‘Peace is possible’: La Jolla Country Day student and podcaster is a finalist in global Anthem Awards
“I believe peace is possible,” declares La Jolla Country Day School student Evan Sulpizio-Estrada. But he acknowledges that it’s going to take a lot of awareness, compromise and work.
To do his part, the 16-year-old hosts The Peace Studio’s “Evan Worldwide — Global Youth Perspectives” podcast, which focuses on “conflict, culture and cuisine.” In each episode — many of which last just under an hour — Evan interviews young people who are promoting peace and addressing conflict in their home countries around the world.
“Learning about conflict makes you more aware about different issues, but we often realize we are more alike than we are different,” said Evan, a Carmel Valley resident. “Something I have noticed is whenever I interview people from another side of the world, they have the same social issues. The podcast might talk about racism and homophobia in the U.S., but there might also be racism and homophobia in Japan. The person from the U.S. and the person from Japan can relate and learn about how they face similar conflicts, which gives us a way to come together and create resolutions for people from all walks of life.”
For his work on the podcast and as a youth ambassador for The Peace Studio, a New York-based nonprofit, Evan has been named a finalist in the inaugural Anthem Awards, which offer global recognition for efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion; education, art and culture; health; human and civil rights; humanitarian action and services; responsible technology; and sustainability, environment and climate. Within each of those are subcategories. Evan is a finalist for Young Leader of the Year in the Awareness category.
The awards competition drew nearly 2,500 entries from 36 countries. Winners will be announced during a virtual conference Tuesday, Feb. 15. A virtual awards show will be held Monday, Feb. 28.
“I hope I get it; it would be amazing considering it is the first year this is being offered. I’m excited for this opportunity,” Evan told the La Jolla Light.
The podcast started with interviews with Evan’s friends from other countries and those he met through his involvement with Model United Nations, a program in which students worldwide simulate the U.N.
“I love talking to people from all over the world and learning about their perspective on things,” Evan said. “There are people who have a vision of a nation, but when you hear where they are from, some people focus on certain stereotypes and what they think they know about people from that country. So the goal of my podcast is to demonstrate authenticity and break those stereotypes.”
Focusing specifically on 15- to 20-year-olds, “the youth perspective is important to acknowledge because my generation is going to be next in taking leadership positions in companies and government,” he added. “I believe it’s important to acknowledge that so we can feel empowered to make positive change and a more positive future. Plus, podcasts are so interesting and a great way to amplify voices.”
Part of the mission, he said, is to create a “global citizen culture” through which “I believe peace is possible. It’s not going to be an easy road, it’s not going to be quick. Not everyone thinks the same; people have different views on a problem. It’s going to take people compromising and cooperating to create peace. Not everyone is going to be happy with that.”
But, he said, “having different viewpoints is what makes us great as a people.”
Evan said he would like to eventually turn the podcast into a travel show that delves into different cultures through the lens of food, similar to late chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain.
Evan has been cooking since childhood and made it to the top six on the Fox reality competition show “MasterChef Junior” in 2016.
“I love cooking; it’s a great part of life,” he said. “Food brings people together and it’s a great way to bond with people. I love when I meet someone from Turkey and can tell them how much I love certain Turkish dishes. It opens that door to a better connection.”
Learn more or listen to Evan’s podcast at evanworldwide.com/podcast. ◆
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