Wordless Wednesday - War Child North America Founder Dr. Samantha Nutt - Toronto Teacher Mom

Wordless Wednesday - War Child North America Founder Dr. Samantha Nutt

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Ontario Modern Languages Teachers' Assocation Spring Conference held here in Toronto. It was such a great experience and I learned a lot during most of the workshops. However, what I found most invaluable was the keynote address by War Child North America founder Dr. Samantha Nutt.

Dr. Samantha Nutt - Keynote Address OMLTA 2011
"Roots of empathy lie in language." - Dr. Samantha Nutt

She shared her views on the importance of learning another language so that one may not only be able to speak but also to listen, listen to the stories like that of a young girl who lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo and who, on more than one occasion, was raped and once had the soles of her feet cut off to prevent her from running away. This is sadly common practice, the rape, the abuse. I learned from Dr. Samantha Nutt that there is a strong correlation between the high incidence of rape and the proximity of where those rapes occur to the coltan mines, which are controlled by militia groups. She also told us that Africa has approximately 80% of the world's known coltan deposits. So what's the big deal? Coltan is used to derive tantalum which can be found in basically every cell phone and other similar devices. It's in essence a different form of blood diamonds. Because blood is violently shed due to the exploitation of coltan. That really made me think. And as I sat there with my iPhone in hand ready to tweet that astonishing fact, I thought about that poor girl and about all the high-tech devices that I personally own, and I felt ill. Up until that point, I didn't know anything about the unethical mining of coltan. Did you?

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