On Friday I will travel from Sweden to Tanzania to volunteer with a local organization that empowers children through education. On my journey there, I will fly through Istanbul, Turkey. Yesterday at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport three suicide bombers took the lives of 36 individuals and injured an estimated 140 more. This is the most recent terrorist attack that has caused undue pain, suffering and fear in our world - the latest tragedy among far too many.
I won’t pretend to be well-versed in the complexities of international relations and the conditions that facilitate terrorist groups. I will not be so naive to think that widespread disillusionment, fear and subsequent hatred can be unseated easily. I will readily admit that I am no expert on these things. But here is what I do know.
I know that curiosity towards different people and different cultures is a step towards tolerance. It is tough to hate a person when he has told you about who or what he loves. It is difficult to judge a person when you have seen how he lives.
I know that education and opportunity for young people is a crucial piece in this very complex puzzle. Students who have hope for the future become people who work towards a better one.
I know that people are inherently kind. I see this in my 10 year-old students. I’ve seen this in my travels abroad. I experienced this in Boston following the Marathon bombings. And I know this from countless stories of everyday heroes.
When I walk through Ataturk Airport Friday afternoon, I will say a prayer for those who have lost their lives, a prayer for their loved ones. I will pray for a world that is more curious and kind, a world that pursues knowledge and understanding. And then I will do something - however small - to work towards just that.