Here’s what Craig says in the video:
Hi everybody. Hey it’s Craig Freshley here.
I am out for a little bike ride but I am working here; yes, on the island of Hawaii! I’m working with a group here called CIEE and they foster international exchange programs all over the world. I got a group of people here from all over the United States who recruit and coordinate host families, and there are agents here from all over the world who recruit students to come here.
For the families that host it’s an opportunity to learn about someone from a different culture and for the students who come here it’s an opportunity learn about American culture. And CIEE is a nonprofit organization and they do this in order to breed shared understanding and mutual respect. They bring students here on something called the J-1 Visa which was instituted shortly after World War II. This is their way of helping make world peace.
You know, in today’s age of social media we get to choose who our friends are. We get to choose who to listen to and read posts from — the people we agree with — and filter out those that we don’t agree with. I don’t believe that listening only to people I agree with helps build world peace. It’s listening and talking with people who are different that reduces conflict and increases shared understanding and mutual respect.
I tried it yesterday. I was on a city bus in Honolulu and there was a woman who looked different than me. Now I could have pulled out my cell phone, in fact I was tempted.
Oh! Let me just show you here. There is a sunset going on over there. I hope you can see it. There’s a cool little beach here. Oops, I should probably watch where I’m going.
Okay so, yeah, I could’ve pulled out my cell phone and read posts from people that I agree with — my friends — but instead I struck up a conversation with this woman. I began by telling her how beautiful I thought her city was and before you know it we were talking about Maine, we were talking about Honolulu, we talked for about an hour! And I got to know things about her that I never would have learned if I hadn’t struck up a conversation with somebody different from me. In fact, at the end she was going to get off that bus on another three-hour bus to her home on the other side of the island. Because she’s a native Hawaiian she lives in this particular part of Hawaii because that’s her ancestral home, but she can’t get a job there, so she commutes four hours to and from Honolulu every day to make a living and maintain her lifestyle.
I tell you, if you want to help your group make good decisions — whether it’s your club or your world — I’m encouraging you to talk to somebody who’s different from you. That’s what I’m doing here at this international meeting of CIEE on the island of Hawaii. In the spirit of aloha! Thanks for listening everybody. Woohoo!