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A look at space and another to Earth: Pradiip Alvarez

A look at space and another to Earth: Pradiip Alvarez

Posted by Liliana Castaño on July 03, 2014

Leadership and action, are part of the 5 tips Pradiip shares with international students who wish to study abroad in U.S.A., we invite you to discover his story.

Boldness, nobility and youthful strength are part of the key. The key to a world that we all hope to improve was what Pradiip Alvarez showed us in an exclusive talk with PanamericanWorld.


Mixing a supernova with the consciousness of human rights, Pradiip is an astrophysicist and physicist from Venezuela, who just completed his Masters of Science in International Studies. He completed both degrees in the state of Florida, more specifically in Tallahassee, at Florida State University (FSU).


His career confirms, without a doubt, that he is going to be able to apply his knowledge in a space where the sciences and social sciences can meet eye to eye. He has his organized thought process to thank, which helps him to better understand the world, while staying connected to his strict foundation in mathematics.


Pradiip was presented with the Global Citizen award from his alma mater. He is also a Venezuelan ambassador of one of the most prominent organizations for young leaders in the world, One Young World, a title he will enjoy for the rest of his life.


He is ready to help, and thoroughly dominates the topic of democracy. We caught up with him just after he finished his studies. He was in the midst of a transition. After touring Europe, on a trip of intense networking and worthy rest, Pradiip was going back to the capital of the Sunshine State to pack up and embark in another adventure. He is going to start his own NGO, with headquarters in New York City and Panama. He did not disclose many details, like the name, but he is in the process of forming the pro-democracy organization which already includes a partner in the United Nations.

What leads you to create a pro-democracy NGO? Are there not many of those already? What makes yours different?


Yes, there are many. In our organization the first thing we did was investigate how many NGO’s of this type there are in America, and see what had been done from country to country. We found out that there is not an organization that dedicates itself to educate and inform about democracy the way we want to do it. In our countries people don’t know what a good government is, what the effective forms of governance, what the indicators of democracy are, etc. There are some organizations with similar functions, but there is not one that operates in Latin America as a whole.


The idea is to unify efforts, beginning with our nations.


How did participating in the third and fourth instalment of One Young World (OYW), in U.S.A. and South Africa, respectively, influence you? Did you have the opportunity to be a speaker as well?


That was the best experience of my life, especially in South Africa, where my friend Liz Rebecca Alarcon and I had the opportunity to speak in front of 1300 delegates from 193 countries about topics of leadership, governance and the reality in my country of origin.


I learned that there are people willing to help. These OYW events inspired us a lot. We met entrepreneurs, artists and business owners, but mostly young people with successful ideas for change.


OYW is the most important youth conference in the world, and the event with the most countries represented after the Olympics.



The award of Global Citizen recognizes your efforts as an international student. How did you manage to earn this award?


When they gave me this award I was still studying physics and astrophysics, and I hadn’t yet decided to take the path I am taking today. However, the university  granted me this award for founding the Venezuelan Student Association (VENSA) of FSU, which started with 15 members and has grown to be one of the biggest and most active organizations of the university, and in two years we became a model for the university. A model of openness, understanding and friendship. We incorporated people from other countries and cultures, but our mission was to help Venezuelans coming to the university. Then to promote the positive values and the culture of Venezuela, and unite the student community with no judgement for religion or race.


I was also recognized for being the treasurer of Amnesty International, and hosting the TEDx conference in our college.


What does being an activist mean? What do you think is the worldview on activism?


There are many interpretations. The negative interpretation asserts that activists only promote ideas, but don’t do anything concrete. However, as I have shared with many leaders, what makes a difference is that many of us are looking for the path to change, there comes the famous butterfly effect and change is achieved.


Hard work gives results, activists generate social change, but we have to promote the cause and create unity. A Nigerian proverb says that if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with company. I have tried to follow that philosophy.


The world of Technology, Entertainment and Design events, the famous TED’s have also attained your attention, tell us about your experience.


The organization that promotes these events is incredible and has changed the world. Besides, it is not as exclusive as before. TEDx has opened opportunities to communities, universities, etc. It used to be a very expensive privilege. I could spend a whole day watching TED videos.


The idea is for normal people, who have had ideas and achieved change, to inspire others and generate a global conversation.


My favorite video is the one from the NGO in Kiva, founded by Jessica Jackley. It is a microfinance, not-for-profit company, and is the largest at this level in the world. I met her in South Africa, she is a wonderful person.


How can you use your knowledge of astrophysics in the complex world of international relations and the political topic of democracy?


Astronomy and astrophysics bind us all. We are all in this world and face similar problems, and like the astronaut Ron Garan told me, who I met through OYW, we have to have an orbital perspective, such as the one he had of Earth from space. From that point of view, without boundaries and with enough resources we can solve our problems. The problem is that we don’t work together enough.


For instance, the Center of Nuclear Investigation (CERN) in Europe, where there are 100 countries working between Switzerland and France, requires a joint vision. Or the International Space Station, where many nations carry research and projects, my fields of expertise join in these areas.

Better known on social media as @GlobalVzla. How do you manage your social media?


Social networks are key, that is why two-thirds of nation leaders are present on some social network. I manage activism through Twitter, while Facebook and Instagram are more personal. Yet they are definitely very important. At decisive moments, the information I publish has reached many people.


It has also been important to compile all my experiences on my website, which has helped me to account for the work I have done, inspiring others and making my work accessible.


5 tips for international students in U.S.

Pradiip has Italian blood, and was raised in a home where the concrete and the mystic were mixed well. In fact his name means “the guiding light” in sanskrit. He is interested in topics of equality, and development. He is part of the new generation; a hispanic shaped in the classrooms of an American university, where the immigration debate obscures the advantages of having such a talent in this nation.

To close, here is a word of advice from Pradiip Alvarez to young people who plan to be international students in U.S.A.




Translated by Sebastian Llavaneras

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