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This week, we are featuring a very special lady on our Kick-Ass Women series! Introducing Kate Otto, a worker at the World Bank in Ethiopia, future published author, and an all around amazing woman. She created "Everyday Ambassador", which focuses on the intersection between technology and helping the world. I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her work, her upcoming book, and the fashion she has encountered during her world travel!
1. What inspired you to start "Everyday Ambassador" and even write a book about your experiences?
Throughout my young adult years, I've been blessed with incredible opportunities to travel the world--exploring over 20 countries, living for extended periods in Ghana, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Ethiopia, and engaging in eye-opening and soul-affirming service initiatives across Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The most enriching part of these various journeys was something beyond the challenge of learning new cultures, languages, and lifestyles - it was the act of building lasting friendships, which taught me precious lessons about the world and my place in it. Yet as I transitioned 'back' (and forth) to the US, I realized that my increasingly ''connected'' digital lifestyle was more often hurting my relationships (the ones abroad and at home, alike) than improving them; by trying to be 'present' in too many spaces, I was ultimately absent in all of them. So I created Everyday Ambassador as a space for human-centered souls to share their experiences in travel and service, emphasizing their strategies for authentic human connection. I never imagined, at first, that it would become a book. Now I'm excited to see what comes next! (More info on the book stay tuned at: everydayambassador.org/the-book)
2. How can someone not involved in public health make a difference and participate in this movement of "responsible global citizenship"?
One of the greatest myths of "life purpose" is that you need to work in a specific field or industry in order to truly make a difference. This is why I called the website, book, and movement "Everyday Ambassador"; because a strong global citizenry relies on the everyday actions of everyday people. Understand what you love doing and what drives you, whether that's science, teaching, art, engineering, design, or any field. Love what you do and do it well. That's your job. You will always be able to find ways to lend your talents to making a positive difference in the world, and more importantly, ways to use your interests as a common ground to unite with people from all over the planet. When we realize how much we have in common, fears and misconceptions diminish, and the capacity for peace and understanding flourishes.
3. You've traveled a lot for your job. Which country do you wish you could go back to the most?
Every country, and every community, in which I've lived has captivated me in unique ways. I like to think I have a 'home' to go back to in each of these countries, based on the relationships I formed during various visits. What I can offer are a few countries on my bucketlist! Morocco, Brazil, Greece and Turkey!
4. What fashion trends have you picked up as a result of visiting all of these amazing countries?
I really admire that in countries with rich cultural traditions, people are eager to mix classical types of jewelry or patterns of fabric with more modern fashion styles. People don't abandon their beautiful batik for Western wear, but at the same time, there's a versatility in which both new and old, east and west, foreign and domestic, are all welcome. As an American, I don't have any attachment to (or knowledge of) "traditional" American clothing, and so I usually end up adopting prints and styles from the other places I call home. I have a long skirt from Laos (tailored in Vietnam!) that I can wear literally in any country in the world and get compliments on the design. (Go Laos!)
I also love the creativity (and cooperation) that's enabled abroad when tailoring is so low cost and such incredible quality. My tailor in Indonesia is also my motorcycle mechanic (so versatile!), and we've designed several dresses together that I'm able to wear as easily in Indonesia as in Ethiopia or America.
Now can you see why we chose her to be a Kick-Ass Woman?? She has made such an impact on the world and will continue to do so. Not to mention, she has a killer fashion sense! Make sure you check her and her work out at www.everydayambassador.com and interact with them on social media!
Everyday Ambassador. She is certainly kick ass!
On March 24, 2014
The Nikita and Vesper blog is about celebrating our love of socially conscious fashion. We are sisters, the founders of Nikita and Vesper. We believe that we are all in this together, and the choices we make, from what we create to what we buy, can change the world.