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Diplomacy in Action

My Culture + Your Culture Video Contest Winners


March 20, 2009

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"Human Colours" by Jose Vinícius Reis Gouveia of Recife, Brazil, age 16

WOMAN: Imagine if we couldn’t mix blue with yellow, what would green be, or even green with yellow? What would the blue color be? The fact that each one of us is unique creates the plurality that is necessary to build up the masterpiece called world, the world of religions, the world of ethnics, the world of languages, the world of roads.

Because of these differences, sometimes minimal, but others extreme, we human beings are all connected to each other in some way. We’re all important and active characters, not only in the lives of Earth’s (inaudible), but also in the lives of the other creatures that compose earth. Our manners, our knowledge, colors, and cultures – they need to coexist harmonically in order for the masterpiece to exist.

Blue is necessary, green as well, and the infinity of colors from all people around the whole world, we need colors to make something greater than everything else that has ever been seen in history to connect and to dialogue through differences. My culture added to yours is only a tiny part of something much greater. It is necessary to add them to other cultures and points of view. My history is not only mine; my history belongs to all of us, connected by differences and getting to know new cultures. We need human colors to paint the greatest piece of art that has ever been made: the world.

"Winning Team" by Grant Jirka of Columbus, Nebraska, age 14

MAN: My name is Grant and I live in the United States of America. My country is made up of diverse cultures that have come together from all parts of the world. Our diversity is what makes us unique. People from nearly every country in the world come here to hang their hat. We are one gigantic melting pot of culture. As immigrants passed through U.S. Customs at Ellis Island, they brought not only their suitcases, but their music, art, food, rituals, and games.

Some of those games have evolved into sports that we all know and love today. Soccer is a universal sport loved by millions of people around the world. Early versions of the game can be traced back to Asia in 1,000 B.C. The sport is a culture icon in European and Spanish cultures. Millions of people here in the U.S.A. love this sport too.

Basketball, baseball, and American football are all said to have been invented in my country, but they all have origins from other parts of the world. American football can trace its origins back to the English game of rugby. In the mid-1800s, it was formalized in the United States to become the game as we know it today. Football is one of the few sports that remain uniquely American. Baseball is said to be a combination of various stick-and-ball sports from around the world. The game as we know it today was invented in the United States in the mid-1800s. Basketball was invented in 1891 in the state of Massachusetts by a Canadian named James Nasmith. The present-day National Basketball Association has players from all around the world.

Teamwork and unity are important parts of athletics. Success is easier to obtain when a team works together to achieve a common goal. These strategies can be applied to our daily lives as we live and work together to accept one another’s cultures and to celebrate our differences. Sports are one of the many things that make my culture, plus your culture, a winning team.

"My Culture + Your Culture = World of Wonder"  by Bijoy Thangaraj of Bangalore, India, age 23

Music and Lyrics:

It's my culture my way of life
Beginning to end
It rules my life
It's your culture your way of life
Beginning to end
It rules your life

It's in my blood, in my veins
As high as the sun that rises and shines
We thank God with our hands open
For the light to the life it has given

Weddings are made in heaven
So is the belief of our tradition
The family of the girl and the guy
Get bonded in the act of plight

It's my culture my way of life
Beginning to end
It rules my life
It's your culture your way of life
Beginning to end
It rules your life

It's in your blood, in your veins
As high as the sun that rises and shines
A day for the father, a day for the mother
You’ve special days for each and every other

Your spouse is your sole decision
And you get bonded to disclose this information
Giving importance to family and friends
Widely seen in both our traditions

The old and the young
Follow culture with a passion
In the name of nation
We attain elevation

We see the same dear world
But the eyes that see differ way ahead
Each and every culture, we respect duly
Together, we make this world a better place to live peacefully.

“A Friend in Nanjing” by Tim Peters of Wheaton, Illinois, age 22

MAN: We were in China, a few American undergrads on a research project we weren’t ready for. We could barely speak Chinese and hardly knew the country. We were staying in Nanjing, in the south, trying to make a documentary, trying to find subject to film.

One day, we went to the track of Nanjing University to play catch with a frisbee I had brought. A student shouted out to us. He saw my disc and called us over. They were playing Ultimate Frisbee, a game I had played at home in the U.S., and they were using top-of-the-line frisbees too. It surprised me. I had been to China the summer before, but it was impossible to find a frisbee. A country with so many factories producing so much plastic stuff, and I couldn’t find a good disc. And here they were.

The kid who called us over was Martin. He was from northern China, studying politics at the university. Martin said that study abroad students from the West showed them the game and brought the discs, but now the Chinese students had made their own team. They didn’t have much space, just a sliver between the soccer fields and the track lanes, but they met and practiced every week, getting ready for matches with other schools and city teams.

So we practiced and played with them that afternoon. We began hanging out with Martin while our research project was held up waiting for government permission. He took us to restaurants and cafés, to monuments and universities, to parks and temples. He took us places we would never have known otherwise. We had long conversations together about the U.S. and China, about college, about traveling and relationships and family. Martin was even trying to start a Frisbee business to try and spread the game he loved through the country.

We helped him call Discraft, a frisbee company in Michigan. We kept playing Ultimate Frisbee, meeting other students, making friends. Our month in Nanjing came to an end. We had to say goodbye to Martin on a platform at the train station as we left for Beijing. It was sad saying goodbye to our first real friend from China.

MAN: “Welcome to China.”




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