man looking at the horizon

International cooperation: how wide are your horizons?

man looking at the horizon

As I write this I am on a train that began its journey in Prague, in the Czech Republic, and will end at Munich, Germany. Within the first five minutes of boarding I’ve heard conversations in Chinese, Arabic and Spanish. While I frequently travel ‘the last bit’ of this route between home and work, the atmosphere today reminds me of the wonderful opportnity I had for international cooperation as a young adult: to InterRail around Europe, and then expand my horizons and earning potential by working ‘abroad.’ And there was much room for expansion, as I grew up on a small island in Scotland without many advantages other than a decent education.

Taking personal responsibility for the team effort

I could, less poetically, grumble that my train is running half an hour late, it’s pretty old rolling stock, or hundred other imperfections in the overall infrastructure. Nothing is perfect in life, after all, and the more moving parts there are in a system, the harder it can be to coordinate all the inputs, processes and outputs. Perhaps I’m just a ‘glass half full’ kind of person. More likely, it’s that I’m realistic about the personal contribution that we all need to make to a team effort to achieve great things. I don’t expect things to be easy, or to be given preferential treatment.

Don’t mention politics!

That’s probably why – like many – I find the ‘debate’ around the US Presidential candidates and the UK referendum so deeply troubling. We have great opportunities that we need to work together to achieve, not to mention massive challenges to overcome. There are enough crazies shooting up American schools and night clubs, do you really want to put one in the White House?

Brits: what is your evidence that the UK will be politically, economically, culturally or socially stronger outside of a united Europe, rather than making an appropriately strong contribution to a united team effort? That The Sun and Boris Johnson say so! Even when it is in direct contrast to hundreds of world leaders, investing businesses, experts & influencers, and British subjects like me who have taken advantage of the benefits and freedoms that membership that the European Union offers. Even if you opt for narrower horizons – which is your choice – would you deny that option to the coming generations?

I’ve already posted my vote to keep Britain as a strong member of the European Union, and I wholeheartedly encourage all Brits to do the same on the June 23.

Choosing the right direction – its easy to go wrong!

Update: Writing this bit on the way back from an unscheduled 4-hour stopover in Domazlice, just across the Czech border. Turns out I caught the train going the wrong way and didn’t notice due to writing blog posts, etc. Let’s hope that the UK and the US – unlike me – will choose the right direction.

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