The Reward of Human Effort

Letter From the Editor | Spring 2014


Every year, the nation’s capital looks forward with great anticipation to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Tourists come from all over the country—and from around the world—to witness the splendor of more than 3,000 flowering cherry trees in bloom.

After what has seemed like an unbearably cold and long winter—especially here in the American Mid-Atlantic—the anticipation of trees in bloom is a rich reward. Yet, it’s easy to forget the human effort that now, more than 100 years later, is responsible for the joy they bring today.

Many know that the cherry blossoms were a gift from Tokyo’s mayor to President Howard Taft and his wife, Helen. Few realize that the idea to plant the trees originally came from Elizabeth Scidmore, an average citizen, following her return from a personal journey to Japan, in 1885. Following her suggestion to the U.S. Army Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds, it took more than 27 years for the idea to come into being. Only after extraordinary effort on the part of the first lady and any number of failed attempts—due to insect infestation or mislabeling—were the 3,000 trees now seen growing along the Potomac tidal basin shipped, received, and planted.

Human effort drives human impact. This spring, The New Global Citizen amplifies the game-changing effect of individuals and their talents. The Global Pro Bono issue focuses on the outcomes human capital can deliver in a multitude of markets, from impact investing to leadership development. It captures exciting progress combating maternal mortality in southern Africa, the promise of new economic opportunity from liquid natural gas discovery in Mozambique, and inspiring advances in community development in India and tourism in Sri Lanka.

With human talent and determination, anything is possible.

Alicia Bonner Ness
Editor in Chief

Alicia Ness

Alicia Bonner Ness

Alicia Bonner Ness (@AliciaBNess) is the editor of the The New Global Citizen, where she seeks to showcase the impact of beneficiaries and implementers alike, empowering all those engaged in furthering social good to learn from one another. She is also the Communications Manager at PYXERA Global.

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