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In Conversation With Benjamin Bocio Richardson, The Humanitarian Championing Sustainability And Healthcare

  • In a world brimming with ever-evolving global trends and icons, we must highlight the real change-makers. Dr. Benjamin Bocio Richardson, whose name is rapidly resonating across borders for health, sustainability, and human rights is one such name. Born in the vibrant heart of the Caribbean that is Dominican Republic, this humanitarian is crafting a narrative that intertwines healthcare with humanitarian causes.

He didn’t learn his humanitarian ideals just from books or classes; real-life experiences shaped him. Benjamin believes in a complete healthcare method that also focuses on society, sustainability, the environment, and everyone’s right to good health and respect. Interestingly, in 2013, while completing a hospitality internship and working at a beachside restaurant, he was approached for a career in fashion modelling. Yet, he chose dental school. Join us for an enlightening dive into his journey.

ELLE: Benjamin, your name is becoming synonymous with health, sustainability, and human rights on the global stage. What fuels this passion?

Dr. Bocio Richardson (BBR): My early years in Santo Domingo, especially near the southern border with Haiti lit a fire in me. The disparities I witnessed highlighted the urgent need for sustainable and humanitarian efforts. This experience is why I continue to work tirelessly. I’m not driven by money but by a deep-seated desire to inspire others and address the social barriers we still face.

ELLE: Can you share the story of how you came to be internationally recognised as a humanitarian, especially any pivotal events or moments that stood out?

BBR: It all began in London at the OYW summit in 2019. However, long before that, I had been working in underserved communities since my childhood. I recall coming across an Instagram post featuring an activist speaking at the summit and I decided to apply. I was shortlisted for an interview, but initially, I wasn’t chosen. To my surprise, two weeks later, I was contacted and informed that another company was keen on sponsoring my participation in the summit. But this was just the beginning of a longer journey. Subsequently, I found myself competing with hundreds of activists, humanitarians, entrepreneurs, visionaries, and other talented individuals for a speaking opportunity. The process was intense; I even hired someone to hone my English skills for the interview. After all the effort, I succeeded. The next thing I remember, I was discussing topics on a panel alongside renowned figures in front of a vast audience of change-makers. That’s why, London will forever hold a special place in my heart.

ELLE: What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

BBR: My native language is Spanish. Many assume English is my second language, but it’s my third, with Italian being my second. Interestingly, at this point, my proficiency in Italian and English is on the same level.

ELLE: How was it transitioning to dental school in Boston, Massachusetts after graduating in the Caribbean and after being internationally recognised as a humanitarian?

BBR: The transition was challenging, but it made me stronger. While my education in the Dominican Republic gave me a solid foundation, Boston University introduced me to a more modern, digital approach to dentistry. Both experiences have been essential in shaping my knowledge.

ELLE: The word ‘sustainability’ often echoes in your vision. Do you genuinely believe in a fully sustainable society?

BBR: Absolutely. We owe it to our planet to strike a balance practically. The next generation must be taught the significance of sustainable living. I firmly believe that with the right education and dedicated effort, it’s achievable. Everyone, regardless of their profession, can contribute.

ELLE: How do you envision the future of dental healthcare?

BBR: Dentists play a role far beyond just addressing dental concerns. We’re part of the broader health ecosystem. The future lies in acknowledging and acting upon these interconnected facets. I recognise the need for continuous learning and preparation to engage in platforms that allow me to pursue my ambitions.

ELLE: I’ve heard your heritage is quite diverse. Could you share a bit about it?

BBR: Of course. From my father’s side, I have French, Italian, and African heritage. From my mother’s side, I have English, Jewish, and African roots. This rich blend of cultures has provided me with a unique perspective and appreciation for diverse traditions and values.

ELLE: If you could play a superhero or any movie character on screen, who would it be?

BBR: In a multiverse, without hesitation, it’d be Miles Morales, the Afro-Latino Spider-Man. Beyond the allure of being a superhero. It’s about providing children of colour and those from diverse backgrounds with a character they can see themselves in, reminding them that they too can be heroes in our real world.

ELLE: Why the emphasis on a multiverse?

BBR: You know, nobody typically jumps into a role like Miles Morales without having prior acting roles and I don’t even have an acting agent! But honestly whoever portrays Miles Morales will undeniably stand as a symbol of diversity, serving as an inspiration for generations to come.

ELLE: Do you have a favourite cuisine or dish?

BBR: I’m a total foodie, and I adore trying diverse cuisines. However, if I had to pick, I have a particular fondness for Mediterranean and Italian food. The flavours, the history behind each dish, it’s all so rich and delightful.

ELLE: Have you had the chance to try Indian dishes? If so, do you have a favourite?

BBR: Definitely! Indian cuisine has such a delightful depth of flavours. I’m always amazed by the intricate use of spices. Butter Chicken is one I particularly enjoy, but every Indian dish I try feels like a new culinary adventure. I’m excited to explore more in the future.

ELLE: Is there any figure from India who inspires you?

BBR: Indeed, Priyanka Chopra Jonas stands out to me. Not only for her undeniable talent as an actor but also for her role as a trailblazer. She’s breaking numerous barriers and continually making impactful strides in the USA and the world. I genuinely admire her resilience, leadership, and dedication to her work. The fact that she was raised by healthcare workers adds yet another dimension to the admiration I hold for her, I understand where her passion for humanitarian causes comes from.

ELLE: What’s next for you?

BBR: Keep working and studying. I’m open to any opportunity that allows me to amplify my voice and positively influence our younger generations. I’m a dentist but also I am open to acting and modelling, not just because I enjoy it, but also because it can further my influence on the youth. What truly motivates me is creating a positive impact among the youth to ensure a better future. It’s not about the money; I believe that by working hard and being passionate about what you do, the rewards will follow.

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