My confliction does not stem from an insecurity regarding my own beliefs but rather from my opposition to many of the professed beliefs and principles upon which this denomination, as well as many other religious doctrines, base their public relations and political activities. In particular I find myself very much chagrined by the institutionalized homophobia expressed by many orthodox faiths and the subsequent anti-gay activism that results from that policy. The work I am seeking to do with this organization is truly altruistic in nature and represents an opportunity for me to gain practical and tangible experience in the field I have chosen as my mission in life. On the one hand, I have the utmost respect for this organization in its efforts towards refugee and immigrant settlement and assistance (which is the area of the organization that I am applying for) while on the other hand I am having trouble reconciling this admirable venture with the proportionally deplorable efforts to thwart marriage-equality campaigns and other such gay-rights movements.
The question I have been asking myself as of late is "Can I put aside my disagreement with this organization on one issue in order to work positively towards another objective?" The answer I have arrived at is an emphatic "yes". I am willing to compartmentalize my feelings on the issue of gay rights in order to become an agent of good and help to bring about some semblance of dignity and stability to an incredibly vulnerable and unfortunate group of people seeking refuge and asylum in this country. I've reached the conclusion that interfaith cooperation is beneficial to all parties involved, especially when working cooperatively towards a common philanthropic goal. Though I may disagree heartily with certain aspects of many religious beliefs and principles, I am willing to accept these differences in philosophy in order to affect positive social change.
The thing that allows me to bridge these doctrinal disparities is the unifying and all-inclusive force of cosmopolitanism. Part of the application process for this internship was to submit a writing sample in addition to all of the usual resume-related materials. I decided to compose an original piece specifically directed towards this internship in which I highlighted my adherence to the moires of cosmopolitanism. I have included the brief essay below so that those of you who are interested may take a gander. As always, I'd love to hear what you think!
A Call To Cosmopolitan Compassion
The very definition of what it is to be cosmopolitan does not adequately explain the importance of the cause: “free from local, provincial, or national ideas, prejudices, or attatchments”. While this definition does outline crucial components of cosmopolitanism, it lacks the subtle but no less important moral and ethical responsibilities incumbent upon those of us who claim the cosmopolitan mantle. To be a true cosmopolitan or citizen of the world means to lead a life characterized and defined by compassion and a deep, abiding devotion to the idea that we all have the right to human dignity and prosperity, regardless of such demographic factors as national origin or racial identification.
One of the most vulnerable subsections of the world population is the growing number of refugees and asylum-seekers attempting to escape immensely difficult, often mortally perilous conditions in their native homelands. Many of these people have witnessed or experienced atrocities and hardships that most of us can only dream of in our worst nightmares. In addition to the traumatic and violent experiences from which they are fleeing, they must deal with the cultural and language barriers presented to them once they arrive at their desired place of refuge. The notions of social justice and equality are often alien to refugees and asylum-seekers who have known nothing but despotism and oppression. This presents another set of obstacles to overcome as these people must undergo a fundamental reorientation of their outlook and expectations regarding society and government. Refugees from Africa, Asia and Latin America come to the shores of the
seeking an opportunity for a better life while at the same time possessing very little in terms of material objects and even less exposure to democracy and institutional fairness. United States
The application of cosmopolitan values while trying to settle and assimilate refugees would be immeasurably beneficial. Equally as, if not even more important than providing access to clothing and housing for physical comfort and stability is the provision of kindness and understanding to begin the process of healing mental and emotional wounds. It is vitally important to make clear that despite what they may have been told or shown in their tumultuous pasts they are equally valuable members of the world community and deserve the respect and dignity intrinsic to all human beings. It is difficult to imagine growing up in an environment where human life and dignity are valued so little by those in power; being consistently treated as subhuman and worthless can only serve to critically damage the self-esteem and self-worth of any individual subjected to such treatment for so long. The cosmopolitan ethos stresses the principles of egalitarianism and the value of all people and the practical implementation of these principles in helping refugees and asylum-seekers is a moral imperative that cannot be ignored.
As a self-professed cosmopolite I am obviously subjectively advocating the increased awareness and instillment of the philosophy; the beauty of cosmopolitanism is that, in accordance with its emphasis on inclusiveness and universality, it is compatible with most other ethical or moral codes. The principles of Christianity and Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, and any other religiously or spiritually derived ethical system, are fundamentally in unison with cosmopolitanism. All of these belief systems and philosophies stress charity and compassion towards others as not only a desirable disposition but a clear and self-evident duty. We cosmopolitans view ourselves as the unifying force espousing values and tenets that people of all faiths, nationalities, races, and ethnicities can embrace. This is a call for all of us as a global community comprised of truly global citizens to the cause of cosmopolitan compassion.