Students, faculty and community members took their seats in the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse Monday to hear from acclaimed journalist Lisa Ling.
Ling came to UM as part of Fall Convocation, in a speech entitled, “Open Heart, Open Mind.”
She shared stories of her encounters with people of different cultures and backgrounds, all the while connecting them to her belief that travel changes perspectives.
“Travel … changes your life and provokes you to have more of an open mind,” Ling said. “Ultimately, I think that the opportunity to travel and be in the world was the best education I ever got.”
Although the speech was full of serious commentary on her experiences reporting sex trafficking, incarceration, transgender issues and the like, Ling had a lighthearted moment at the start in which she assured the audience that she has never been in a “Charlie’s Angels” movie, referencing her resemblance to movie star Lucy Liu.
While students have been able to hear advice from politicians, past presidents and journalists alike, Ling brought a perspective many haven’t considered.
“Since our school has such a tradition of diversity, it was awesome to hear from someone who has gotten to know so many people across the world,” freshman Kendal Peppito said. “She brought it together about being accepting and open-minded.”
But her message extended to those across all ages.
“Lisa shares her personal experiences. When she tells a story about what she’s seen, she shares her personal thoughts and how that experience has affected her,” junior Karishma Gupta said.
After the hour-long speech, students left feeling inspired and challenged to raise awareness and take action about the injustices Ling has reported on.
Senior broadcast journalism major Kamrel Eppinger said the experience with Ling challenged him to think and make a difference in the world.
Ling is best known for her work on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” but has a career rich with international and investigative reporting in places such as Colombia, North Korea, India and Uganda.
Ling began her career while attending the University of Southern California, yet she attributes her success to travel.
“I not only became a smarter person, but I became a better person, and ultimately, I became a more marketable person,” she said.