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A World of Opportunity

A World of Opportunity

Furthering Our World Symphony

By Kim D. Bennett


I believe that if mankind could, without losing the essential integrity of individualities, take the best of the unique wisdoms that each culture has to offer and blend these into a trans-societal educational model for human development, we would create a symphony of human growth and improvement of the human condition for all.

Professional and volunteer experiences in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and Eastern Europe, in countries scourged by conflict and poverty, have led me to understand that hope is an essential element to empowerment and self-actualization of individuals and communities, even as food and shelter must first meet primary needs. I see for our best human potential nations of diverse peoples commonly anchored in tolerance– respect for differences even when they do not immediately “fit” with personal perspectives. A world grounded in respect for the beauty of individual and cultural differences will be a world of less violence and more generosity– a world of greater hope. I want to further education supporting global understanding and appreciation of individual and cultural differences.

Professional and volunteer experiences in Western Europe and in the United States have led me to understand that even in apparent prosperity there is poverty of spirit. This manifests in: deficits in trust, compassion and selflessness; excesses in arrogance and greed; and in excess itself. The most dehumanizing aspect of this poverty is the profound isolation that accompanies primal focus on the acquisition of material goods, rather than acquisition of the joy that accompanies connection to creative and meaningful human exchange. I want to work to counter poverty in all of its forms, and to foster realization of the larger symphony of human potential, by contributing to the groundwork that is set in the education of our world’s children.

My goal is to develop and disseminate information in transcultural, comparative and international education, with the aim of empowering children and adult leaders with understanding and appreciation of the beauty of cultural differences, and to facilitate a non-contentious and harmonious “world symphony” of global development.

My first academic pursuits were at Loyola University of Chicago, where I received a B.S. in Psychology. My appreciation for the beauty and value of individual and cultural differences led me to: pursue an M.Ed in Special Education at Loyola Graduate School of Education; to enroll for a semester at Loyola’s Rome Center; to volunteer with Crossroads Africa to build a water cistern in Togo; and to open a center teaching skills of daily living to Laotian Refugees in Uptown, Chicago. I received certification as a teacher in Social Science; however, I was not able to complete the M.Ed program, due to  relocation. I operated a pre-school for five years in a poor area, utilizing special education techniques such as praise and ignore as methods of discipline, resulting in happy children and a pre-school environment that was harmonious and nurturing. Upon relocation, I taught English for one year at a private high school, and was astounded at the lack of international awareness by the teaching staff, and even among a student body largely comprised of children of immigrants. I then entered into a career in contract management and grant writing.

As I became involved in government contracting and grant writing relative to international conflict resolution and civil society building, it became clear to me that responding to global needs for conflict resolution and the extension of global economic opportunity are inexorably intertwined with recognition and appreciation of cultural differences. In 2003, as a civilian participant in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I observed first-hand in Iraq the terrible consequences of failure to plan humanitarian and civil society building interventions cognizant of cultural differences.

Through subsequent experience drafting grants in support of Iraq and non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Nepal, Tibet, Georgia, Macedonia and other conflict-ridden states, I have become concerned that technology has advanced more quickly than global educational systems. In an explosion of previously impossible human connection through the internet, we have become a world like a child whose muscle strength exceeds emotional development. The progression of linkages to even the most remote habitats is multiplying geometrically. With a population of over 1.3 billion, a formerly insular China has now awakened to its surrounds. The Caucuses, Tibet, Nepal, Sudan, pockets in South America– all conflicted and all connected. The impoverished in material goods suddenly “see” the global disparities: A global tidal wave of rage at the disparities looms. Simply “seeing” does not create “understanding”– much less the desire to incorporate the wisdom of other societies with so many apparent differences. Without education to foster understanding, increased aggression stemming from fear, perceived insult and intolerance is the probable outcome; the best of intentions for humanitarian outreach, less than fully fruitful.

I am concerned, too, that as we connect, there is a corresponding increase in individual and communal empowerment. Super-empowered individuals and super-empowered communities are fueled by ability for expression, connectivity and commerce historically impossible. One individual now has the ability to “touch” millions. Education to foster the value and appreciation of individual and cultural differences is critical to grow world children who are super-empowered not only by technology, but socially and emotionally– children who are prepared to contribute positively to the global symphony of human development. Prevention of the injustices and imbalances that result in the need for humanitarian intervention must begin with global education at the K-12 level, in whatever classroom forms a given culture presents.

The consequences of ignorance of cultural differences have been most globally viewed in Iraq, but are existent in conflict-ridden pockets throughout the world. We must learn from our experiences evidencing the consequences of failure to plan interventions that are cognizant of cultural differences. Education of adult leadership of NGO, government, and government contractors is essential to:1) counter the profound consequences of an historic ignorance of the need for cultural understanding, and 2) to bridge gaps in understanding to make future humanitarian and civil society building initiatives more effective for the beneficiaries.

I want to contribute to the education of children and global adult leadership, to foster cross cultural understanding.  I believe that global economic opportunity presents hope for the expansion of those things in our world that are right and good and pure and just.

This blog is dedicated to fostering appreciation of the individual and cultural differences as they contribute to our beautiful world symphony- and to fostering a key source of energy that will sustain it:  global economic opportunity.

“Whatever is right and good and pure and just, think on these things.”