April 24, 2015: I was honored to be the keynote speaker for Change it Forward Tanzania’s benefit dinner. This organization is the American-based fundraising entity for a secondary boarding school near Irigna in central Tanzania.
For much of 2014, I stayed at their school, helping them to get a computer lab and courses off the ground. My speech to this audience summarized my incredible experiences and lessons learned. It was called “A Year of Connections,” and in it I shared about my connecting the Tanzanian students to their American peers by way of email pen-palling, helping connect the area village with electricity, and then myself connecting with the school, staff, and students on a personal level.
March 7, 2016: the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) asked me to present to one of their courses. My presentation is called “What Cultures Today Can Learn From Each Other.” Based on my experiences, I offered five points.
1. There are different degrees of expression between cultures for a given trait (example: femininity/masculinity between China and the US)
2. That concepts can be defined/expressed in different ways (ex: freedom, as it is understood and expressed differently between China and the US)
3. Commonalities in Custom and Thought (ex: two parties for two major ideologies comparable in Tanzania and US)
4. Complements in Custom and Thought (ex: China’s mindfulness & presence compared to the US’s constant pursuit for bigger, faster, more)
5. That the Different Cultural Expressions Reveal the Variety and Breadth of Our Species (ex: a series of shots of people from all over the world)
April 16, 2016: Panelist discussing culture at the University of Minnesota’s Global China Connections Conference. I made points about American culture’s unique lack of depth and how success in the developed world is defined by material and mission-driven measures. Forgive the quiet audio.