Lessons on Contagious Optimism, Hope and Global Citizenship

This morning I was walking on the sea shore on the outskirts of Rome, in the city of Ostia, where I find some time to relax and recharge my batteries. The view of the sea and the sound of the waves make my soul calm and grateful for what I have in life and for what I can positively and truthfully give back to society.

View from Ostia Lido, Italy

The journey and the encounters along my way to reach Ostia ( from Rome downtown it is an accessible metro tour to Piramide and then there is a train station that directly brings you close to the beach) were meaningful and a "reality-check" on what truly happens outside of your workplace and of your home.

During the week I have been following the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos in which Al Gore and Pharell Williams also announced a Global Live-Earth concert to raise awareness on ecology, sustainability and our sense of responsibility towards the planet and towards the risks of climate change. I carefully read the Oxfam latest report on inequality and on wealth concentrated in 1 percent of all the world population, and the debates around it, when my thoughts and attention finally landed on the Bill and Melinda Gates Annual letter and their interesting bet.

In an enlightening video, Bill and Melinda encourages us to embrace their bet as our bet, to believe with Optimism that in 15 years the lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history.

Major breakthroughs in online education, access to agricultural crops, new vaccines to fight diseases like polio, malaria, HIV will empower people and will accelerate progress in developing countries, saving lives and building more sustainable and resilient societies.

Innovation and Technology will drive the change, with wider access to mobile phones, tablets and internet connection. Mobile phones will be the transformers in agriculture: All via text messages, farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa will learn about improved seeds and fertilizers, get the education and training about techniques like crop rotation, follow the daily weather report, and track market prices. With internet connection, mobile banking will allow equal access to both men and women to digital banking to save their money, deposit their sales and make payments, and be ready to spend them on the family's needs, creating a whole new ripple positive effects on health, economic and social outcomes.

Online education will become a huge knowledge platform connecting teachers around the globe and students will be able to make the most out of their lives. Education will be available to anyone, with a smartphone and tablet. Education is one of the most wide-reaching and beneficial development investments, raising people out of poverty, helping to provide essential work and life skills and contributing to empowerment and health.

While having the chance to speak with different people, ranging from various social and economic backgrounds, I realized that we all want and share the desire to develop and improve, and offer the best opportunities for our children. Time matters, geography matters, but, as both Bill and Melinda told the Stanford Graduates of 2014, "feeling the other" should be our priority. Empathy goes along with Optimism, and "If you want to do the most, you have to go see the worst, and it is the people that you can't help that inspire you the most."

So let's take their example and let other people inspire us. If we want to solve the world's most pressing challenges and problems, we have to face them when they appear and we do not have to turn away from them. Expanding our circle of compassion and acting as global empathic citizens will open doors to explore the immense opportunities in the world for us to truly make things better. Ciao!