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In the Hive

October 18, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Today I'm using this space to express my gratitude. I'm grateful for this life. I'm grateful to be in Estherville, in Iowa, in the United States. I'm grateful to the people here, several of whom made it possible for me to get to Boston at the end of June to be part of Hive Global Leaders Program.

After meeting 120 new global leaders, plus alumni and founders of the program, begun in 2014 in San Francisco by two Harvard Business School graduates, I attained a new appreciation for the United States, for being an American. Before the program, I met a young man from Senegal who was chosen for the program, but his visa was denied. Hammy would have been a great candidate he is trying to provide a better education for Senegalese orphans and also raising funds for them to have beds, and medicine for scabies, along with books and one day tablet computers. For now, he's going to try to get a student visa to earn his Master's degree in the U.S.

I met Malia from Algeria. We had plans to explore the city of Boston together after the program was over. Malia arrived at U.S. immigration only to be taken aside. For three hours, immigration officials grilled her with questions, seemingly the same ones over and over, about "Do you love America?" "Do you hold ill will toward Americans? Why did you apply to this Hive?"

"If this is how your state department is trying to protect you guys from another attack, I would say they're not doing their job," Malia said. They gave her a three day visa, so we couldn't tour together after all. I'm working on a strongly worded letter to the state department. Because I have the privilege (still for now anyway) to express my views to the government without recrimination. Hammy and Malia, despite the fact that they were chosen as promising leaders out of thousands of applicants all over the earth, do not.

How was Hive? It was spectacular. Still difficult to describe. I met Herman Duarte, the nephew of the late Salvadoran president Jose Napoleon Duarte who was called the father of El Salvador's democracy; Herman now has a civil rights law practice. President Duarte had an Iowa connection, Herman told me. When he came to the U.S. to gain support for democracy in El Salvador, only one member of Congress would dare to meet with him: Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. The Duarte family always thought of Iowa as a place of strong people and good values after that, Herman said. Herman's civil rights work is already informing my plays, and our conversations in Spanish over Skype will help me in my reporting.

I met CEOs and Afghanistan war veterans, the founder of the Momconomy (a trade exchange among mothers who are business owners in South Africa, set to go global), a nonprofit leader who was featured this week in Essence magazine, a chairman of the board of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and other amazing leaders from Italy to Azerbaijan, India to Gabon to Vietnam to Nigeria. This transformed my view of race and ethnicity. We're all in the human race. That's all. Can we work toward not "othering" any others?

The co-founder, Ryan Allis, is a preacher's kid who had to innovate through the struggles in his life. I'm still not sure why I was chosen to be among these people, but I gave it the hardworking Iowa effort and tapped into my hidden extroverted side. The focus was to find our purpose in making the world a better place. I have several purposes, and one is to make this newspaper a trusted source for our community news, twice per week, and maybe more often someday. I learned from Tom Chi of GoogleX, a developer of Google Glass, about rapid prototyping. It's so easy to worry about something we care about, to spend time in research and thinking of every angle to make it perfect before sharing it.

Rapid prototyping says the way to get something going is to shorten the time between idea and experience. This is most relevant, perhaps to a material product, but can also apply to newspapers (especially as we move to more multimedia) and other ideas.

Thank you for those who supported this journey.

I remain grateful.



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