Global Citizen: August 2008 Archives

Picture: Guy Calaf / Vanity Fair, Italy

I think a huge part of what motivates me to develop myself as a global citizen is the following: at least one of every two children that is born into the world today lives in conditions that those reading this can't even imagine.  Half the world lives on under $2 a day, and it's a world that people with access to a computer can't hope to relate to. 

It would be a lot easier for me to live in this world if I believed half the world deserved that fate.  It would be a lot easier for me to live in this world everyone in this world has a chance at success.  I know the truth, though.  The truth is success and privilege has more to do with chance than ability.  I've known to many good, hard-working people that have landed on the wrong side of chance to believe otherwise.  Their only sins are the circumstances they were born into.

Nothing illustrates this better than the fate of the half-brother of Barack Obama, who was recently found by a reporter with the Italian edition of Vanity Fair.
Today, my baby girl is a migrant.

She is headed four thousand miles away, and she will be gone a year. We've been preparing for this trip for almost as long, since she first decided she wanted to be a Rotary exchange student. Her decision left me proud and excited for her, and not until my last few days with her did I begin to feel the dread of seeing her leave, knowing I wouldn't see her again for a long time. But my sadness at her leaving is tempered somewhat by the certainty, barring any tragedies, that I will see her again, and by the finite amount of time that she will be away.

My ache at being separated from my daughter is eased by something else, too: by the knowledge that what I am experiencing pales in comparison to what thousands of mothers are going through as their children set off on more perilous, less certain, journeys.