Sparks of Awareness, Windows of Opportunity

Long ago, I read an article on the topic of international and intercultural awareness. The title and author’s name escape me but, to paraphrase the most important point, “the important thing is to light sparks that can be fanned into flames later.” He was talking about professionals in international business as global learners and first-time international travelers, but the point was relevant across all ages, topics, and sectors. Our blog, Welcome to Worldly, will stir up glimmers, light sparks, and provide fuel for worldly activity and ambitions.

With a spark up front, in-depth knowledge of another country, culture, or global issue is not necessary to justify exploration. Not at first. No need for memorization of historic events and dates, no detailed reading about customs and cultures, no academic degree. The important first step is lighting the spark, that little thing in the back of one’s mind reminding them to consider perspectives and possibilities, and seek knowledge:

  • “I’m headed to a predominantly Buddhist country, so hmmm – maybe before I leave, I should do some reading about Buddhism, maybe even meet with some Buddhists.”  
  • “I feel like making a difference in the world. Where and how do I begin?”
  • All these worldwide events and issues swirling around! How can I learn more about them?”

Robert Hanvey was a grandfather of “global education” during formative years, and the author of the influential thought piece and framework, An Attainable Global Perspective. Bob also threw a mean Frisbee! He used the term “perspective consciousness” when considering how sparks of awareness get fanned into flames of cross-cultural understanding and windows of worldly opportunity. Information lights the sparks and opens those windows in the first place.  

Over the years, I have enjoyed sharing international resources and opportunities with hundreds of individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions. The reactions are usually predictable and enjoyable. The info recipient usually looks frustrated or confused at first, then says something like “Why didn’t anyone tell me about this before?” Thus the Carpe Global concept, to address information gaps and empower global citizens. Below are just a few examples of global gold – international resources and opportunities – that typically elicit such reactions.  

  • globalEDGE  A comprehensive web portal connecting international business professionals worldwide to a wealth of information, insights, and learning resources on global business activities.
  • The National Essay Contest, sponsored by the American Foreign Service Association. Many high school teachers and students remain unaware of this great program. It is a great opportunity for students and a good teaching resource for educators (English, creative writing, global studies).
  • UNICEF Kid Power  Resources for teaching about the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which becomes more of a trend and more important each year.
  • TakingITGlobal! I have shared this one with amazingly global university students for many years, none of whom knew (had been told) about it previously by any university office or professor.  That is especially unfortunate since it is one of the world’s leading networks of young people learning about, engaging with, and working towards tackling global challenges.”   
  • Young Professionals in Foreign Policy  Ditto the above, university students usually are not told about this organization. Learning about it made some of our young team Associates very happy, especially the ones with academic majors like global studies. Student membership costs only $20. Now they can begin networking and learning about career options, among other things. 
  • Airpano  This one is simply cool and fun, featuring aerial panoramas of beautiful places worldwide.  It’s not hard to imagine Airpano as a teaching tool, or as a handy reference for travelers.  

So much is out there awaiting exploration, pursuit, utilization, sharing. We are excited about lighting sparks, increasing levels of awareness, and opening worldly windows of opportunity in support of more informed and engaged global citizens. Carpe diem! Carpe Global.

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Jay Harris is the Founder and Creative Director of Carpe Global.

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