Joao Vale de Almeida, EU Ambassador to the US was a recent guest speaker at the Missouri School of Journalism, as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership speaking tour. Through his experience as EU Ambassador to the US and former journalists, he offered insight into how the EU, US, and countries around the world can work together in addressing modern day challenges that affect us all, and how his reliance on his journalism experience has helped him navigate these challenges thus far.
The 21st century has brought impetuous change for our world; from new technologies and emerging economies to shared challenges like climate change and terrorism. These issues must be addressed and the only way forward is by working together. In fact, Ambassador Vale de Almeida asserts, we have no choice. Our world is connected through technological advancements and our economies are interdependent through trade. We are in difficult and new territory, which is why taking a step back and looking at “the big picture” as Vale de Almeida calls it, is essential. As Vale de Almeida also emphasized “We need to build peace, prosperity, and security. [This] is what we can work together on…We are not islands of prosperity”.
In a world that is ripe with different people, ideas, and agendas, how do we build relationships that move us forward? To answer this question, Vale de Almeida falls back on his education as a journalist. He stresses how a clear focus on putting journalism principles into practice in our globalized world is necessary to address the pressing issues we are facing in the 21st century. “I do this honoring my fellow journalists, using the skills and techniques I learned as a journalist. It improves and moves relationships forward.” He asserts how clear and open communication not only moves us forward, but also helps us navigate the challenges and threats that come with a more interconnected globe. To accomplish this we must use communication to build bridges that bring people together. We must work on finding shared common values and most importantly, be open and tolerant to differing people and ideas. This is how taking a step back, looking at “the big picture”, and taking on different perspectives can help us open ourselves to new ideas and ways of accomplishing our shared goals as global citizens.
The ambassador leaves one critical point to be mindful of: “Nothing should be taken for granted.” Each new generation considers what the previous generation has done and they want to build on that, however, we need to understand that everything from the previous generation is not guaranteed. We must continuously invest in peace and prosperity because continuous growth is not guaranteed. And at this point, where our countries are so intertwined with one another, the only way forward is by collaborating together.
Photo credit for feature image via Global Journalist