To Save the World and Find a Good Dinner Party Story
By Charlotte Laws
Application to the New York Times to travel to Africa with Columnist Nicolas Kristof. This essay with supposed to be biographical and also explain what the candidate would like to study while in Africa. Charlotte Laws was not chosen to be Kristof's traveling companion, but this was her essay.
When it comes to travel, Iíve been a lightweight, closing my eyes and easing my big toe into the frigid pool, then yelping like a pup and hightailing it into my toasty American home. But this time I am ready to open my eyes and dive into what I believe will be a life-changing experience for me and hopefully thousands of my readers. I vow to pack many African sounds and images into my suitcase and bring them home with me.
I am student, but an
atypical one. I am 48 years old and have a Ph.D. in Social Ethics as well as two
Mastersí degrees (in Professional Writing and Social Ethics). I hold two BA
Degrees in Philosophy and Theatre and have completed post-doctoral studies at
I am also interested in researching microcredit (or micro-lending), which is highly successful method for assisting the poor in developing countries. As an entrepreneur and business owner in the real estate industry for the past 20 years, I am curious as to how extensively microcredit has been implemented on the African continent, whether it has blossomed to its full potential and how it could be broadened to benefit the masses.
Defending animals and
the environment truly animates my heart, as evidenced by the two nonprofit
organizations I founded: The League for Earth and Animal Protection (LEAP) and
the Los Angeles Directors of Animal Welfare (DAW). I am the acting president of
both and give speeches on animal and environmental issues at venues throughout
the country. Two years ago, the FBI hired me to speak at their
I was an Aids Project Los Angeles (APLA) volunteer for many years (before most people knew what AIDS was) and am interested on finding ways to assist a people whose culture may not always be conducive to AIDS-related assistance.
I realize I am a little older than what you expect in a ďstudent,Ē but I am a glass half full because I can potentially motivate both young and middle-aged Americans to learn and explore, to pursue their dreams, to persevere, and above all, to devote themselves to those less fortunate. I have authored articles, a book and a couple of chapters for anthologies. My latest piece discusses Jainism, a primarily Indian religion that focuses on ahimsa (nonviolence)--the principle I (and Jains) most revere. I visited a Jain temple in Southern California, interviewed dozens of adherents and found the experience to be moving, spiritual, and at times, humorous.
Finally, I should
mention that my husband was born in Africa and repeatedly tells dinner guests
the unnerving, but exciting story about being held at gunpoint and abducted in