|'Asia Factor' Can Mean the Difference Between Success and Bankruptcy.|
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Wednesday, 7th August 2013
He dreams of a global passport and believes 'Asia Factor' can mean the difference between success and bankruptcy.
If global strategist and author Parag Khanna had his way, there’d be 250 million people who would travel with a global passport, and the world would have its first identification not tied to a nationality.
In fact, that was the idea he submitted to the US$1 million TED Prize 2013 and it ended up as a finalist, losing out to Sugata Mitra’s School In The Cloud wish to create a learning lab in India.
Explained Khanna, who will be speaking at the WIT 2103 Conference this October, “My idea was for people who are so-called global citizens – who do not live where they were born – to carry a global passport that does not tie them to any nationality.
“There are now more expatriates than ever in human history – one out of 20 people – and a lot are permanent expatriates – and I believe that in my lifetime it will be possible for us to qualify for a document with the right biometric information. The technology is there, it’s the political will that’s needed.”
Khanna obviously based the idea on himself. Born in India, moved to Dubai, studied in Europe, lived in New York and London, and now Singapore, and travelled everywhere – for his book on “The Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the 21st Century”, he travelled to 50 countries over three years – Khanna calls himself a global citizen.
“If you travel a lot, you have a chameleon identity. You do think of yourself as a global citizen,” he said.
“Dubai for example has the highest foreign-born population of any place – there are many permanent expatriates and it’s not a national place anymore but a global melting pot.”
Singapore, where he lives now, too has a quarter of its population who are not born on its soil.
Khanna, who calls himself a traveller before any other labels such as “global strategist” or “author”, sees travel as an end in itself. For his work, travel is his methodology – it is the process by which he carries out research for his books. Since “Second World”, he’s written “How To Run The World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance” and with his wife Ayesha, co-wrote, “Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilisation.”
Personally, travel has become a habit. “For me, travel is a way of life, it is the experience, I don’t differentiate between journey and destination. I never get bored getting on planes, I still love the flying.”
His move to Singapore from London a year ago was “so obvious”.
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