Speech to MLK Scholars (Transcript)

In January, the Amos Bursary hosted the Martin Luther King Scholars at the Linklaters Head Office. It was an insightful and inspiring evening as ambitious young people from the UK and across the pond joined together to bring solutions to very pressing questions regarding global justice.

I was called to give a speech about the importance of international experience (whether it be cultural, educational or professional advancement) for young people. I also touched upon my unforgettable time in New York City last summer. Below is the transcript of my speech.

To think that one Google search, 2 years ago, would have allowed me to spend one month in New York City, working for one of the most prestigious architectural companies in the world is a thought that allows me to continuously believe that anything is possible as long as we are willing to put in the work. As we ushered in 2013, I had set some goals for myself to ensure I had a productive year. I remember searching for opportunities for young people in London and coming across the Amos Bursary. The rest as they say is history.

I think in showing how vital the Amos Bursary overseas’ programme is, we need to refer to the statistics. And a key statistic that illustrates the need for the programme is found in the fact that only 6% of students in the UK will participate in some type of overseas work experience during their academic experience. This essentially means that only 6% of UK students will have had a opportunity to develop the cultural understanding and awareness that working in another country provides. Yet two thirds of top UK employers say that having professional work experience overseas makes a candidate more employable. The globalization of our world has made having cultural awareness a necessity as its vital to the UK maintaining its’ competitive advantage.

My work with Adjaye Associates was both challenging and exciting – Troy, another Amos Bursary student and I provided support to the research team. Our research included Adjaye projects both here in the UK and US. One very exciting project on which we worked, involved the design and construction of the prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; which is in close proximity to the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King gave his iconic ‘I have a Dream’ speech.

Max, an Amos Bursary student, studying at the University of Birmingham who spent a summer at Deutsche Bank in Chile and Sao Paulo – says, “with a really competitive and global job market, companies are more and more developing a global outlook and one way to really stand out is having international experience on your CV”

In summing up I will leave you with an excerpt of my blog post which I wrote about my time in New York titled; “A New York Love affair”

As I would walk down the dusty roads of Brooklyn, exchanging short but pleasant courtesies with locals while simultaneously avoiding pot holes – it dawned on me that despite the glitz, glamour and grandeur Manhattan had to offer, I was falling in love with Brooklyn. Brooklyn resonated with me because I could see that the locals personified the hustle that New York had become so well known for. In their eyes was a dream and in their hands were a chance, an opportunity, a hope that they clung to tightly. It was this same dream of a better life for themselves and their close ones that ignited the venture of many immigrants in past centuries to New York – creating a melting pot of immigrants all eager to cash in on the American Dream. It was this same dream that had led me to New York, a dream that seemed to transcend borders and lay at the very core of my purpose.

Thank you.

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