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In a world of limitless digital networks, we are indisputably more connected than ever before. But does the very nature of our hyper-connected, multi-tasked lifestyle threaten the authenticity of our relationships and interactions? Everyday Ambassador tackles this crucial question at a time when “global citizenship” is the new currency of cool, as careers and lifestyles trend toward social enterprise, purpose-driven missions, and desires to make a difference in the world. This critical commentary points out our twenty-first century societal state of emergency: constant digital immersion can breed impatient, distracted behavior, and ultimately hinder our best efforts to understand and connect with others.
Pairing ten years of experience in international public service with Millennial insight, Kate Otto offers a unique solution to readers who aspire to live a lifestyle of service. Everyday Ambassador explores the four core values that foster deeper connectedness in tech-centric societies—focus, empathy, patience, and humility—and explains that it’s not whether but how we choose to employ technology that determines our fate. Do we use it to become closer to people who are distant from us, or do we create new distances between ourselves and those with whom we would otherwise be close? Full of tips, exercises, and inspiring stories Everyday Ambassador shows how and why we must re-learn to make authentic connections before we can make a difference in our digitally distracted world.
Advance Praise for Everyday Ambassador
Dr. Paul Farmer; Founding Director of Partners in Health and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School: “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.”
David Bornstein; New York Times Opinionator Journalist and Author of How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas: “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.”
Irshad Manji; Founder, Moral Courage Project: “A powerful 21st 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.”
Trabian Shorters; Vice President of Communities, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: “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 21st century citizenship, and how we can use technology in pursuit of, not deterioration of, strong communities.”
Daniel Epstein; Founder of Unreasonable Institute & Unreasonable Group: “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.”
Mireille Cronin Mather; Executive Director, Foundation for Sustainable Development: “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 17 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 appreciate to Kate for doing a huge service for community-based development!”
Ellen Schall; Dean, NYU Robert Wagner School of Public Service: “Kate Otto writes as a millenial yet has lessons to offer all of us. She writes from her heart and from her travels and helps us see that “how” is as important as “what”; that in order to change the world, we must change ourselves; and finally that deep connections trump multi-tasking. I applaud her commitment and her wisdom.”
Gabriel I. Brodbar; Director, Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Program in Social Entrepreneurship: “Everyday Ambassador is a book whose time is long overdue, and Kate Otto is a changemaker who exhibits that all too rare combination of realizing great impact with deep humility. The lens through which she views the world is as much a student’s as it is a teacher’s, and the lessons she shares by example will have a profound impact on how social entrepreneurs understand themselves and their work. Everyday Ambassador reminds us of the power of human connection, and how courageous self-reflection is a necessary first step for those who hope to responsibly change the world, and be transformed themselves in the process.”
Andrew Rich; Executive Secretary, Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation: “Everyday Ambassador presents a terrific portrait of an often-missing perspective on public service. Kate Otto’s stories illustrate how important the contributions of “everyday people” can be to foreign affairs and international relations in an era of globalization. I applaud Kate’s commitment to making a difference in the world. Her thoughtful assessment of the value of humility and self-reflection is a great read with useful lessons for those of us who make our careers in public service.”
John Sexton; President, New York University: “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.”
Susan Davis; Co-author, Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know; Founding President & CEO, BRAC USA: “Disparaging her generation’s addiction to multi-tasking and superficial digital connections, [Kate] offers hard won critical insights to others who want to be of service in the world as she discovers that the way to change the world is to change yourself.”