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first, there was this thing called “terrorism” where people (not states?!?) attacked other countries. second, there was a guy named nelson mandela who was fighting against something called “apartheid,” a policy that (to my 7th grade mind) seemed about 100 years out of step with the rest of the planet.
i didn’t do anything worth mentioning during that conference — i was so, so incredibly confused — but I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Mandela was the first public figure to teach me that the world could be a better place if we just fought for what we believe in.
i’ll never be a Mandela, or a Gorbachev, or even a James Baker, but hopefully i’ll be able to make the ocean a little better, children a little safer, the climate a little more stable — and give my kids just a little less work to do to clean up our mess when they grow up.