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VOF Week 2: (Walking My Own Path)

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For as long as I can remember, I have felt like I walk through life as an outsider. As if I am navigating my own path, one that few could relate to. This was very difficult as an adolescent. I understood that I was not having a traditional “coming of age” and I had little in common with my peers.

It was not until I started traveling to other parts of the world that I realized that I felt most authentic and true to myself when I was surrounded by people from other cultures. For the first time, I felt enriched by difference. I could finally contextualize my reality as it related to the “other,” but also experience a common sense of “oneness” in our humanity. In other words, I could finally negotiate the notion of difference, while simultaneously connecting with others.

Armed with this new insight, I began taking steps to ensure that travel and cross-cultural exchange were part of both my personal and professional lives. On the professional front, I am dedicated to building a career that incorporates my love for culture and the empowerment of women. I am currently engaging in international human rights advocacy with the Center for Reproductive Rights. We partner with organizations worldwide to secure and advance women’s and girls’ rights to life, liberty and security of person, health, privacy, bodily integrity, sexual autonomy, non-discrimination, education (including sexual and reproductive health education), freedom from torture and cruel and inhumane treatment and freedom from gender-based violence. I feel most connected to my job when I am working on the ground at the grass-roots level. At present, however, I am based out of New York and have less opportunity to travel due to funding cuts and the international economic crisis.

This is where World Pulse comes in. Through the organization’s growing online community, I am able to directly interface with inspiring and diverse women from all walks of life. I can also connect with like-minded people to potentially collaborate with.

I was inspired to apply for World Pulse’s “Voices of the Future” (VOF) program because I love the idea of expressing my passion and interests in a more informal, conversational, creative, non-legal setting. I believe this is where my true voice shines. I am also inspired by the thought of empowering women through communication, as we are too often silenced by society. Moreover, I am drawn to expanding my mind and increasing my Web 2.0 skill-set.

Where does VOF fit in my “life story?” It is yet another modern-day extension of it. As I am avidly devoted to addressing global issues affecting women, World Pulse and VOF enhance my understanding of women’s varying realities and provide me a conduit to connect with those whose also walk a different path.

Thanks, World Pulse.

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misscarly's picture

Dear Jamie, Thanks for the

Dear Jamie,

Thanks for the friend add! I wanted to wait to respond until I had the chance to read your second entry, even though it wasn't on my assigned list of essays to read. Your writing is again clear and something I really connect with! The feeling of being at home among the 'other' has driven me overseas, which is why I am currently in the Netherlands. I came here to a few years ago for my graduate studies and am now working as a researcher at an agency. I'm lucky to be able to expand my knowledge about a lot of different subjects, especially related to social media, as well as encouraging large companies to invest more in corporate social responsibility. But sometimes I wish my passion for human rights was more integrated in my daily tasks. The atmosphere here is great though. There are so many organisations and activists, not only with the Hague, but also because I think the colonial history of the Netherlands has really created an interesting scenario. Historical guilt combined with a very international atmosphere...

What about you? Where have your travels taken you? What were some of the inspirational experiences where you connected with other cultures and people?

with kindness,
carly diaz

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