Brazil and Me



Bom Dia. I’m a senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington D.C. and a member of the Global Kids program, a program created 20 years ago to promote global awareness among youth. I was invited to participate in the Global Gateways program--an ephemeral merger between the State Department and the Global Kids program. The Global Gateways program was a three-week workshop during the summer of 2011 from late July to late August at Howard University’s Ralph J. Bunche Center. The sole purpose of the workshop was to prepare my peers and I for our big trip to Brazil. The trip was between the dates of August 8, 2011 and August 22, 2011. We traveled from Dulles airport and arrived in Rio De Janeiro. The trip required that we become more involved in the international media as well as learn a little Portuguese.

Through the Global Gateways program, I learned about international affairs and diplomacy. For example, I learned about the U.S. incursion into Pakistan to execute Bin Laden and the concern the U.S. government had about potential leaks of intelligence regarding his exact locations. We learned about the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring is a series of revolts occurring throughout the Middle East and African horn. We learned that when people of a country are oppressed, they have the power and the responsibility to revolt.

We learned about the rising tension in the Middle East in countries such as Libya, Yemen and Egypt and that technology such as Twitter help activists in these countries to organize themselves or communicate.

We met different people working in government diplomacy and international affairs. My most memorable encounter was meeting Ian Solomon, the U.S. Executive Director of the World Bank. He was surprisingly young, very charismatic, with degrees from Harvard and Yale.  As the U.S. Executive Director of The World Bank he wields a lot of power and influence in promoting Obama’s agenda for international development.  Ian Solomon showed me that I too could one day become Executive Director of The World Bank if I work hard and utilized my resources well.

I learned about potential scholarships such as the Rhodes scholarship and other opportunities that lead to careers with government. I plan to go to college next fall. I plan to possibly major in international affairs and economics and later pursue graduate studies in constitutional law.  But most importantly on January 20th 2036 I will be the President of the United States of America. I am very confident regarding this goal because of the knowledge that I accumulated through the Global Gateways program. I had my doubts before, but after my involvement in the Global Gateways program I now feel that this is a plausible goal. I now feel confident enough to achieve anything through this truly inspirational trip.

The Global Gateways program, as well as my trip to Brazil, has introduced me to a myriad of experiences. Therefore,  I encourage you to get involved in not only your local community but also your global community. Don’t hold a dubious attitude towards new experiences. Take part in any and all opportunities that come your way. I also encourage you to be avid in all your endeavors, because you will truly benefit in the long run. I surely did. And I plan to participate in many more if given the opportunity.

Khalil Lee is a senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy.