University of California - Irvine
Is the World Flat?
Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
“The world is flat.” When I was little, I never believed this line. I would always show off in class, proudly proclaiming: “The earth is a sphere!” But now, I see the line again, on the title of a book by Thomas Friedman—and, this time, I have no easy response.
When I was thirteen, my father gave me a world atlas. Immediately attracted to the curving coastlines and the curious shapes of the many different countries, I started my “world exploration”. Impressed by my growing knowledge, my classmates would often quiz me on facts about small countries with “funny names” like Lesotho in Africa or island countries like Vanuatu in the South Pacific. But I was not satisfied with knowing only the geographical features of these countries. I wanted to know more about their people, their history, and their culture. I dreamt of wine from southern France, the tasty barbeques of Buenos Aires, traditional dances such as the Adowa (Ghana) and Joget (Malaysia), and of one day seeing the magnificent Great Pyramids of Giza and the grandiose Taj Mahal.
Miraculously, I was soon able to begin realizing my dream. Only a year after receiving the atlas, I was privileged to meet talented peers from all over the world through the Young Masters Program...
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