The Great Debate UK
- Jennifer Parmalee is senior public affairs officer and spokesperson on global issues with the United Nations World Food Programme. The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters is hosting a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.–-
A few years ago, I traveled to northern Bangladesh – a hardscrabble region forever whipsawed between drought and flood – to interview teenage girls and mothers at a maternal and child health center supported with nutritional food by the UN World Food Programme.
But 13-year-old Nazma, standing tall like a proud butterfly in her colorful salwar kameez, had a question for me first: “Please sing a song from your country.”
I hesitated, then reached for the song I had sung to my daughters as a lullaby: “Amazing Grace.” Nazma listened quietly and then, with ethereal poise and clarity of voice, surprised me by responding with the anthem of the U.S. civil rights movement: “… Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome, some day!”