In large part, my desire to start this organization stems from the experience of traveling to nearly 30 different countries, and living across three different continents. At 27 years old, it has given me plenty to think about! With every trip abroad I am becoming more and more self-aware of those characteristics that reveal my upbringing in United States. Over the years, I’ve had these characteristics pointed out to me, from the way I talk to the issues I am the most passionate about, and I’ve discovered that there are attributes of my country that are both incredibly positive, but also equally insufficient.
Another continuing revelation that has motivated this project are parts of my family history that I have only become aware of in the last few years. One of these is that I am eligible to join the organization Sons of the Revolution, meaning that I am a direct descendent of those who bravely fought in the Revolutionary War. I grew up in Seattle, well aware of the blood, sweat and tears that were necessary to bring many of our family heirlooms over on the Oregon Trail, and now more than ever I feel myself called into the shared endeavor that is the United States of America.
Currently, I am a working towards a Masters degree at American University in Washington, DC. I am a student of International Development, with a focus on Social Entrepreneurship, and am particularly interested in what it means to be a U.S. citizen in the context of the globalized world of the 21st century. When the first waves of settlers to the U.S. emigrated from Europe, and after as they crossed the continent, there was a prevailing understanding that they would never be able to return to their homeland. They left everything behind, exchanging what they knew for a world of unknowns. But with the advent of technology, the planet that we once considered vast has dramatically begun to shrink. Issues abroad directly affect us and vice versa, and their livelihoods are inextricably wrapped up in everything from the clothing we wear, to our computers and our many forms of transportation. Most everyone on the planet is within reach of a simple phone-call or a daylong flight.
The consequence, I believe, is that as we evolve, our view of our own American identities must also evolve, and as traveling has so altered my own paradigm, Developing America is focused on capturing and sharing not just my own experiences but the experiences of other US Millennials abroad. Through this process, our hope is to build a community of people and organizations committed to building a better future for both the United States, and the world as a whole. My personal goal is not about separating myself from the past, but to understand it in its fuller context, and hopefully, in the process we might just be able to create something beautiful.
This site is a work in progress, but please stay tuned as we continue to blog weekly, shoot and develop unique video content, and partner with organizations around the world that are consistently problem-solving some of the most urgent issues we face as a young, developing country.
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Next week’s Blog: The Vision of Developing America.