Interview with Melanne Verveer
Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues
Our final interview of the trip was with Ambassador Melanne Verveer. This interview made the experience come full circle for me. We began our journey interviewing Vital voices President, Alyse Nelson, and ended it by interviewing Ambassador Melanne Verveer, one of the founders of Vital Voices. Ambassador Verveer spoke about many of the same issues. She also echoed Alyse Nelson saying that we as teenagers need to be aware of those issues and actively work to change them. Melanne Verveer seemed to have confidence in us. She said, “You are the future!…You have the power inside you!” Her parting advice to us was that we must be participatory citizens and to appreciate our rights. It’s a gift in itself to be born into this country, but with this gift comes the responsibility to be conscious of the issues we face and help those who aren’t as fortunate as we are. She also reassured us that no matter what we can make a difference. She said, “One person can make a difference, in fact, it’s the only thing that has ever made a difference.” Hearing this from someone who has had such a positive impact on so many peoples lives inspired me and gave me confidence that if I care and try, I can make a difference.
I will admit, at first I thought I just wanted to get through the last interview of the trip and get on the plane home. However, once the interview with Ambassador Verveer began she changed all that. The things she said drew me in and seeing how willing she was to be there with us made me be present and take in the last interview of the trip. Many things she said stood out for me. One of them was, “Human rights are universal rights.” All of us have the same rights no matter where we are in the world. This is one of the things that connect us. I never really thought about it this way before.
Another thing that struck me was when she said, “One person can make a difference, in fact it’s the only thing that has ever made a difference.” I have always heard people say that one person can make a difference but when she said that it is the only way we have been making a difference it had an impact on me. I thought back on all the people that have made a difference in the world. Change always starts with one person wanting to change the world and then they go out and change it. Yes, they have people who help them along the way but they came up with the idea and they went out and made the change happen. Ambassador Verveer’s words gave me faith that no matter who you are, if you are committed, you can make a difference. It doesn’t have to be a big change; even a small deed will make an impact.