This weekend, I attended the South Asian Awareness Network's annual conference. The theme this year was PANORAMA: Capturing Change Through the Lens of Culture. Over the course of the weekend, I engaged with people of different religions, nationalities, gender identities, and beliefs, and I learned so much from them.
The speakers are really what inspired me, though. Among the many I saw were Smita Satiani, an Indian-Pakistani-American who works in D.C. at Ashoka; Sedika Mojadidi, an Afghan-American documentary maker whose works have been aired on PBS, TLC, and Discovery (she also has a movie, Motherland Afghanistan, available on Netflix); and Guatam Raghavan, who is currently President Obama's liaison to the LGBT and Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.
While I'm all in favor of social consciousness and public service, it isn't necessarily where my passions fall--and I always feel like a horrible person when I say that. Regardless, the conference was very moving and educational, and there were two quotes in particular that struck me:
Finding my passion has been a long, hard road, and at the end of the day, I'm not willing to accept anything less than my dream. That's part of the struggle with jobs right now--I simply don't want to apply to anything that isn't exactly in line with my aspirations, partly because I'm afraid that I'll get stuck in a rut, and partly because I know that I'm capable of achieving anything I want. The second quote is especially amazing, though. Lately, I've been struggling with how to deal with opposing beliefs and the arguments that break out over them, notably regarding the conflict in the Middle East. Seeing this quote was a breath of fresh air. After all, we're only human.
I'm going to end this post on a light and inspirational note. Here's a commercial that one of the keynote speakers (Zafar Razzacki) showed us, and it's a beautiful reminder that what unites us really is stronger than what divides us.