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BBC Future

60 Second Idea

Random travel generator to preserve global culture

Each week a global thinker from the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology or the arts is given a minute to put forward a radical, inspiring or controversial idea – no matter how improbable – that they believe would change the world.

This week South African anthropologist Rose Boswell proposes a way to preserve cultural diversity.

“My idea to change the world is that everyone aged 21 to 41 in the world would be mandated to travel to a foreign place.

The place of travel would be chosen at random by a computer, and the traveller at his or her destination will be tasked with teaching a person a local ritual, a bit of wisdom or a traditional healing method. In South Africa, for example, there are a number of traditional healers and they hold a vast amount of knowledge. While this knowledge is sacred and protected a lot of it would be useful to those who go the biomedical route.

This idea would not only broaden a person’s mind, but traditional knowledge would be preserved in a loving manner. So overall I think this is a good idea, because by travelling people would broaden their minds, they would contribute to the preservation of bio-cultural diversity.”

You can listen to Rose discuss her idea with Nepali Indian author Prajwal Parajuly and American scholar and author Jared Diamond in more detail on the BBC World Service programme The Forum, where you can also download more 60-second ideas.

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