“An intense humanism lies at the heart of their success- Shared values of intimacy, community, and openness.” Renowned by The Wall Street Journal as the top 6 regional theatres in the nation, there lies a challenge.
“How can a theatre company that’s small and intimately built not lose its way when it grows bigger? How do you stay to your true vision while scaling up in size? The age old struggle between art and commerce.” It was an interesting, thought provoking article that truly resonated with my personal values and life goals.
Lately, I had the opportunity to give a speech on Travel with Purpose- The Importance of International Education at AIC NYC Headquarters for my internship program. The phenomenal opportunity allowed me to relive the memories while abroad, but it strongly reminded me to live out what I kindly urge others to do: foster world peace through the promotion of cultural awareness.
Fostering world peace is not primarily focused upon doing great matters; rather it initiates by broadening our understanding for the people within our community. New York, for instance, is a city richly filled with culture and consists of many ethnic and religious groups. You hop onto a train and you are instantly immersed with people speaking in various languages: French, Arabic, Chinese, etc. From one borough to another, you’re immediately fascinated by the many different ethnic communities in each location.
Despite the large existence of diversity and culture, sometimes there also lies a risk of becoming desensitized to what we are exposed to. We acknowledge the existence of diversity and religions, but do we have the need to delve further and understand someone who is ethnically or religiously different from us? Not necessarily.
The Common Thread
Coming to New York was a drastic decision and change for there is never a dull moment in New York. Yet a small town, southern girl like me never expected to be challenged for my thoughts and actions.
Honestly, I never envisioned myself to even be willing to expand my understanding for people who are ethnically or religiously different from myself either. Although I claim to be passionate with promoting cultural understanding to others, I don’t necessarily always go through with it.
An opportunity arrived where I was cordially invited to attend an Interfaith community in Queens. The center’s mission is to “advocate social justice within New York while bringing diversity and the religious community together.”
The conference astoundingly was eye-opening. There were people with different ethnic backgrounds, and religions including Islam, Catholicism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, and so much more.
Coming together, we acknowledged our cultural and religious differences. We come to understand that our religion and our culture being not so much as an identity but also as a connection. Sometimes we, including myself, focus so much on the divide in the religion and culture that we fail to see something we all share as a human being. “After all, we are all human beings and are taught the same basic principles.”
Within 8 hours, there were no immediate solutions as to how to foster world peace, but we did come up with some probable, ongoing solutions including action through a dialogue.
“Identify people of different religions but create and use these cultural and religious differences to build up on moral values, and give back to the community. It all begins with a dialogue.” Aber Kawas
How do you stay to your true vision while scaling up in size?
Staying true to our vision while scaling up in size is tricky as we go along. Inevitably, challenges and desensitization may occur; these challenges may inhibit us from reaching our goals, and we may find ourselves either doubting or becoming passive with our passions. What’s even more frightening is going astray with our original intentions.
However, these challenges are essentially necessary to equip us toward our end goals; they are only constructive if we are willing to make good use of them. Until then, we must constantly seek opportunities to constantly learn and be proactive with our true vision.
Begin with a Dialogue
Referencing to Gang’s and Halberstam’s successful startup, there is an admiration for their constant, unchanging vision: “the heart of success lie within intimacy, community and openness.”
It has already been six months since I first moved to New York. Within half a year, I astonishingly found myself not only challenged but I also have the strong need to go beyond my comfort zone.
Overall, I believe that within intense humanity, there calls a need for intimacy, community and openness; there strives a need to build an understanding for the people in the community- beyond the language, culture, and political or religious barriers. Fostering world peace does not only primarily focus on what we could do to fix this world. Rather, it goes beyond the passiveness and strives for action, and I believe that action simply begins within our community- a dialogue with someone who is different from us… and finding that common thread.
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