My own ethnic background and life experience are at the root of my interest in visiting new places and learning about different cultures: the eldest son of a Romanian Holocaust survivor and a French-Canadian mother who is one quarter Iroquois, I was born in Puerto Rico and lived there for fourteen years. My mother was raised as a Catholic and converted to Judaism when she married my father, and I was raised as a Jew in a conservative Puerto Rico synagogue whose congregation was mostly Cuban. So I’ve always had an interest in meeting people with unusual ethnic backgrounds and personal stories—I have yet to meet someone whose story isn’t interesting and unique.
Since 2002 I’ve traveled in the Arab Middle East (Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Dubai), Israel, Ecuador, Costa Rica, the U.K., France, and Australia, both on business and on family holidays with my wife and two children. On these trips, be they for business or pleasure, I make a point of meeting local people through mutual friends— this network of relationships has enriched my life experience and opened my eyes to the fact that globalization, whether one likes it or not, is here to stay. Our children and our children’s children will grow up not only as citizens of their home country, but as citizens of the world; it is important to show respect and sensitivity to people whose traditions and beliefs differ from our own, embracing our points of connection and honoring our differences.
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