Leadership and Human Rights- On Diplomacy- by Nadia

In DC, I realized why diplomacy had such an appeal to me. I discovered that it was the embodiment of my experiences and what I wanted to do in reaction to them. I’ve experienced a variety of situations, including life in rougher neighborhoods. These experiences were brought to the forefront of my memory as we walked up the hill to the corner store in Ward 8. Our job was simply to find fresh fruits or veggies, but, although I didn’t find either, I found something I desperately needed- closure. Originally, I felt like an intruder, an outcast, and ashamed all at once. I saw the looks we were getting, and I’d given them myself. “Why would tourists come here, anyway?” I heard whispered by those around. Angered with my action, looking anyone in the eye seemed like a shameful task to complete. We then went to the other side of town that resembled the area I live in currently. That’s when the shame weighed on me most. Fresh food was readily available, opportunities and schools were good, yet just a bus ride away was a different story. I thought of my family who lived in areas that resembled both sides. By the time we debriefed, I was in tears. I felt like I’d forgotten the ones I cared about who were still in tough situations, and my own shame was too much. But, with the help of a friend I met in the program who felt the same way, we realized that we shouldn’t be ashamed, but rather we should use the opportunity presented to us to make a difference to its fullest extent. That “Aha” moment was my subconscious realizing that diplomacy was my fit. Diplomacy is about entering spaces, building community, getting to know the issues in that area and doing something about it. Im apart of two very different communities, one a little more well off than the other, and I can enact change in both due to that membership. I can connect with a few individuals, but as our influence and connections spread, we can change systems. Maybe that sounds idealistic, but I believe it. I can firmly say I believe in that. I don’t have to take on the blame when things in either community go wrong, but rather I can empathize and embrace their pain. Alternatively, I can’t claim glory from their good times, but rather rejoice with them. I’m simply a piece, a part, a contributor, but not a definitive characteristic. By doing well as an individual, I can uplift both areas. And no matter what others may say, I can do well and still walk with them, talk with them, relate. I do not walk on an elevated platform, nor does my success have to push them down or make them feel inadequate. I, and my successes, can simply be. We can be there to support and assist instead. We can be a stepping stool and still remain strong in ourselves. I can remain a strong, independent woman because of the communities I came from, which are the very ones I’m trying to help. I want to help similar communities all over the world and build that relationship and trust with others. Maybe that will be through the U.S. government, maybe not. Who knows. But diplomacy and domestic policy sound pretty dang good to me.