Storytelling for Global Empathy

TEDxDenisonU talk by Jasmine Passa & Jordan Berger.

We will discuss self-transformation and the ability to understand the self through engaged learning and intentional travel.

Although we share our experiences studying abroad in both Rwanda and Serbia/Bosnia/Kosovo, we argue that in essence, it does not matter where you go, but how you engage with where you are. We challenge the audience to see every interaction as an opportunity for personal transformation in order to promote a culture of global empathy. Our TEDx talk introduces the idea that any traveler can be an activist if they allow themselves the vulnerability to be transformed by others' stories. Imagine a community in which all individuals chose to take part in this form of experiential learning and then returned to their home to encounter people who were willing to actively listen. This is the revolution that we want to create.

Jasmine is a senior political science major at Denison. She was born and raised in Arlington, Virginia in a very Pakistani household. Her first individual travel experience was with SIT’s Study Abroad program studying Peace and Conflict in the Balkans during the first half of 2014. SIT provided a transformative experience that opened her eyes to the beneficial practice of experiential learning. Immediately after spending five months in the Balkans, she traveled individually to Amman, Jordan where she interned with the NGO “We Love Reading” to promote literacy among Jordan’s children and youth while living with a host family and continuing her study of Arabic. In her free time, Jasmine has a tendency to join all things dance and drink tea.

Jordan is a senior at Denison University majoring in International Studies and Women's & Gender Studies with a minor in German. She was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri. She spent a gap year after her high school graduation in Waltrop, Germany with Rotary International. After coming to Denison in the fall of 2011, she developed an interest in post-conflict peace studies and decided to spend a semester with SIT Study Abroad Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding program during the second half of 2013. Jordan has interned with several NGOs in the US that work internationally and hopes to continue studying international peacebuilding through engaged learning. In her free time, Jordan enjoys watching Friends and eating pizza rolls.

April 10, 2015