- Published on Sunday, 15 January 2012 00:00
- Category: Featured Partner: elan Magazine
Sonja Be, 24, is ready to take on the world. Born in Northern Sweden, raised in Vancouver, and half Iranian, Be has trouble deciding what she identifies with the most. She’s a journalist that gives voice to the “voiceless.” We got a chance to catch up with her.
Elan: Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background?
Sonja Be: It’s been quite eclectic. From being a bootcamp boxing coach to having my own radio show to organizing non-profit events, people’s life stories have always been the stem of my career towards journalism. Being able to work with others, learn from them, and thrive off their energy has been a huge part of my professional career. Living and studying in Madrid for the last year of my life taught me how little I know about our enormous world. Attaining my Master’s degree in International Relations sparked the fire of not only wanting to know more but doing something with what I have learned. My website is the first step in my life vision.
Elan: Your work revolves mainly around human rights on the international scale, what is something you take from this experience?
SB: In the 21st century, our world is more connected than ever. Media no longer belongs to the big guys, media belongs to everyone. The post modern phenomenon is not one we observe and gather information from but one that we are involved in and one that supports multi communicating dimensions of social media like Twitter.
The more we communicate our knowledge, the more power we have of making steps towards change. It is our responsibility to use these tools of technology to raise awareness about global human rights. With the world a click away, we no longer have an excuse to turn our heads away from injustice. We are the most educated generation to date and we have weapons and tools that can collectively create a movement towards freedom and peace for every single person on this world. Every tweet, every update, every signature, every petition and every word matters in this picture of change.
Elan: Why did you turn to journalism? What was it about journalism that struck a chord with you?
SB: I originally went to school for Radio Broadcasting and as I entered the radio industry; I realized the entertainment sector was not a fit for me. I quit radio and decided to continue with school and I clearly remember my boss telling me “you don’t need more education to succeed in Radio.” I didn’t listen because I was hungry for more knowledge and was insistent that school would fulfill that for me. While I was attaining my BA in Communications something happened that changed the direction of my life.
The fraudulent 2009 Iranian elections caused a global uproar and spotlight on Iran. I began attending the pro-democracy Green Movement protests in Vancouver . Being at these local protests and watching the brutality via Youtube gave me an enormous feeling of guilt. Why? Because I don’t see a big difference between myself and the youth of Iran, we all want the same freedoms and opportunities. The difference between her and I is that I was born and raised into a country that practices democracy and equality and she/he was born under an oppressive regime with limited freedoms. The silent whisper that had quietly followed me my whole life now became an amplified scream. This event interrupted my lifestyle, my daily thought process and perspective on life. I finished my BA and moved to Madrid, Spain to pursue my MA in International Relations.
You can imagine how loud the scream had become by now.
At this point I transformed my guilt into my life mission. To begin this mission, I combined my interests in IR and media and created my news platform, www.sonjabe.com where I shed light on the often ignored issues. This 2-month old international platform invites and encourages diverse dialogue amongst readers. With enough light shed on the different corners of the world we can use our technology, power and money to make a difference. My job here is to provide you with the daring and bold truth of the pretty and the ugly.
Elan: What’s been your greatest challenge in your career so far?
SB: My greatest challenge in my career so far was to understand that life is a beta. Realizing that life is a testing ground for success I was faced with infinite options of what, how and where. At 24, the conventional step after graduation is to take up a job but I decided to go against the grain and pave my own path. Nerve-racking, yes but very rewarding and fulfilling. This step required me to exhibit my raw thoughts, ideas, and words because I want to encourage questioning and answering amongst ourselves. Without dialogue there is no hope for change and I believe a dialogue is more important than a monologue. Yes, this receives a lot of tilted confused heads and questions but I take it as an opportunity to display my passion and vision for a just and fair world. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth.
Elan: If there is one message that you’d like to get out from your work, what would it be?
SB: The world belongs to everyone. Despite high levels of global poverty and injustice, we all deserve the same freedoms, opportunities, success, joy, love and recognition. I want people to think outside the box and realize that not everything is what it appears to be. My message is to question the known and unknown in order to create a change. Any change, no matter the size matters.
Follow Sonja on Twitter
Like Sonja’s Facebook page to stay updatedBy Moniza Khokhar, Elan Magazine
This content is provided courtesy of Elan Magazine