This talk will explore what it’s like reporting from a forgotten crisis. It’ll look at why we connect more with some crises and not others and why it matters if we relate at all. As humans, we’re numb to large numbers of people but we’re receptive to individual stories. This talk aims to put a human face at the heart of the crisis in South Sudan and explain why when we shut off from what’s going on around us, we’re in danger of losing some of our own humanity.
Sam is a freelance journalist and the South Sudan Correspondent for the Associated Press. She’s worked and lived all over the world including Africa, Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East covering conflict, post conflict and development stories. Sam writes for the Associated Press, The New Humanitarian, VICE, The Guardian, Foreign Policy and Devex, among other publications. When she’s not in the field, Sam hosts a weekly talk radio show in Barcelona.
Imagine your Message in a Bottle was found in 5 years time. How would you hope the Earth was different then?
I‘d hope we will have been more intentional about not shutting ourselves off to contexts we don‘t relate to, by seeking out the human face at the heart of the crisis. Especially in situations that we find harder to connect with either because they‘re far away or seem too large and complex.
Who would be your Mr Wilson on a deserted island?
I’d want something to be able to write with. A pen or pencil. Writing is how I express myself, it’s how I work things out when I’m struggling with something, it’s how I make sense of things. It’s cathartic. And you can always go back and read what you wrote at a time in your life. It gives you perspective on who you were then and who you wanted to be and where you wanted to go.
Is your idea for TEDxKaunas 2019 an “SOS signal”, a “lucky charm”, a “reminder” or maybe something else?
It‘s an acknowledgement that it‘s hard to care about people and contexts we can‘t relate to. With so many global problems we sometimes forget that they affect real people living real lives. But when we shut ourselves off the danger is that we lose a bit of our own humanity.