The Independent Television Service (ITVS) is a global asset for women and girls. ITVS supports a dynamic field of independent media makers whose programs creatively engage audiences, expand cultural awareness and catalyze civic participation. Filmmakers from around the world came to ITVS with incredible stories about women and girls. Using a holistic approach, ITVS created Women and Girls Lead, a multi-year initiative with documentaries about women and girls. After launching the domestic initiative, the project went global. Combining the expertise in international broadcasting, storytelling, and on-the-ground knowledge of its partners: USAID, the Ford Foundation, and CARE, ITVS recently launched Women and Girls Lead Global.
On a cold night in Sixties, my cousin Sam and I escaped our Harvard dorms and headed out for a small neighborhood theater in Boston. I had the homesick bug; Sam cheered me up with a concert by a relatively unknown Ravi Shankar. Shankar was a musician who would eventually attract the Beatles, and the West, to his music. He was more of a cult icon in those days. I was an early entry into the All-Things-Eastern craze, having squeezed myself into a course on Buddhism at Harvard Divinity School. Even so, I had never seen Shankar perform or heard his music.
In my last article for American Diversity Report, “Embrace Diversity, Embrace the Future”, I used the example of Zanzibar and how the people there appeared to deal with diversity by accepting differences of other cultures including religion without co-mingling or requiring others to bend to the will of any one group. However, since my visit there and writing that article, I have discovered that more recently, Muslim youth riding on motorcycles threw acid on the faces and bodies of three American young females who were walking through the streets of Zanzibar on their last evening in the city. The girls were at the end of their mission to help out in the area and were going to celebrate their stay there. They will forever be scarred both emotionally and physically by this experience. This example simply shows how fragile our cultural stability is as mobility of the world’s people increases at a rapid pace and the introduction of new ideas, ways and cultures are seen as a threat to the old established ways.
It was my birthday recently and I was presented with the following question – “Do you celebrate your birthday with a cake in your culture & country? Would love to know if this a recent cultural phenomenon or long established? Is this a personal sign of globilisation?”
Past predicts Future: For over 20 years of my life in the US, always answering “Ukraine” when asked where I came from, I’d heard, “Aah, Russia!” The home to 45.4 million people, Ukraine was little known—until bloodshed on the Maidan Square in Kyiv and continuing mayhem provoked by expert Putin-esque instigators brought it into headlines. The media opinions, however, often understate the situation, thus hurting all-American understanding—and standing—in this strategically important European country.
One of the richest adventures I’ve had in my adult life is working as a resident chaplain in an urban setting. I worked for two years for a major hospital system in Houston, Texas. This hospital system had a mission statement of serving its diverse community and offering appropriate pastoral care. What I came to understand from this work experience was the incredible ethnic diversity as well as the religious diversity represented by patients in the hospital. I learned this as I made my rounds through the ER, ICU, Ambulatory Care, and other surgical units.