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|America’s Young ‘Globals’ See U.S. Role Differently, Author Says|
|News Releases - General Info|
|Written by Ginny Grimsley|
|Tuesday, 31 July 2012 12:14|
He Notes Benefits of Millennials’ Itch to Travel, Work Abroad
Just a couple decades ago, only the young adult children of the very rich, the very religious or the very adventurous ventured abroad to live and work in other cultures.
“It was a life-changing experience for those of us fortunate enough to be offered it,” says Ross Palfreyman a lawyer who recounts his two years as a young missionary during the 1970s in Two Years in God’s Mormon Army (www.mormonarmy.net).
“If you had wealthy parents, joined the Peace Corps or belonged to a faith with a belief in mission work, you were able to develop empathy and a broader world view at a younger age,” he says.
“In my church, young men typically go abroad for their mission trip at 19 years old and stay for two years. For Baptists, it may be a group of high school students spending their spring break building a church in Haiti. Whatever the reason, the lessons learned were the same: Less ethnocentricity, the gratification that comes from service to your fellow man, self-discipline, self-sacrifice.”
Travel abroad for work and study is no longer the experience of a select few and that has helped shape America’s young adults for the better, Palfreyman says. Surveys show they have a global world view fostered by the internet and social networks that cross boundaries.
Having online “friends” in other countries and being immediately connected to events in faraway lands through social networks such as Twitter makes them curious about and respectful of other cultures, he says.
“America’s young adults are the ‘First Globals,’ a term coined by the pollster John Zogby,” Palfreyman says. “The group of people born from 1979 to 1990 travel; they embrace and feel connected to other cultures; they want to make a difference.”
That’s exactly what his two years as a missionary did for him, Palfreyman says.
He notes these characteristics of 22- to 33-year-olds:
The problems we face today, such as global warming and regional conflicts, will require nations and cultures to work together toward solutions, Palfreyman says.
“This generation just might be able to achieve that.”
About Ross H. Palfreyman
Ross H. Palfreyman is a Laguna Beach, Calif., lawyer who began his mission work in 1973 in Thailand, during the Vietnam War and the Thai Revolution of ’73. Two years of trying to convince devout Buddhists that they’d be better off as Mormons was trying enough, he also was threatened at gunpoint and fended off parasites and rabid dogs during his “indentured servitude.” He initially wrote about his experiences for his six children. Palfreyman’s youngest son returns from his mission in Mexico in August.
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