Almost a month ago I arrived to Washington DC to begin my Atlas Corps Fellowship serving at Internews. Before this Program, I had participated in many learning and cultural exchange opportunities, in countries like the UK, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Haiti and even here in the U.S in California. In all those experiences, I met a lot of people and made many friends from different countries, regions, cultures and religions, and my conclusion was always the same: When you travel and open yourself to the world, you will live and learn unexpected and amazing things, and it will make you a more open minded and tolerant person. In other words, you embrace the difference and become a citizen of the world.
However, in the first week of my Atlas Corps Fellowship, my perspective started to change. During the orientation and immersion, I met a bunch of incredible and talented social leaders from all around the world, just to mention a few, some of them are from Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Nigeria, South Korea, Kenya, Cameroon, Egypt, Nepal, and of course fellows from Latin American countries, including Panama, Bolivia, Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua and of course Colombia.
For starters, during the country presentations, I found out that regardless our primary language, religion, or race, we all have many cheerful cultural traditions, that involves music, vivid colors, tons of food and drinks, but most important happy people, that forget their concerns for a while, and surrender to the celebration. Also, we share many food preferences, especially between some African and Latin American countries; but come one, we know that rice is an universal language!
More important, as an Atlas Corps fellows we all believe in the power of social change to transform societies, we all have worked for that. We share a deep interest in the social good and the wish to make the world a better place, starting from our own countries. Also, we all believe that this experience will help us become not only more qualify professionals and leaders, but also better persons, truly change makers.
In just a few weeks, I discovered that our similarities are more than our differences. The desire to share your experiences, background, talents, and our causes with others, is what makes you a real citizen of the world, and that is exactly what the Atlas Corps Fellowship Program offers. To summarize, being an Atlas Corps fellow is being part of a global family that is continuously sharing ideas, designing projects, innovating, and building a better world together. For that reason, I’m honored to be part of this global family. Finally, I can’t agree more when Scott Beale, Atlas Corps Founder and CEO, says that talent is universally distributed, but opportunities are not, for that I feel grateful and proud to have this one lifetime opportunity.