Bi-Okoto Dance & Drum Theatre
I am on the leadership team of TEDxCincinnati – independently licensed by TED to bring thought-provoking ideas to life with engaging speakers and performers. (If you haven’t heard about TED, I encourage you to visit www.ted.com.) TED Talks can be riveting, courageous, inspirational and world changing. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
Our October 4 TEDxCincinnati “Every Citizen a Diplomat” event is all about stirring the conversation, sparking the spark, moving people to action. It’s all about The POWER of ONE when it comes to being a global influencer. Before the start of the regional Sister Cities conference, we are inviting people in Cincinnati to join us and hear from those who are working to celebrate cultural diversity.
Below is a guest editorial about my involvement with TEDxCincinnati. I first wrote it for my enewsletter and then submitted to the Community Press. (By the way, if you’d like to read more of my thoughts, I encourage you to subscribe to my enewsletter.)
The greatest benefit for me to working with groups like TEDxCincinnati is the inspiration that is passed along by people who are truly passionate about affecting change.
Sponsored by Cincinnati USA Sister Cities and Sister Cities International, TEDxCincinnati will bring thought provoking ideas to life at the National Undergound Railroad Freedom Center with speakers and performers. They’ll share personal stories and talk about the power within each of us to bridge cultural understanding and cooperation, and to build and strengthen relationships in our own communities, our country and around the world.
Our ultimate goal? We want to spark energy, conversation and action. We want to build on Greater Cincinnati’s momentum that we’ve already demonstrated this summer of embracing diverse cultures with openness and appreciation.
When Bob Herring, principal of Nativity School in Pleasant Ridge, told me he believes that in order to move forward, we must begin with the kids in elementary school I could hear his conviction in his voice. He has facilitated 42 student exchanges with 24 school in 18 countries since joining the School in 1984; and the School has been involved with the international ‘Friendship Project’ much longer. Right now actually his school is hosting students from Hungary.
“If we could bring the young people of the world together, they could form those friendships and relationships that would lead to a future we all want. They would learn that stereotypes that they held about other nations and cultures, other traditions and languages were really not true,” he had told the St. Anthony Messenger.
I learned this firsthand when, as an 11-year-old, I was involved with Children’s International Summer Village. It really didn’t seem to matter when I didn’t use the same words to communicate with others from countries I had only seen on a map. The language of smiles and laughter, tears and hugs, hopes and dreams…those are universal.
When people of different cultures, races, religions, ages, and socio-economic backgrounds come together with openness and cooperation it is a beautiful thing. When all of us not just accept but appreciate how diversity strengthens us and strengthens our community, then we all benefit.
I invite you to join us. It is going to be a powerful night. To register, please visit www.TEDxCincinnati.com.
Bob Herring, principal of Nativity School, who since 1984 has facilitated 42 student exchanges with 24 schools in 18 countries
Carlos Reyes, board member of Sister Cities International and president/CEO of Young Americans for Diplomatic Leadership
Jenny M. Buccos, who through ProjectExplorer.org has directed/produced 375 short films viewed by millions of students in 40 countries, is a 2012 White House Champion of Change, and is a 2010 recipient of a National Award for Citizen Diplomacy
David Le, owner of Findlay Market’s popular Pho Lang Thang Vietnamese restaurant, whose Vietnamese parents inspired him to become a successful businessman and advocate for Asian Americans
Michael Cioffi, partner at the international law firm of Blank Rome LLP, who is included in the 2012 edition of “The Best Lawyers in America” and is also the founder of Monteverdi, a collection of 12 buildings in a Tuscany medieval village that hosts guests from around the world.
And also performing at the event will be Bi-Okoto Dance & Drum Theatre and the Young Professionals’ Choral Collective of Cincinnati.