After living half my life in Europe and half my life in the U.S., and traveling the world, I find that the same divisive issues we are facing here at home are very similar issues that are dividing people all around the world. We are entering uncharted territory. The world is becoming very small, and the future is unclear and uncertain. We live now in what scholars have called a “condition of globality.” Careers, family life, community activities, and even mental health all depend, to some degree, on our understanding of the astonishing complexities that intertwine all human beings. The ability to “think the world”—its economy, science, technology, politics, and culture—must be a primary aim of all education today.
Now, more than ever, we should teach our children what diversity and inclusion mean, as we will come together more and more, and as borders will be torn down, diversity and inclusion will be the only constant that the future will hold. What does the future look like in a global, diverse and inclusive world? What should our common values be? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves. We should teach the values of sharing and accepting ideas, cultures, and people. We should learn from our mistakes in history, and never repeat those again, when it comes to misunderstanding, conflict, and war. The world needs the next generation to be more tolerant of each other’s views, ideology, and beliefs.
In my humble opinion, I have had an opportunity to interact with and understand different cultures, societies, political, and organizational systems. I was born and raised in a small city, have traveled around the world, have lived half my life on one continent and half on another, have worked with people of all ages, both men and women, with different ethnicities, coming from different backgrounds, different abilities, different disabilities, education and religion. I found out that people are people – it doesn’t matter where you go around the world, we are all the same and want the same things: a better life and a better and fair world with fair opportunities for all, where we can all use our own unique talents to make a contribution to our society.
In order to change the world, we need to start with making a difference in our own communities, in our own circles, and in our own neighborhoods. We will then hope that our work will be noticed by others, and become an example of change for good. If you think you are too small to make a difference in the world remember what Dalai Lama said, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.”
It is ultimately up to us how this era will shape up; it is up to us to make the world a better place for all. We are the architects of our own lives and the world.
I think we will ultimately discover more Abundance, Love, Happiness, and Joy, Knowledge and Wisdom, Fulfillment, Acceptance, Understanding, Kindness, in a world where we are all just citizens – World Citizens. If we live in a world without borders, where we are all aware of our global challenges, resources, talents, opportunities, where we all have the humility of knowing that no human is better than another, regardless of where they were born, we will all be World Citizens. I believe that, somewhere in the future, our world will remember our history to say there once were many different countries, where people had many different citizenships, but will be celebrating the present that will brings us all together in safety, prosperity and equality, where everyone regardless of their geographical location, or ability level they will have the opportunity to be Global Citizens, just one citizenship for all people around the world and use their individual talents to continually make the world a better place for all.
I believe the world under the globalization’s three waves of free transfer of goods, ideas, and people has changed. The world has changed incrementally, to the point that each country is seen by its citizens more like a corporation. I believe, in our global world, where people are attracted by the best companies, to the detriment of the mediocre companies, countries are seen in the same light. Better run countries attract more people, to the detriment of those countries that are not run as well. I believe that immigration, ultimately, tells a very simple story. Countries that lose people during these waves of globalization encounter bad leadership, and countries which attracted immigration had good leadership. Ultimately people are punishing their politicians and bad leadership. If globalization and the free transfer of people happen openly, there might be countries left without people, and hopefully, then their politicians and leaders would finally understand the gravity of their actions.
We live in an ever-changing world; globalization and technology change our lives every day. Now more than ever we need to acquire a unique set of skills in order to understand the challenges and problems that we are dealing with on a daily basis. We need to be able to learn from one another, to be open to one another, to accept one another for which we are as human beings first and foremost, instead of where we are from, what language we speak, what talent and abilities we have.
The number one enemy of CHANGE is FEAR. We live in a world where we either drive disruption, or we are changed by it. We tend to FEAR what we don’t know, so we should place ourselves in situations where we constantly push ourselves out of our comfort zone in order to overcome fear. Our comfort zones keep us safe. Outside of our comfort zones, we become vulnerable, and in our vulnerability, the most amazing self-discoveries and amazing accomplishments happen. Only after you step outside of your comfort zone do you begin to change, grow, and transform.
Our generation loves bragging about being single, cutting people off, and not trusting anyone, like that’s an accomplishment. We are stuck in a generation where loyalty is just a tattoo, love is just a quote, and lying is the new truth. We need, more than ever, creative ideas for human development, for education, for teaching and learning values for the sake of our humankind, so we can continue growing in acceptance of one another. We need to be able to teach children how to think, create, and collaborate in teams – diverse teams composed of people of different backgrounds, races and cultures. We can’t predict anymore what college success will look like 10 years from now – the world and our environment are changing so fast, all we can do is give the children the skills they will need in order to succeed.
President & CEO
Kostopulos Dream Foundation