The importance of cultivating a global mindset | Nia Lyte | TEDxKyoto


Translator: Kayoko Shiomi
Reviewer: Denise RQ Hello, hola, konnichiwa. We may speak different languages,
but we’re all one – one human race, no matter what color, gender, denomination,
social class, or culture we are. We’re all connected
by an invisible thread of peace and love. This unseen link unites us
when a natural disaster strikes. We go beyond our borders, heart to heart, to help the victims and those in need. How do we know
this thread actually exists? Because knowing comes from living, and realizing comes from experiences. These two elements combined together can help you cultivate
a global citizen mindset. I was born in Bogota, Colombia. I attended a private
British International School, so, at a very early age,
I was exposed to students from the United States, Europe,
Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Knowing them ignited my curiosity about other countries in the world. My parents actually insisted
in me traveling with them to many countries as a way
to bolster my education. I learned about multicultural awareness, observing commonalities
and accepting differences. This was the foundation
for my global citizen mindset. Traveling is a splendid way
and a complement to education. In the 90s, Colombia was actually considered one of the top violent countries
in the world. Many Colombians were kidnapped
and fell victims of a civil war between the government,
the paramilitaries, the guerrillas, and the drug lords. I’ve never spoken
about this before, in public, until today, for the first time: my family and I were held hostage;
I was one of those kidnapped victims. We were held hostage
at gunpoint, for ransom, for 24 hours, with no food or water. After this, we endured many years
of blackmailing and extortion, living every day in fear, having many bodyguards
to protect our lives. So, why talk about this today? Because by getting it out into the open and transforming it
into a positive experience, I can inspire others who have been
in similar situations. Life is giving us second chances, and every country
has a second chance as well. Plus, I have the wonderful support
of my Japanese husband, my Colombian and Japanese families,
and my Colombian friends. As you can see, we had
a Japanese wedding ceremony with kimonos, here in Japan. After this treachery was resolved,
for safety and security, my parents sent me
to the United States of America. Alone in the plane, crying my eyes out, I realized I may never see
my family again, and I may never return to my home country. But I didn’t wallow
in the victim’s self-pity mentality. Instead, I didn’t let those experiences
blind my eyes and harden my heart and not see the inner beauty
that every human being has. When you build and cultivate
a global citizen mindset, you break down stereotypes. So, I used these experiences
to my advantage, and I established myself as a news, fashion, art,
and music Latino television host. I also won
a Miss Hispania beauty contest in the Deep South of America. When you cultivate
a global citizen mindset, you realize that it is very important to actually teach people to break down all these stereotypes
because we don’t need them; we are all one, connected,
in a shared world. No matter how much you think
that you’re accepting of other people’s
stereotypes and cultures, you will always have to deal
with your own stereotypes and another people’s perceptions
about your own culture. But when you’re open to the world, you see this as an opportunity to actually change people’s
perceptions about your own culture. It’s a wonderful way to actually inspire
others around the world to be one. So, now I live in LA, one of the most diverse cities
in the entire world with people from 150 countries
who speak 86 different languages. In my work there, as a television host,
I get to meet a lot of people. I produce comic books, TV shows,
video games, animations, and manga. But when I meet them and work with them, I try not to judge them by their origin, or culture,
or language, or status. I strive to treat everybody
the same and as an equal because we all deserve an opportunity. In life, many challenges will come, and when they do,
we have to have a positive outlook. So, in 2008, my husband and I
founded a non-profit organization, called KIF,
Koyamada International Foundation. We did it to empower children,
the youth, and women around the world and to give back
to the world’s communities that shaped me into the woman
of the world I am today. In 2011, when the tsunami hit
the Tohoku region, we actually contacted
all our friends in Hollywood, and we asked them to support us
in a series of fundraisers to help the victims in Japan. As you can see, we were able to send
a 20-foot container with essential needs such as food, water, disposable diapers for babies, blankets, and emotional letters written
by Los Angeles children who wrote them to give hope
to the Japanese victims. We’ve also done a series of fundraisers
to help the victims of Alabama who were struck by a series of tornadoes. Every year, we feed, clothe, and give toys to the homeless people
and the homeless children in Los Angeles, California. These are children
who are actually living on the streets with their homeless parents. They hide, but somehow, they come out
when we do this volunteer work. They have also lost all their toys. Recently, we were able to send
reliefs and funds to Nepal and Ecuador to help the victims
of the earthquakes there. It was very beautiful,
as you can see in the pictures, when we secured lunches for them, and the kids who were affected could eat every single day
and had food in their tummies. When you work together,
and you collaborate with them, – like we did: collaborating
with the locals in Nepal – you are able to reach more people,
to help more people by teaming up. So, we recently opened a KIF Nepal office. When your intention, in your heart,
is to help sincerely people and to make a positive impact
in the world, you never know
what opportunities may arise and where these opportunities may lead. In 2012, I was appointed
by an NGO, for the United Nations, as a Goodwill Ambassador for Peace. Since then, I’ve been traveling
around the world talking about peace. Since I lived
the first 19 years of my life in a country torn by a civil war, talking about peace
became very personal to me. I’m very passionate about it, but it also came along with a sense that something was missing. And I wanted that; and then, it happened. Fourteen years
after fleeing Colombia, I returned. I was paralyzed by fear in the airplane. But as I landed, I gathered
my inner strength to be able to face my fears. Then I spent quite a lot of time
in Colombia, and I traveled very safely
throughout the country. And I was shocked. Colombia has changed. I have changed. All the houses made of garbage
were gone in the city, all the beggar children
at each traffic light were no longer there. I was so surprised to see so many
Japanese and American companies. And for the first time, I saw my mother
walking alone to the supermarket, safely. I had forgotten how delicious
the Colombian coffee was. I drank it every single day. To my surprise, I also learned that the government had started to work
on a peace agreement with the rebels to end a 50-year civil war
for all Colombians. My heart was filled
with hope and happiness for the future of my country. I also realized that in 2016, Colombia was named
the happiest country in the world in a survey conducted
by the Gallup International Organization. And President Santos
has just won the Nobel Peace Prize. (Applause) Thank you. These inspired me so much that I started to travel
throughout Colombia lecturing to young students on the importance of cultivating
a global citizen mindset. A new generation of Colombians will rise, and they will have an open heart
and [express] forgiveness. They will look at the war
as part of their past, and they will work together
to build a peaceful nation. No matter what other countries
have been through, they have gotten a second chance; living outside of Colombia and looking at my country
from my US perspective made me realize how fortunate I was
to be born and raised there. This is my beautiful Colombia.
I’m very proud to be Colombian. So how can you actually start cultivating a global citizen mindset? Learn to respect other cultures. Help your friends and inspire them
to cultivate this mindset as well. You can start by reading
books and magazines, by watching movies and documentaries
about other countries. Travel every time you get the chance. Learn a foreign language
and interact with local people. Eat their food,
understand their traditions, acknowledge their commonalities,
their differences, and their diverse backgrounds. When you do this
and step out of your comfort zone to help those who suffer disasters
or suffer from poverty, that global mindset expands. And only then we realize things,
and it’s easier for us to break down racial, religious,
and cultural stereotypes. It’s also easier to do this if we not only hang out with people
we know but also connect with others to build together
and collaborate with each other towards a better future
for our generations and the generations to come after that. It builds within us more empathy, more compassion for humanity. By cultivating a global citizen mindset, you can see the bigger picture where we are all citizens
of a shared world. We are all one, and we’re connected
by that invisible thread of peace, love, healing, unity,
compassion, and kindness. And this is an unbroken thread that binds our souls all together as one. Thank you, arigato, gracias. (Applause)

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