Melat Nigussie is a Belgian with Ethiopean roots living in Brussels with a heart for writing and activism. She traveled to Washington DC, NYC, Charlotte CA, Santa Fe NM, and San Diego, CA on an International Visitors Leadership Program. When asked what she is passionate about Melat states "Young people have always been at the forefront of political and societal change. It’s time that we give young people a chance."
The program I participated in was called International visitor Leadership Program or IVLP. Its actual goal is to unite people that are active in the cultural ﬁeld and to have them do a professional visit in the United States.
The goal was to learn from them and have a few good practices that we could take with us when we got back and implement those good practices here. I had the opportunity to travel to DC, New York, Charlotte North Carolina, and Santa Fe New Mexico and San Diego California.
For me the most important thing is the people that I’m surrounded with so home to me is where the people I love and the people that support me, the people I call my friends and family are so it’s not particularly a place.
I am a child of the diaspora so we’re very displaced and dis-rooted so you know I call Brussels my home, I call Belgium my home, but I feel at home in Ethiopia as well with my extended family. So I just need to have a group of people that love me and that I can love back. As long as I have that I’m home.
Professionally I hope that the “Next Generation Please” program gets implemented throughout Europe. That would be very exciting! And maybe in the United States as well. So we can still have that transatlantic connection going on.
Young people have always been at the forefront of political and societal change. Look at the riots and protest movements. Every big societal movement – be it “Black Lives Matter” in the United States – has had young people at the forefront. It’s time that we give young people a chance. That we listen to them and that we actually learn from them instead of always valorizing experience and age over young people. So I hope the world pays attention a bit more.
Take the time to take care of yourself. Put yourself on the number one spot. Always love yourself and do fun stuff as well because that’s equally as important. Relax and take the time for yourself because dealing with certain issues on a day to day basis can wear you out!
It’s really important to get together with family and friends and feel loved because that’s super important.“Relax and take the time for yourself because dealing with certain issues on a day to day basis can wear you out!”