Born as son of East-German and Chinese immigrants, I heard firsthand about the boundaries that communist regimes placed on their lives – being forced into an occupation, being unable to voice their opinions without being incarcerated, and constantly dreaming about what is behind the “Iron Curtain”. It taught me that many things we take for granted today – freedom of speech, fair trials, and democracy itself – are recent achievements that have long been fought for. We are in charge of ensuring they continue to flourish.
When I first came to UC Berkeley in 2017, I entered a deeply polarized campus environment, where many felt like they couldn’t voice their true opinions, fearing they would be labeled either as a “communist” or “conservative”.
Yet at the same time, I was fascinated by the insatiable desire for betterment of the status quo and the can-do attitude of the Americans around me. And this is why I love being a part of BridgeUSA – a community of bright students who strive to tackle polarization and move the world forward.
The developments we see in the political space are phenomena not only prevalent in the US but all over the world. This is why I have devoted the past one and a half years to exporting BridgeUSA’s ideas and attitude to the rest of the world. We need to realize once again that freedom of speech and openness to other ideas are prerequisites for democracy to work, and for bringing the world and its people closer together. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together over the next few years.