As a delegate for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, I had the honor to meet the First Lady of Japan, Her Excellency Mrs. Akie Abe. She is one of the most imporant figures in Japan nowadays and a powerful voice for minorities. After greeting her and saying I was from Brazil, she looked at me, gave me a huge smile and just said: "So far away".
Ikhlas Alhussein @ Petra, Jordan
Preparing Global Leaders Academy (PGLA) fellow and now PhD candidate at Nanyan Technological University in Singapore.
Sam Potolicchio @ Amman, Jordan
What a privilege it was to finally meet Dr. Duília de Mello, one of my childhood idols. In Brazil, she is known as the 'Woman of the Stars'. She is currently a dean of the Catholic University of America and a contributor to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Duilia has been awarded the Diaspora Brazil Award, in addition to being considered one of the "10 Women Changing Brazil" by Barnard College and one of the "100 Most Influential People in Brazil" by Época Magazine. She is the author of the book 'Living with the Stars', and her discoveries include the 'Blue Bubbles' and the 1997 Supernova Star. I have known her on the Internet since when I was a teenager when I used to compete in the Brazilian Olympiad on Astronomy and Astronautics Olympiad.
I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Ta-Nehisi Coates about the challenges I face in describing my identity as a Brazilian in the U.S. and how to describe the "diversity" that makes up whom I am to Americans. He was surprised when I told him that despite the diversity aspect that Brazil is famous for, racism is still quite strong in many ways. He ended up mentioning our conversation during his speech at the University of Oregon. At the end of our conversation, he said: "You have to write about it. Continue writing. That's what I do and that's how you'll change people." This is my favorite quote from his book Between the World and Me: “But race is the child of racism, not the father.”
Dr. Judy Kuriansky is a world renowned radio advice host, clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist, popular lecturer, newspaper columnist, and author of many books. She is a pioneer of radio call-in advice, and more recently of Internet adviceAn adjunct professor at the Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University Teachers College and visiting professor of Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, she is a frequent commentator on international media --including CNN -- on various news issues.
Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Tibet and Brazil @ Eugene, OR