An accomplished actor, Emma Watson started her career as a child star in the popular movie-series, Harry Potter. The young actor was cast in a role that expected her to play a young geeky Hermione Granger, one that was applauded by almost everyone, even the critics. It is in 2014 however, that the world got to see the lesser known side of this now, well qualified young woman, and that was her role as a passionate advocate for Gender Equality.
At 24, Emma has already contributed to various causes in Bangladesh and Zambia in the capacity of a UN Goodwill Ambassador. She has also worked on the promotion of fair trade and organic clothing in rural Africa. In a considerably short period she has through painstaking efforts built herself as one worthy of the title of an Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women. One of the reasons to pick Watson as my first choice as an inspiring young Humanitarian was primarily for her to serve as a reminder for many an artiste offering unsolicited advice and frequently on points of politics and diplomacy, despite having little or no knowledge on the subject, to realise that while we live in democracies with the right to free speech and expression, offering half- baked and amateurish political views on matters that are outside one’s purview of understanding, is undesirable. Emma Watson could be a role model for the Acting World especially in countries like India. Actors, artistes, writers, singers, in short collectively the entire creative world have one unwritten responsibility: They bind, not break. In fact, people like Emma who are taking their role seriously are the sole reason why Humanity and Humanitarian causes are continuing in the right direction.
The world is in urgent need of a generation of empathetic, active participants, not passive observers. We have to build a generation of ‘enablers;’ young people who believe that they can make a difference. Empathy plays a key role in empowerment. To build a world that is empathetic to the world’s suffering needs voices like Emma’s, not those who indulge in photo-ops and publicity gimmicks. Our young people deserve to know the Unedited Reality of the outside world to realise that we do not have much time before an impending disaster strikes again. To make the world a better place, we need every one to become a Goodwill Ambassador without a badge.
No one could have put it better than the young actor herself who said, “I still have so much to learn, but as I progress, I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience and awareness to this role.” Notice the three key words: knowledge, experience and awareness. Instead of exposing our young to the false images of perfection, maybe we need to teach them to be perfectly imperfect. Embracing differences in terms of religion, culture, race and gender, can help to build a culture of humanitarian values; the ones that help us build each other, bind each other and believe that we as individuals and as a collective with a conscience can repair, relieve and revive the world to its old vibrant and humane form.
On World Humanitarian Day, here’s my appeal to fellow creatives across the world, Just like Emma, use your voices to be catalysts of reformation. Create the difference that you thought someone else should.
@katie_abraham on Twitter