Do Not Doubt the Wisdom You Already Have

Interviews with Licy Do Canto

Manumailagi Hunnicutt

“People Have A Tendency to Sound More Sophisticated Than They Are By Speaking A Lot About Things They Know Little About” 

This morning we interviewed Licy Do Canto from APCO. Licy is the head of market engagement for North America at APCO and has been named one of the most influential figures in DC. As he was our first male interviewee, I was slightly nervous about how different it would be to engage in conversation with him. Instead of being difficult to talk to, Licy was incredibly well-spoken, calm, and engaging in his responses. An important topic that we discussed is ignorance and how to understand and confront it. 

Licy stressed the importance of doing your own research and drawing your own conclusions about issues. Often we see people on the internet, particularly on social media, ranting about social or political issues, and too often we uncritically believe what they say, especially if we agree with them. He stated that “People have a tendency to sound more sophisticated than they are by speaking a lot about things they know little about.” But not thinking for oneself can create a false narrative that does more harm than good. His main point was to emphasize the importance of thinking for yourself and making sure that you come to your own conclusions, and I really appreciate the confidence he has in our ability to reason for ourselves. – Lagi Hunnicutt

Mordecai Coleman

“Ignorance Is Everywhere; It’s How You Decide to Engage With It That Matters” 

Today we woke up at 6 AM, which is early for us but not, I am learning, for most people who work in DC. We made breakfast, half-dressed in our interview attire, and then ran out the door so we could make it to the Warner Building by 9:30 AM for our first interview of the day.

Once we arrived and checked in we discovered that there had been a mixup regarding the time on the itinerary and that we were three hours early. We took that little setback in stride, moved another interview to tomorrow to make time for today’s interview, and decided to visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History while we waited. The exhibits in the museum are fascinating. I had visited the museum on one other occasion a few years ago when I visited DC for the first time. Revisiting the museum, two years older, allowed me to appreciate the exhibits all the more. 

We returned to the Warner Building and made our way up to the eleventh floor, where we prepared for our interview with Licy Do Canto. As the North America Head of Market Engagement for APCO, Licy has some incredible insights regarding what needs to be done to move policy making in a positive and cooperative direction. He walked into the room having just come from a meeting with diplomats from Europe.

One of his opening remarks was, “The more knowledge we gain the more ignorant we become.”  He spoke about how in this day and age, when we seemingly have all of the world’s information at our disposal, it is important to do our own research and to “resist the temptation to make your mind up on very little.” Licy was adamant that we fight ignorance intelligently, saying, “Ignorance is everywhere; it’s how you decide to engage with it that matters.” Later, he elaborated on this point, saying that we can use ignorance as a tool to cultivate wisdom by learning from our mistakes. I find this idea profound, because I know that I often label things that other people think as “ignorant” or “stupid” without trying to understand why someone thinks the way they do. Thinking this way closes off many possibilities for gaining wisdom. Since my mission here in DC is to gain as much perspective as I can, it’s only right that I actually make a point to try to understand everything I can, including ideas that I might initially think are unfounded. – Mordecai Coleman