Claudia Romo Edelman is an advocate for inclusion, equity and representation and the founder of the We Are All Human Foundation, which is committed to advancing diversity. Ms Edelman is also the co-host of Global GoalsCast, a podcast highlighting global progress on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Mexican-Swiss former diplomat has advised Unicef, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Married with two children, she speaks six languages. Here she tells Mustafa Alrawi about her latest initiative.
You describe yourself as an advocate for the Hispanic community in the United States. Why does the community need an advocate at this time?
Why advocate now for US Hispanics? Latinos in America have never been stronger. We amount for more than 20 per cent of this country, more than 12 per cent of the gross domestic product, more than 80 per cent of every new job created since the great recession and we will be 30 million voters by 2020. We are the youngest majority minority in America. And the reason why the community has to work now is two folded- firstly because the American economy is very strong right now and there is the opportunity to consolidate, secondly because our young people - meaning the Latinos under 25 - are getting disillusioned, losing faith in the American dream. And that should be prevented if we want a strong American middle-class.
Traditionally it is young people that are the optimists in every country. It could be dangerous if 20 per cent of young people in America are pessimistic. Also we need to look forward to the elections in 2020, not only to have more representation on politically, but also to have a better turn out in the elections.
The purpose of advocating for unification of Hispanics, to create a sense of community would be for Latinos in America to be able to exercise the potential power we have. Close to 80 per cent of Latinos have no idea of our own strength and power; 77 per cent have not realised our own contributions to this country. We need Hispanics to talk to Hispanics about our own strength - we need leaders to step forward and speak about not focusing on our differences but on our similarities to win this battle. But I am confident we can, that is why I left my job at the United Nations to take a year off and focus on the unification of Latinos.
A career in diplomacy came before your current media profile. How did that shape your thinking and approach to issues like diversity and the environment?
Diplomats have the advantage of seeing the whole picture. I learned that a lack of a joint agenda is often the very issue that stops progress towards objectives. Diplomacy helped me understand that ambitious goals cannot be achieved by one single sector of society and have to be worked through a variety of stakeholders. In many instances of my professional life I have used these lessons to create platforms for different groups of society to create a shared agenda. That is what I would like to achieve over the next year, use my experience and neutral platform to galvanise Hispanic leaders to get together and create a common dream.
You are a co-founder of the Global GoalsCast podcast about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Why do SDGs matter?
The sustainable development goals are the master plan for the future of the people on the planet. They are a perfect framework for anyone willing to do social good in the world. I decided to create a podcast in January 2018 to talk about progress of the champions making a difference towards the global goals. The issues contained in the development goals are complex and require business, government and media to work together on them. They have to be explained in an intimate, genuine way and in the right channel to engage millennials and Gen Z to take action. Private sector and business are the two main players to advance their goals faster. Public trust is on brands who they expect to have leverage, which they’re not going to get from the government. Companies need to do better as well. But also they have to communicate their progress, through alternative channels that allow them to be genuine and direct.
This year you attended the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore and will be in Davos for the World Economic Forum annual meeting. Both initiatives are working on a new vision for globalisation that is more inclusive and fair. What are your thoughts?
Globalisation has not yet fully happened. There are certain issues that have been totally globalised like trade, music and in some instances food. But we have to globalise the rights that belong to every person on the planet. We have to globalise the right for education and health. While we cannot stop globalisation, we certainly can improve it.