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Pacific Prime Scholarship Awards – Essay 1

Pacific Prime believes in investing in the education of our future generations and has an ongoing program of scholarships in hopes of doing this. Recently, we provided students with the chance to receive USD $1000 by submitting an essay based on health, travel, diversity, education or all of the above. Three individuals were selected to receive the scholarship and over the next few weeks we will be posting the winning essays.

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The first winning essay was written by Neil Gerstein. Currently a junior at Iowa State University, he is double majoring in global resource systems and economics. Neil plans on traveling to China to intern at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou this August and then on to Beijing in September to study at Tsinghua University.

The cooperation of different cultures and nations is incredibly important in today’s increasingly globalized society. Multilateral efforts in the progression of health, education, security, and the sharing of information are now imperative to humankind’s sustainable existence on the earth. The roles of international organizations such as The World Health Organization, The World Trade Organization, and The United Nations become more important as society continues the process of globalization. These organizations, as well as many others, are key in initiating multilateral movements to solve global issues that transcend borders and persist internationally. However, most nations are reluctant to commit to solving international issues, for they are not worried about the problems beyond their own autonomous regions. This mentality must change; citizens of different nations must be willing to work together to make existence on the earth more sustainable.

But this mentality persists for several reasons: nations are unwilling to commit economically to what could turn out to be an economic hindrance; they fear that they will lose their autonomy if they submit to the proposals of international organizations; and they fear and discriminate foreigners and foreign cultures. It will be difficult to change this mentality, but a change is needed for the future of society.

As a member of this interconnected, globalized society, I consider it my duty to promote the cooperation of international bodies in the effort to make the world a better place. I am currently studying global resource systems and economics at Iowa State University in order to have some positive influence and promote international cooperation. As a university student, I am able to participate in groups that promote these kinds of ideas, but I believe the best way for people my age to promote international cooperation in the future is by traveling to foreign places and understanding foreign cultures. Today, immigration and international people flows occur at a rate much higher than they have before in human history, which means that cultures and languages clash more now than they have ever before. These cultural differences have long been the reason for discrimination and fear of that which is different. This intolerance of foreign cultures perpetuates international issues by separating people as opposed to bringing them together. If the citizens of different nations were more tolerant of foreign cultures and realized that all humans have the same basic rights and face the same problems, there would be more support for cooperation in international issues.

I am studying abroad in China next semester in an attempt to promote more cooperation between the United States and China in the future. China is predicted to be a major economic player in the next decade, and the nation will have an extreme impact on the world’s resource systems. The ramifications of China’s development will create problems domestically and internationally. For example, China’s predicted increase in demand for fossil fuels will further the problem of air pollution, which has horrible consequences for global warming and global health, and the tactics of the Chinese government may create security issues in East and Southeast Asia, as well as the rest of the world. China is the United States’ largest trading partner, and the relationship between the two countries will be important for all nations in the next decade. I believe the best way to promote American-Chinese relations is by sending natives of both countries to study in the other. This way, people of my age demographic in the U.S. will have the chance to understand Chinese culture and politics so that in the future, when they are in positions to promote relations and cooperation, they will have a more tolerant, holistic view of Chinese society.

I have found that far too many people are ignorant or intolerant to foreign cultures and ideas. Growing up in the American Midwest, there are few chances to be exposed to foreign cultures. In the American school system, students learn about American and European history, but students never hear much about the history of developing nations because they were never of economic or political importance. Today, that is not the case. The economic rise of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, marks a shift in the percentage share of the global gross domestic product away from western, developed nations. Countries that had previously been underdeveloped and left behind as western nations experienced intense economic growth have begun to rapidly develop in recent years. However, in the western world, people are ignorant about these new developing countries, and their ignorance will be a major hindrance in years to come.

Society faces many challenges on the road ahead. Global warming, overpopulation, energy crises, security, and economic quarrels, are all very important global issues that my generation will have to face when the time comes. Despite all the differences between the vast peoples of the earth, we are all human, and we are all responsible for how we treat this world. It is time to stop harboring animosity for different religions and different ways of life; it is time to work together to conquer these problems and progress as a society. The world is no longer divided up into self-sufficient autonomous regions; it is interconnected, whether we like it or not. In order to truly cooperate and solve global issues, foreigners must understand and respect each other. The best way to understand something different is to experience it, which is why people my age need to travel abroad, and why I am spending six months in China this fall. There is a quote by Carl Sagan, one of my personal heroes, that passionately articulates my feelings about the importance of international cooperation. This quote is in reference to the famous “pale blue dot” photo: “To me, it [the pale blue dot] underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot… the only home we’ve ever known.”

Please click here for more information on Pacific Prime Scholarships for 2013.