As global citizens and as social entrepreneurs, we know that each time a human crosses a national border, it brightens our future in the same way that the stars brighten the darkest of night skies. The globalization of the world’s populations and the migration of people (not the numbing, impersonal statistics — but real, living, walking, eating, laughing, singing, dreaming, loving people) are a social entrepreneur’s hope.
Immigrants are the living manifestation of our social entrepreneurial commitment to the unfettered flow of human capital and to the free exchange of ideas, traditions and knowledge. Newcomers, by definition, are cultural ambassadors — spreading new languages, new cuisines, new belief structures and new traditions from one community to another. The result is cultural diversity and (as a result) cultural strength and resilience. After all, let’s remember that once long ago, German immigrants ‘culturally imposed’ hot dogs on America, and we are the better for it.
Immigration is the human face of globalization. When an Indian software geek, a Mexican farmworker, a Filipino nurse or a single mom cross an American border, our reservoir of human capital is replenished, refreshed and rejuvenated. As reported by The Economist in 2013, over 40 per cent of Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or their kids.
For most people, and for all social entrepreneurs, empathy makes no distinction between a crying child in Mississippi and a crying child in Malawi. If that’s true for love of a child, why hide our compassion for a mother with children escaping starvation? For a hardscrabble farmer in a distant land? For a refugee escaping a war zone? Empathy makes global citizens of us all.
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