a specialized scientific field in neuroscience and neuro resilience, united in our goal to advance knowledge by looking for the most effective ways to manage the flow of information and improve people's ability to handle the deluge of information in front of them. What was once viewed as a luxury is now a necessity. The state of contemporary human cognition is one of complete disarray and explosive proliferation. The realm of knowledge has expanded to a never-before-seen degree, far exceeding our comprehension of it and our capacity for cognition.
The capacity for great understanding and enlightenment also exists within this apparent disarray. The confusion and disruption brought on by the plethora of information can be viewed as an opportunity to investigate, learn, and reevaluate how we perceive the world. It pushes us to accept adaptability and change as fundamental aspects of the human experience.
The world undergoes transformation starting from within us, as active individuals who hold the power over our own destiny and will. Throughout history, the events and lessons affirm this fundamental truth: that it is through our will, desire for change, and ability to make choices that we shape our world. The world we encounter is a reflection of the kind of world we envision and strive to achieve, driven by our own will and determination.
In order to bring about change in our reality and shape the world we desire, it is crucial to acknowledge and reaffirm this truth. The systems, institutions, states, and political structures that govern our countries and societies have historically relied on a culture that suppresses and manipulates the means and outcomes of thought, aiming to control the direction of history by manipulating people's minds and eroding their willpower.
To bring about positive change in our reality and the world, which aligns with the desires and interests of the majority, and unlocks their full potential, it is essential to start by freeing individuals' will from alienation and distortion. This entails rediscovering the active self within each of us, a will that holds the remarkable ability to achieve extraordinary feats and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It is within this realm that we can discover the solutions we seek, even if they frequently lie beyond our immediate control.
Within us resides the entire universe. What lies above in the sky is also within us. Anything that restricts us or obscures the secret of our greatness and strength is foreign to our true nature. "Go away, you murderer." These were the words spoken by a Yemeni mother whose son fell victim to the oppressive regime of Yemen's dictator, Saleh. In that sentence, she encapsulated the indomitable will that remained unbroken, even in the face of her son's martyrdom. As she stared into the camera lenses in 2011, she embodied authority, while those who had robbed her son of his life and extinguished his soul with treacherous bullets became insignificant. Similar stories of victims and their loved ones exist throughout Yemen and various other Arab countries that witnessed peaceful popular revolutions.
The incident I recounted stands as a poignant example from our own collective experiences, illustrating the profound expression of will, adaptability, and transformative change in a specific realm: revolution. In the face of pain and sadness, it is within the turning of these pages that the unwavering resolve for change manifests itself, not only in the intricate details of our daily lives but also in the broader dimensions of our societal interactions and our perspectives on the world around us. A will imbued with a fervent belief in freedom, justice, and human dignity is deserving of victory, endurance, and lasting impact.
Individually, we possess an inherent power within us. It takes a will and strength greater than that required for war, violence, destruction, control, and selfish interests, which unfortunately pervade our world, societies, and countries. The liberation of humanity commences from within, from one's own will and innate power. To initiate change in the world, we must first become aware of our lives and our reality, recognizing what we truly deserve as human beings. We must awaken our dormant will, harnessing it as the driving force to transform both our individual lives and the world around us for the better.
When an individual comprehends the magnitude of the enormous power within them, they cease to be a victim, even if events defeat and overpower them. This insistence on life and the ability to shape it according to our desires is found daily in eyes that shine with power in all corners of the earth. Amidst wars and destruction, there are strong human beings who suffer, die, and get wounded. Yet, a significant number of them are self-aware, and the day will come when the burning determination in their eyes and the embers ignited in their chests will transform into a better reality and a life free from murderers and criminals.
In our societies, within the bustling cities filled with strife, oppression, and impoverishment, there exist individuals who possess an unwavering determination to fight for a life of dignity. Their resolve grows stronger each time they confront oppressive forces and exploitative interests. It is this profound awareness and inner strength that will eventually give rise to equitable laws that dismantle injustice, brutality, and oppression.
Throughout the history of humanity, the free will of the individual has played a pivotal role in shaping our world. It is this inherent power that has sparked revolutions, fueled intellectual pursuits, and propelled civilizations forward. The indomitable spirit of individuals, driven by their free will, consciousness, and innate strength, has been the driving force behind transformative shifts, paradigm-shifting philosophies, advancements in knowledge and sciences, and the rise of great civilizations and cities. 
From the inception of groundbreaking theories to the exploration of uncharted territories, it is the unwavering determination and creative vision of individuals that have paved the way for scientific discoveries, technological advancements, and societal progress. Every significant achievement we celebrate today, be it reaching the moon, harnessing electricity, or shaping our interconnected world, can be traced back to the initial spark of an idea within the mind of an individual, fueled by their resolute will to turn that idea into reality.
Each uttered word and every endeavor we undertake contributes to the collective determination for progress towards an improved global society. Let us come together, uniting as fellow human beings from diverse nations, religions, and cultures, to express our shared conviction in the pursuit of a superior world characterized by peace, compassion, unity, cooperation, support, interconnectedness, fairness, and security. These principles form the foundation of a shared existence for all individuals. In contrast, injustice, violence, eradication, oppression, and devastation possess restricted influence and encounter insurmountable barriers.
Concluding my remarks, I extend my heartfelt greetings to all present, emphasizing that these groundbreaking developments in science, including the field of neuro resilience, are actively shaping our world, penetrating our lives and leaving a profound impact, and I sincerely appreciate your presence here and attentive listening. Peace be upon you!

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