This afternoon our honors class had the opportunity to listen to yet another wonderful speaker at the noon convocation. Anil Singh- Morales was the speaker, he is the visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He had spoke in our class this past Monday night and I was anxious to get to hear more about him. He told us about his vast multicultural background: Spanish mother, Indian father, born in Holland, lived in London and Belgium, father was Hindu... the list is quite extensive. When speaking of his experience growing up in Belgium he said that he and his brothers, "did but didn't fit in." He also spoke of the many interesting life experiences he has had. He was a translator, went to school for the hard sciences, dropped out and went to Harvard, he was a journalist, he worked at Microsoft for a few years and pitched an idea to Bill Gates that started the Strategic Partner Program, but had to leave because he was "bored." He also served as a Monk apprentice, was a stay at home dad and had now founded is own company and non profit organizations. Because of his multicultural background he was able to use it to his advantage in furthering his career by traveling to France, Spain, Japan and understanding that in order to understand how they work we must try and understand and appreciate their culture. A favorite quote that he shared when discussing how he used all the money he made working for Microsoft was that, "you need to give back as much as you are taking or getting." And that is exactly what he has done.
At the end, Anil made a connection to the book of the year, The Middle of Everywhere, and spoke of how immigrants are welcomed/ unwelcomed into America. I really liked his analogy that it was a two-way street, we each have to do our share. It was so interesting to hear about all of the places he had been and how cultured he was, it's all very new to me still because as far as culture goes I am very basic. I'm a white American with almost 100% Norwegian background, who had had almost no interaction with other cultures until coming to Concordia. The way he spoke about traveling makes me want to travel abroad with such a great passion. I really hope I get to.
I really enjoyed the convocation. By the end of today I felt like Anil and I were bff because I heard him speak about 4 times; twice on Monday and twice today (he came to my intercultural communications class). I am not complaining about it one bit though. He is a really great speaker and he has truly lived his life to the fullest, in my opinion. He was really full of great motivational and inspirational advice as well. He said that we all bring something special from our background, and that was really neat to hear because it is so true. Everyone has had different experiences with different people and different places that makes each one of us special and unique. He told us to do as many things as you can, as well as you can, and to not let your education limit you; you can do anything if you want to. In my communications class he stressed one point that I think everyone should try and follow... do what makes YOU happy. To him, that was most important and I think it is a really great statement to live by.