The power of a strong narrative and its ripple effect can be overwhelming...
Back in October 2014, while working at TEDGlobal in Rio, I suggested to TED speaker Melissa Fleming, the UNHCR Head of Communications, to give a talk on refugees and the Mediterranean in Greece. Back then the flow of refugees from Turkey to Greece via boats was already a reality, but nothing compared to the thousands of people fleeing in these so called "death boats" in the following months.
Melissa and I worked on her talk for the TEDxThessaloniki event in May 2015. In this journey our co-traveller was my trusted colleague and good friend Elena Papadopoulou, TEDxThessaloniki Curator. By then, seven months after Rio, the situation in the Aegean Sea was reaching its peak and media attention was on the largest refugee crisis since WWII. In Thessaloniki, Melissa told the heartbreaking story of Doaa, a young Syrian woman who saved a little girl's life and became a hero, while being aboard an overload ship carrying more than 500 refugees.
In November 2015 her talk was released on TED.com, reaching 1.2 million views as I'm writing this post. One of the strongest narratives on refugees so far, Melissa is now writing a book based on this talk that will be released sometime during fall 2016. You can also hear her latest interview at the TED hour on NPR.
While it's unfortunate that the refugee situation continues to get worse, it's satisfying to be part of a process that increases awareness on such important world events.
It's a small contribution to trying to make this world a better place.