Navigating the Global Me

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Standing on pedestal of a global village

 

Paul Udoto Nyongesa

What is the ideal way of individually adapting to the powerful phenomenon of globalization and positioning oneself in the global arena? Why should I even be thinking of a global brand given the pervasive reality that “globalization doesn’t seem to be working for the middle class, for the ordinary people,” as said by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

These questions sound rhetorical but they are profound in the global village popularized by a Canadian scholar, Marshall McLuhan.

Globalization is a wave of an interconnected world that has impacted the economy of virtually every nation, affected every industry and touched billions of lives, often in remarkable and ambiguous ways.

In its popular version, the dynamic force of globalization is meant to signify integration and unity. But the reality we can hardly ignore is that we now live in a new world where the very force of globalization seems to be retreating in the face of nationalist agendas and populism.

Given this reality, do I want a global brand? And, at what cost or risk? Won’t this be self-defeating in the light of the dangerous emergence of a world of populism, divisiveness and fear of others? Won’t I be perceived as a sell-out to the so-called others?

These are some of the important questions I have to grapple with. However, one reason I need to build a global brand is because of my exciting year-long stay in the US as a Humphrey Fellow. This year will not only broaden my perspectives on global issues but also foster a better understanding of cultures.

Therefore, I should project a global brand that fosters greater understanding among nations and international collaboration. I am now part of the solution to challenge the flattening world and the obstacles it presents.

Whether or not we like it, we live in a ‘flat,’ technologically connected world, as put by renowned New York Times Foreign Affairs columnist Thomas Friedman.  The only challenge is how to adapt to this reality.

From a practical point of view, I have a couple of platforms to project a global brand, including social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as speaking opportunities. A few questions remain: How much of my private life should be projected on these platforms? How do I strike a balance between my nationalistic instincts and internationalist values? And how do I position myself as a global leader, yet be rooted in my particular country?

The bottom line is that I should be cautious with the personal details I share with the public. Many people look up to me as a role model and I should live up to their expectations in person and online. It also naturally follows that I should serve as a ladder for others to climb to their full potential through coaching and mentorship. That begins with how I project my global brand, and the legacy I want to leave behind.

Captions:

Screenshot of one of the books by Marshall McLuhan on globalization.

Screenshot of Paul Udoto Twitter account: An example of  branding on social media

 

 

 

 

About pnyonges

Paul Udoto Nyongesa, Kenya Paul has 23 years of experience as a high school teacher, journalist and communication expert. He is a passionate champion for environmental conservation and has written extensively on wildlife and tourism in various publications and served as contributing editor with Msafiri (The Traveller), national airline carrier Kenya Airways inflight magazine since 2011. He has been instrumental in coordinating publicity for high-level ivory burning events in Kenya in 2011, 2014 and 2016. Paul has also been an associate consultant with Impact Africa, a Nairobi-based strategic communications firm, and for the last four years served as a media liaison with the Rhino Charge, an annual charitable off-road motor competition which raises funds for conservation. He is away on sabbatical leave from the Kenya Wildlife Service Communications Manager where he oversees relations between the government wildlife agency and various stakeholders. Paul is a social media enthusiast who holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Moi University, a postgraduate diploma in mass communication and a master’s degree in communication studies, both from the University of Nairobi in Kenya. He also holds a certificate in strategic leadership from the Kenya School of Government. He is currently a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow (a Fulbright exchange activity sponsored by the US State Department) based at the Arizona State University’s Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication for one year. During Humphrey year, Paul plans to focus on the use of new digital communication tools, social media, media literacy, international media relations, crisis communication and leadership. He plans to devote the opportunity to strengthening his leadership and public mobilization skills.

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