What I Learned Today: The danger of a single story

I’m in Montreal right now for pre-departure training for the three-month internship I’ll complete in Malawi starting in January 2014. Today was the first day of training, and I learned a lot. (Not always the case in pre-departure training sessions, as it turns out.) One of my favourite things we talked about today was this video:

In it, writer Chimamanda Adichie talks about the danger of telling a “single story” about a group of people—while stereotypes are sometimes true, they are damaging because they are incomplete. It’s an amazing TED talk, and I encourage you to watch it (though I know not everyone has 18 minutes to spare). I know I’ll definitely re-watch this before I leave for Malawi. The “single story” we might tell about Malawi is one of poverty, or high HIV/AIDS prevalence, but this video reminds me to listen to all the different stories that exist there, all the stories that might surprise me.

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