Everyday Ambassador: Make a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World Paperback – 26 May 2015
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"Kate Otto is the ultimate example of how someone can mobilize the spirit, the heart, and a true love for mankind to become an everyday ambassador...We all have a role to play in building a more peaceful world for future generations, and this book shows us how to act in order to build that better future." (Alicia Keys, activist and Grammy Award-winning artist)
"Rich with provocative ideas, Everyday Ambassador is a book that will inspire you to create meaningful change on a person-to-person level. The four core values that are explored seem simplistic, but Otto lays out how important they are for anyone who wants to promote compassionate action and social change. With greater focus, empathy, patience, and humility, the world would be a better and more just place to live." (Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union)
“We need a cadre of ‘everyday ambassadors’ to translate our best intentions into pragmatic actions that promote health and social equity. Kate Otto illuminates a way, in our digitized age, to develop deep human relationships to further these goals. Kate’s lessons are valuable ones for any young person who, as so many now do, travel in hopes of serving communities far from home.” (Dr. Paul Farmer, founding director of Partners in Health & Chair of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School)
“Kate Otto’s stories illustrate the care, patience, and deep listening that are vital to crafting lasting solutions to social problems around the world. This book shows how humility and perseverance are needed to turn good intentions into meaningful action. It will provide valuable insights for the growing community of globally minded changemakers.” (David Bornstein, New York Times Opinionator journalist and author of How to Change the World)
“A powerful twenty-first-century story, Everyday Ambassador will inspire you to believe in your personal capacity to make a difference. Kate shows moral courage by pushing her generation to acknowledge its unique vulnerabilities. But she also guides her peers to solutions through her own example. No matter who—or where—you are, Kate’s message is to look in the mirror first. This book reveals the secrets of how to bring people together, even when technology pulls us farther apart. Throughout her adventures, she pairs tenacity with humility, revealing a blazingly original voice with which she speaks her mind yet listens deeply to others. [Kate’s book] will fill you with hope for our inter-connected future.” (Irshad Manji, founder of the Moral Courage Project)
“Everyday Ambassador is a necessary read for anyone thinking about contributing to social change. Foundation for Sustainable Development has been working with professional and student volunteers for seventeen years, and we have seen both the great benefit and great damage foreigners abroad can do to communities. Kate addresses the issue of the outsider in development head on and with no holds barred. We need informed and honest advocates like Kate to ensure that those seeking to ‘help’ actually ‘serve’ and do no harm to our partner communities. Our deepest appreciation to Kate for doing a huge service for community-based development!” (Mireille Cronin Mather, executive director for the Foundation for Sustainable Development)
“Everyday Ambassador articulates some of the most important trends of our time. Through Kate Otto’s travels and stories we can’t help but reflect on our own lives and the incredible importance of the everyday hero that is in each of us. Kate’s focus on humility and international empathy is the type of thinking that will, at scale, solve the most pressing challenges of our time… and it all starts with the individual thinking collectively. If you ever doubted that one person can change the world, read this book.” (Daniel Epstein, founder of Unreasonable Institute & Unreasonable Group)
“We live in a world where technology truly can bolster, strengthen, and reinvent people’s relationships with our communities, and yet all too often we do not see this happening. Kate Otto proposes a smart game plan, through vibrant storytelling, for twenty-first-century citizenship, and how we can use technology in pursuit of, not deterioration of, strong communities.” (Trabian Shorters, vice president of Communities, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation)
“Kate Otto gives us an inspiring and clear example of how one must not just exist in the world, but rather be in and of the world. Everyday Ambassador exemplifies the value of strong relationships in our global era, taking seriously the attention and care required to form and maintain those relationships in the pursuit of a better world for everyone. Our world is increasingly interconnected and Kate demonstrates how to embrace that diversity through respectful and responsible global citizenship.” (John Sexton, president of New York University)
"The founder and director of Everyday Ambassador, an organization to combat digital isolation, provides wisdom for those interested in making real and positive impacts.... Otto provides encouragement by sharing compelling stories about what she and others have accomplished—both singly and as members of larger organizations. Wise, inspirational, and thoroughly readable." (Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
Kate Otto is the founder and director of Everyday Ambassador, a network for young individuals who are currently pursuing or have completed an international service opportunity, fellowship, or travel abroad experience. She is also a global health consultant who has worked for several development institutions and grassroots organizations, including The World Bank and USAID. She writes for Huffington Post and Christian Science Monitor, and currently lives in New York City.
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In the book, Kate encourages us to dig deeper in our interactions with each other and to also take our time in approaching challenges and daily obstacles. She reminds us that in whatever work we do, we ought to be thoughtful and truly think about the consequences our actions have on others -- intentional or not. Regardless of whatever background you may have, this book provides a lovely reminder of how we can work to be global citizens in our fast-paced and increasingly digital world, focusing on human connections and strengthening relationships.
Kate Otto’s authenticity, humor, and integrity shine through on every single page. With a warm and inviting tone, she peppers the narrative with relevant and engaging examples of her own travels and travails – and those of many others – to accentuate her thesis without crowding out very practical advice. This advice consistently and accessibly comes to readers in the form of a series of questions for introspection and discussion. It genuinely invites readers to reflect, rather than preaching or intimidating. No grand proclamations are made about the secret to success in public service or international careers. She prescribes no sweeping, dramatic lifestyle changes. What she wants us to know is that every single person is capable of cultivating the values she categorizes so cleverly, and in this way makes every reader feel empowered to do so in their own unique way.
Her advice is universally applicable across professional sectors, personality types, time, and space. Even if you are able to exercise just marginally more focus, empathy, humility, or patience into even one interaction during the day, you will have lived the values that Kate Otto promotes in this book. Her thesis is irrelevant to dogmatic debates surrounding foreign aid or public service, nor does it apply only to either those at the beginning of their careers. It appeals to anyone, in any place, in any stage of their career, who identifies as a person striving to live their passion and do right by others.
I highly recommend reading this book and taking time to reflect on your own life! Truly powerful stuff Kate Otto!