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Wanis Kabbaj Delivers a Heart-Felt Talk on Cultural Identities

 - Oct 30, 2018
References: linkedin & ted
Wanis Kabbaj's talk on cultural identities is centered around a very prominent problem that has been consistent throughout history and relatively continuous in contemporary societies. The speaker is an international marketer for UPS and his experience allows him to deliver an informed, motivational and change-inspiring keynote. Kaabaj has lived in four continents. In addition to this, he is North African, with a French citizenship, and is residing in the United States. This robust background directly fuels his passionate quest for answering the question of what ideology should humanity adopt — the nationalist or the globalist agenda.

His talk on cultural identities argues that they can co-exist. In the academic sense, nationalism is defined as a "devotion to one's nation," while globalism is "the operation or planning of economic and foreign policy on a global basis." Given these descriptions, it is easy to infer where the two ideologies are in tension. The belief that in order to be a nationalist, one has to put "national interest above international consideration" contradicts the doctrine of globalism. That does not have to be the case, however.

It is inherently important to find a balance for the two to co-exist as they both impact the fundamental things we care about — from our cultural identity and prosperity to our political systems and ecology. It is in the interest of our safety, our growth, our planet. To contradict the perceived tension between nationalism and globalism, Wanis Kabbaj highlights a curious set of statistics. With a sample of 89,000 people, across 60 countries, the World Values Survey found that 88.5% of individuals feel "very proud" about their country. It also revealed that 71% of the sample agreed with the statement "I am a citizen of the world." It is evident here that we have a mismatch of feelings and definitions.

The truth of the matter is that as society progresses, so definitions change. Reducing something to a written description is incredibly limiting in an empirical setting. During his talk on cultural identities, Wanis Kabbaj pleas that we don't have to necessarily choose between loving our country and caring for the world as they are not mutually exclusive in practicality.