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Becoming a World Citizen with ProZ Pro Bono

Updated: Feb 26

Part 1: the vision

In his 1967 Christmas Sermon on Peace, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

If his words rang true in the divided and heated atmosphere of the late 60s, they have even more resonance now at a time of political polarisation, international conflict and proliferating nuclear weapons, not to mention a breakdown in traditional sources of authority and guidance (from religion to the media and even government in some cases).

Add to these spiralling debt, environmental meltdown, increasing poverty and mass migration, and you have what scholars around the world have come to term the “polycrisis”. No longer is it a question of one massive challenge, but an interwoven ecosystem of so-called "wicked problems" ("wicked" because highly complex) that all impact on each other.  Our profound collective confusion arises from the fact that we’re simultaneously in an age where we’ve never had it so good, and never teetered so perilously close to destruction.

E.O. Wilson, the father of biodiversity, aptly described our inability to process this: "We have paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and god-like technologies."

Given that, how on earth do we cope? All too often, the answer is simply that we don't. Some take refuge in fundamentalist tribalism – the certainty that you and your in-group possess all the truth, while others, outside the fold, are wrong. Such fundamentalisms can be religious, but they can also revolve around conspiracy theories, QAnon, politics, crypto, or even diet.

Others seek out the pleasures of hedonism: drinking or drugging themselves into oblivion, developing addictions to everything from porn to poker to binge-Netflixing. Lost in their own pursuit of escape, they dance while the planet burns.

A third group is succumbing to despair, as evidenced by a rise in nihilism throughout the Western world. "There's nothing I can do and we're all screwed anyway". Take the UK for example, where suicide is the biggest killer of males under 45. And that's just one of a range of "diseases of despair", including all kinds of anxiety, mental illness and depression.

How, in the face of all this planet-wide bewilderment, do we form a fourth group and maintain what University of Chicago Professor Jonathan Lear calls “radical hope”? How do we keep our heads above the water and help others do likewise? It’s a long and challenging journey, but it begins with awakening to the fact that we’re all in this together, which brings us right back to MLK’s “world perspective”.

In the next post, I’ll explain how such a perspective begins on a micro scale, and can be cultivated over time. We'll also explore how we as translators are perhaps ideally placed to embark on this journey, and how ProZ Pro Bono can serve as a means of transport to take us closer to our destination.

Translations :

pt-br translation
ar translation
it translation

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Hi Paul and community! There are some facts that scared me and made me feel sad. But, as you say helping each other, living in the present, and looking forward to the future with radical hope, everything seems better and blissful. My main relief is that God protects us! Thank you for this motivational post! 😊


Great post Andrew, very hopeful and inspiring!


Wonderful to read! Thanks. Radical hope - such a beautiful concept! Once touched upon in one of the news letters. Waiting to see the world perspective going from micro to macro...


Thank you for your insight and the names I now need to research. For a number of years, I have been doing my best to hold on to a rather simple lifestyle, consume as responsibly as possible and educate people around me beyond their own closed little circle of difficulties. I hope one day all the tiny waves of change we are responsible for can unite into a big tsunami saving our planet and (maybe as an added bonus) our civilisations.

Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

Glad it struck a chord Yuna! I think those actions you describe are excellent. We each need to operate at the level, whether local or global, that suits our own abilities. The key is to be doing something!


This is brilliantly written Andrew! It does resonate with me and with so many of us, I suppose. I can't wait for the next part! May I try to translate it into Portuguese as I feel it is so important to pass this on?

Şu kişiye cevap veriliyor:

Yes of course Silvia! I’d be delighted.


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