Giving Thanks Part 8: Buffy Star Eliza Dushku Promotes Socially Responsible Travel

This is the final post in an 8-Part “Giving Thanks” series, a Global Exchange exclusive highlighting individuals (chosen by Global Exchange staff members) who are contributing to our social justice work in some way. This series will culminate with a “Giving Thanks” video to be launched right here on Wednesday, November 24th. So please join us in recognizing those special individuals who are helping to make this world a better place.

Reality Tours Director Malia Everette Thanks Actress Eliza Dushku:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
-Albert Schweitzer

Rick Fox, Malia and Eliza on Reality Tours delegation in Uganda

Today I have the honor of expressing my heartfelt gratitude to a woman who has rekindled and inspired the flame within me and countless others.  I am thankful that I have been fortunate to know Eliza Dushku as a fellow intrepid traveler, as a compassionate advocate for human rights and my favorite Boston diva friend who over the years has proven that one can effectively use their fan base to educate and advocate!

While many people know Eliza’s beauty, her well known role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and countless movies, what I have come to appreciate is her ability to be gracious and fearless in letting the world know what she cares deeply about. While there are a few courageous voices in Hollywood that speak out and use their clout, I often think of what a different world ours would be if those with such fame, access to media outlets and the public used it for social good.

Eliza has traveled with Global Exchange Reality Tours on many occasions and I know through her travel she continues the vibrant legacy of her mother (another strong woman, educator, advocate and mentor that I also have been blessed to know and work with for years customizing educational tours for her classes), and continues to engage in a multitude of ways on her own.

I met Eliza personally years ago on a Citizen Diplomacy delegation in Iran and then we journeyed together on an intensive delegation to Uganda that explored the issues of human trafficking, child soldiers, and sexual exploitation of youth.  Eliza as a participant is consistently engaged, honestly inquisitive and incredibly empathetic with our hosts. Upon returning back home, she shares her experiences with others as a spokesperson for many significant human rights issues.

A few weeks ago, Eliza mentioned coming on another tour soon and “changing the world one Reality Tour at a time” and I felt so pleased because she knows the incredible connective, transformational and educational power of travel.  While I believe that Reality Tours are a source for meaningful experiences that truly benefit not just the traveler but the hosts, it is also our intention that our travelers return home and share their experiences with others.

Eliza, thank you for sharing your experiences with us to your fans, for amplifying the voices of those you hear and for not just talking the words, but for walking the talk!

Who are YOU thankful for? Add your own thank you message in the Comments section to recognize someone you think is doing great social justice work. And if you feel so inspired, Retweet and Share this post to help spread the recognition all of our ‘Thankees’ deserve. Thank YOU.