The First Chapter

Hey lovely readers,

For the next year or so of my life, I’m embarking on a project. I’m going to study historic social change movements and profile current social innovators, with the goal of understanding how lasting change works. Like many of us, I look at the world and see a lot of things wrong with the way it works. I also see a lot of opportunities to do good things, but I don’t know how to tell if these will help to fix it. It’s hard to feel like I’m making a difference when I’m only addressing one problem. If I’m lucky, I will come up with some new knowledge through this venture that can be applied to help create lasting impact across many issues.

The first chapter of this begins in four days, when I will leave for a six-week Arabic immersion program in Rabat, Morocco. Though not directly connected to social innovation, my experience there will leave me with immense improvement in terms of language as well as a deeper understanding of Moroccan culture (and a couple of new friends). The world belongs to everyone in it, and cross-cultural understanding is completely vital in making a difference. You can’t effectively address a fundamental global issue from a purely American perspective. I feel incredibly lucky to have been placed in Morocco, because of its rich history and people-oriented culture. I can’t wait to experience the intermixing of Berber, Arab, and European language and customs, and I hope I gain valuable knowledge about cross-cultural interaction through life there.

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7 thoughts on “The First Chapter

  1. I think this is going to be a wonderful experience for you as well as the people you come in contact with will have a new look on life as an American. I’m sure you will impress lots of residents there. The blog is a good idea so that we can keep up with your tour of duty. If there’s any way that we can be helpful to you, be sure and inform us. Know that there’s lots of love for you coming from the US, Missouri especially.

  2. A wonderful beginning to a new and exciting year. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I know you will impress Rabat and be impressed by it. Safe and outward looking travels.

  3. Mer,
    One of my favorite quotes that I think is related to creating lasting change is from Williams James. “The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.”
    Don’t forget, I’m a sociologist by training and I love talking about the relationship of the individual and society (and I’ve even taken a course on collective action – the stuff that comes before a movement becomes institutionalized). I think this is ANOTHER reason for you to stay with us for a while next year. In the meantime, we want to hear all about Morocco.

  4. I’m sadly not that proficient with technology… especially blogs. I just realized this was your first post. Oh dear me… it’s going to take a while catching up.

    As a quick note, though: you’re such a wonderful person, you know that right? You’re so inspiring and active in the world – you really do question and try to change everything by understanding and growing as a person. Your perception (and I’m not talking about TOK perception here) is so wide-reaching. You really do reach for the skies without any pause. I’m definitely interested in reading about your experiences in Morocco – since I’m all ready to be imparted with your wonderful knowledge and experiences.

    Signing off…

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