In 2004 and 2005 I visited Southern Sudan. That trip changed me in many ways. Mostly, I realized that like most American’s my world was really small, although I thought it was rather large. I received a new paradigm about myself and our world.
This past week I was shook up again, and maybe even more so than my Sudan visits! I thought that social media and the internet have caused such globalization that the whole world is only a click away. In some ways it is. But in true American ignorance my world revolves around twitter and Facebook, so I thought that was everyone’s world. I didn’t know (I did, but never paid much attention) there are other social media sites like hi5 and orkut (and I am sure many more) that are more popular in other countries. I also never thought about people risking their lives to use social media
This past week at the Link Conference in Lima, Peru, my paradigms were slapped around once again. I was literally blown away by Rodrigo Diamanti and Oscar Morales. Both great men leading revolutions for freedom in their own countries. Here I am worried I had to take unpaid leave from work making my financial crisis even worse. But that is so minor compared to risking your life every time you use social media. These two men humbled me. Along with Austin Heap and Kelly Golnoush Niknejad, who also take serious risks for what they believe and to fight for other’s freedoms, all my world got really small. And that is a very good thing! I need to be reminded often that the world really is bigger than me!
Many of you know I come out of the church marketing world. Interesting, most church marketing is selfish and dogmatic. Most church marketing is really not of God, but man trying to fill seats and increase revenue for one exclusive organization. But every so often you’ll find a faith-based leader who really is about more than building a building. One such leader is Padre Piero Giacchetti , the visionary behind Link Organization.
From their website: (translated of course)
Link is a nonprofit organization that seeks to generate a change involving the youth in the solving the problems of society on the basis of responsible use of information technology and communications in a broader ethical, moral and transparent. Focuses its attention on the man and his training and comprehensive development, rather than just on technology or its features.
The following video is just a short interview with Padre Piero , Stephanie Rudat and the most wonderful Valerie Helou who is an amazing, gracious host. We were all tired after two long days so we didn’t get very involved. Given the chance I would really like to have a more in-depth interview. The openness and forward-thinking that created Link and the Link Conference are rarely seen. The conference was not about Padre Piero’s church, or selling product. The conference was about finding equality on the internet. Plus, look at the speakers/topics! I am very impressed with a church making this all happen.
I am so very grateful to Stephanie Rudat for believing in me. She is amazing and is a catalyst for real change. After the conference Padre Piero Giacchetti treated us to a few days of adventure. We visited Cusco, Machu Picchu and even spent time white water rafting. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the madness of my last thee years I felt like I was living a dream. It truly was an experience of a lifetime. Valerie Helou, Francisco Revoredo and Alejandro Arana Bellido took excellent care of us and we all became family.