Laura Ling was planning to leave for her vacation today, but she changed her plans when she learned about the Adobe Youth Voices Summit taking place at Santa Clara University this week.
“I was so inspired by the work that Adobe Youth Voices is doing with young people all over the world in giving them a chance to have a voice – it’s so exciting! The way that Adobe Youth Voices supports young people by teaching them how to use media to communicate – that’s how we’re influencing change in our world.”
An American journalist, Laura Ling was arrested in 2009 while reporting on defectors from North Korea and spent 140 days in captivity. Because of this terrifying experience, she knows firsthand the urgency of building bridges through media. “The power of media is unprecedented,” she said while commenting on the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter during the democratic uprisings in the Middle East. “That young people have these tools in their grasp, [and] access to cameras, gives them a larger platform where their voices can be heard.”
Laura Ling says she is passionate about covering struggles for freedom, not only struggles on the geopolitical stage, but “the battles we have within ourselves.” While sharing her experiences interviewing Buddhist monks from Myanmar and young Muslim women fighting for their right to wear headscarves, as well as her experiences interacting with her guards in a North Korean prison, Laura challenged the audience to feel compassion and respect for the people they may view as different from themselves.
“The Summit is such a great opportunity for young people from 17 different countries to learn from and share with each other – to get to know each other,” said Laura. “In the work that you all have done in Adobe Youth Voices, you are building bridges.”
“Even the smallest actions can have impact. It can change lives, and it can save lives,” she continued, encouraging Adobe Youth Voices students in their work. “I urge you all to continue to support and be a voice for those who need one.”