TV Host Chris Bashinelli Provides Keynote During Global Citizenship Day

TV Host Chris Bashinelli Provides Keynote During Global Citizenship Day

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Fiorella Gil
October 31, 2013

On Friday, October 25, The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) celebrated its first annual Global Citizenship Day, sponsored by the Prudential Foundation. This day-long event highlighted the importance of global citizenship and provided tools to help TWC's student body enhance their cross-cultural skills in order to make an impact in the world.


Find Your Passion


Held at TWC's Residential and Academic Facility at NoMa, the day started with a passionate and inspiring keynote address by former actor, TV host and UN Moderator Chris Bashinelli. Inspiring, humorous, and at times heart wrenching, Chris candidly talked about his journey to becoming a global citizen, and how he managed to pursue his true passion in life by "stepping out of his comfort zone and walking in someone else's shoes." He also pointed out how global citizenship comes down to two ideas: "Following your passion and making sure that passion in some way serves others".


A native from Brooklyn, NY, Chris grew up in a melting pot of culture and diversity. He recalled how him and his group of friends would regularly converge on the stairs of his Brooklyn home, fondly referred to as "the stoop." He said: "The stoop is not only a place, it's an idea that we carry with us in our hearts, where people go to have an open dialogue, to not be judged, to be equals with the people around them."


After pursuing a short but successful acting career, which included a role in the hit TV series, "The Sopranos," at 20, he decided to move to Tanzania to film a documentary about life in that country. However, upon his return home, his dreams of filmmaking where put on hold when his father was diagnosed with cancer. Forced to take up odd jobs to help pay the bills, it was at this low point of his life when he was propelled to take that first step to finding his path.


Working from his parent's basement, he continued to pursue his dream of having his own television documentary show. In one year, he raised enough money to film a project on an Indian reservation. In two years, he went to Uganda to film a project for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. In three years, he became the youngest person to moderate the United Nations International Day of Peace. Today, he is the producer and host of his own TV show, PBS' “Bridge the Gap,” where he traverses the globe and walks in someone else’s shoes for one day.


Chris ended the session by inspiring students to take action and follow their passion: "Find your passion and don't think about the how, think about the why. Find out who needs your help, find out where you can be of service—that's how you're going to make a difference and that's how you'll become a global citizen."


The keynote was followed by breakout sessions covering a number of topics, such as cross-cultural negotiation, global leadership, financial literacy, public speaking, and social responsibility, all designed to help students understand what it means to be a global citizen. The event culminated with TWC's International Festival, where current TWC students representing 17 countries showcased their heritage and traditions through food, art and dance.

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