Saturday, January 30, 2010

An Introduction


Welcome to I intend this to be a blog about the world, in which I'll share my thoughts on global issues ranging from human rights to environmentalism, conflict to the economy, international politics to identity issues. It's also inescapably a blog about me: my experiences and philosophy will affect which issues I mention and how I choose to talk about them, but more than that: I'll also be sharing images and stories from my personal travels.

A little about me: I am a twentysomething US citizen. I have a Bachelor's degree in international relations with a focus on peace and conflict resolution; I am an enthusiastic advocate for nonviolent action, an opinion which is sure to come out early and often in my writing. Up through my university years, my geographic focus was the former Soviet Union; I learned Russian, studied abroad in Poland, and wrote my thesis about the politics of language in Latvia. In the years since then, however, I decided to shift my focus to Latin America. In August of 2009 I quit my job at an NGO in Washington, DC, where I was working on a US State Department exchange program, moved all my things into my parents' basement, and flew to El Salvador to teach English and study Spanish at a social justice NGO in San Salvador.

In mid-January of this year, I flew down to Bogota, Colombia, to work with a human rights organization that fights against abuses perpetrated by the Colombian government. I serve as their documentarian, taking photographs and video, and compiling research on various topics. Since the position is unpaid, I'm also teaching English and looking for a job in a hostel. My Spanish is still imperfect, but improving. I live in La Candelaria, the historic neighborhood of Bogota which, thanks in part to its proximity to the university, also happens to be the lively, young downtown area. So far, I love it!

I envision that my entries here will be a mixture of personal travel stories, photographs of places I've gone, issues I'm learning about on my travels, and essays or rants on various global events. Beyong that, we'll see as it unfolds...