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Thursday 21 July 2016

What the World Needs Now...

Being exposed to cultures from around the world was always a plus. But today, attending an international graduate programme is more crucial than ever in shaping our future. Juliet Perrachon tells us why.

My Facebook newsfeed used to be inundated with baby pictures. Earlier this month, the cute baby pictures were replaced by reactions to the horrific news coming from America on the murder of two African American men, and then of five policemen in Dallas. The week before that, it was all anxiety surrounding the result of the UK's EU referendum result in favour of Brexit, and the repercussions for the UK and its foreign residents.

Regardless of what you think of Facebook, the platform can arguably serve as a barometer for public sentiment. When the public is excited or nervous about an event, you can palpably feel it from a quick scan of your newsfeed. Today, as our world moves towards a global economy, through Facebook and the wider media, we can clearly sense the growing pains that come along with that shift. And recently, people have been exposing themselves - more than ever - as those who welcome these changes and those who resist and fear them.

We cannot resist this evolution to a global market. Rapid changes in technology over the past 15 years, with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, have in many ways brought people together. Yet, the fear of cultures being washed out and personal interests being tossed aside are rampant. While this is understandable, what is not acceptable is the surge of violence and racism that has resurfaced as a result. Some are prepared to do anything to defend their turf and their identity.

A video named 'Confessions of a former covert CIA agent' went viral a few months ago. In it, a former covert CIA agent said: "Everybody believes they are the good guy. The only real way to disarm your enemy is to listen to them." Her point is that if you really listen to your supposed enemy, more often than not you'll realise that, if you had lived their life, you would have probably made the same choices.

This really hit home for me. Having grown up in a bilingual home and attended multicultural schools, I have always been friends with people from around the world. Until I was a teenager, I barely paid attention to different religions or races; we were all friends with the same goals in life: to have a boyfriend (or a girlfriend) and to get good grades.

When I studied for the MSc in Marketing & Creativity at ESCP Europe, my classmates were from all over: Europe, America, Egypt, Latvia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia - the list goes on. We bonded over happy hour and pulled all-nighters to ensure our presentations were perfect.

We had common aspirations and wanted the same things in life: to pursue a career we were passionate about, execute change, meet a life partner, be happy. This, to me, was one of the most enriching experiences of my life, and it was clearly just as fulfilling for my classmates and those who came after us, as is attested in this video made of the programme's Class of 2017.

Today, whether we like it or not, we are becoming increasingly global, and we do have to learn to work together across cultures. This is what makes us stronger, and this skill set will make us stand out.

Attending a programme as international as that of ESCP Europe's MSc in Marketing & Creativity, in my mind, acts as an antidote to the insanity of the recent weeks, months... In this programme, you will make lifelong friends from around the world that you'd never expect to make, and plant the seeds for a world that can work and grow together in peace.

Juliet Perrachon is Co-founder and President of Bébé Voyage, a platform that connects globe-trotting parents around the world, with the goal of exposing the next generation to new cultures and experiences to build a better, more peaceful world for all. She is an MSc in Marketing & Creativity graduate from the Class of 2011.

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