There is an old adage that our world seems to get smaller and smaller. Certainly with the advent of social media, many of us have been able to develop, maintain or enhance international relationships with simple posts and updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other platforms.
I have been blessed over the past couple of years to be invited to share ideas and build relationships in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Sweden and the like. This coming fall I will be presenting in Rome, Italy, and due to schedule conflicts, had to turn down an offer to visit Maputo, Mozambique, from a Mozambican intern we had the pleasure of working with this past fall.
In all of these international relationships and visits, I have been sharing information, strategies, and approaches on building social connections and the importance of social capital. These invitations really speak to the universality of the message. That is, it doesn't matter where you live, or the culture or politics of your setting, enhanced relationships will make your life better!
It also underscores that if people are devalued or off set from the culture due to a disability (or any other social variable) they are at serious risk of social isolation. And no matter where you live, some people live in social isolation from other members of their community.
So lets work to share ideas, and reach out to people in our communities who are left behind. Get to know your neighbors and as you build social capital with these new people, everyone wins.