“Being Truth’s Witness:” Marietta Mortensen (’25) in Taiwan with the World Youth Alliance
Wyoming Catholic College’s unique education prepares her students for any place God might call them, forming them so that at any time, anywhere in the world, they can live their lives as witnesses to the truth. Last year, one of our students was doing that in Taiwan.
Towards the end of the Fall 2022 semester, Marietta Mortensen (’25) attended a conference held in Taipei, Taiwan, by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), an organization of 21 member states in the Pacific which promotes free trade and economic cooperation. She attended as the only North American member of a delegation sent by the World Youth Alliance (WYA), an international human rights organization run by youth, which represents the youth of the world and advocates for human dignity at the highest levels of international policy.
In addition to being a busy sophomore at Wyoming Catholic, Marietta is also an active member of the WYA. Her journey to Taiwan began, unbeknownst to her, when she met this organization in the spring of 2021. After doing an online internship with WYA’s North America region, she fundraised her way across the ocean in the summer of 2022 to do an in-person internship representing WYA at the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. While there, she served as head of the North American delegation to the WYA International Solidarity Forum in March of 2022 and was asked to be the North American delegate to the Taiwan APEC conference, an invitation which covered the cost of the plane ticket, accommodation, and meals.
The conference was about the future of entrepreneurship for women and youth, and so naturally but indirectly, about technology. The presentations were all on blockchain, or Web3, or how to grow your online business, and the businesses presented were all new apps, new websites or new technologies. The attendees sat for presentations given by various successful entrepreneurs, participated in networking sessions, and heard several panel discussions. The three days culminated in a competition between seven teams of Taiwanese students who presented their start-up business ideas before a panel of judges and were awarded based on their ideas and their pitch.
Given the intense focus on technology, Mortensen said her formation as a Wyoming Catholic College student put her in a very unique position. To approach a technologically progressive Eastern culture as someone formed in, so to say, a ‘technologically backward’ Western tradition brought up all new challenges for communication and highlighted for her the importance of finding an entirely new way to express the same truth so that people can hear it.
“This whole experience brought to mind the connection between being a delegate for someone and being a witness. Both a delegate and a witness are sent on someone else’s behalf to speak in their place, and the way you present yourself as a delegate reflects back on all the people you are representing. In some way, you are the entirety of your country to the people you meet, a witness to the nature of those on whose behalf you come. I felt like a delegate not only of my country and my organization, but of my faith and my college and my educational tradition.”
Being a witness, or a delegate, Mortensen notes, has been a central aspect of the Christian life ever since the day the Lord first sent his friends out into the whole world with the command “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). In obedience to that call, the College’s education uniquely equips its students to meet their brothers and sisters wherever they are and thus bring the truth to people of all different mindsets and experiences.
“The Wyoming Catholic College education is the kind of education that prepares you to do anything; to be a parent, a programmer, an international delegate, a saint,” Marietta said. “When you know the truth and you know how to articulate it, you don’t need to be afraid of being its witness.”