With knowledge comes responsibility, a simple motto Mia Farrow recites to her children, she said, and lives by today.

Speaking at Thursday night's Maverick Speaker Series, the acclaimed actress and activist discussed how life changes evolved her empathy for the less fortunate.

Growing up the child of a movie star and contracting polio at 9 years old changed the way she saw the world, Farrow said.

“It was an incoherent realization that life could be very, very different from the beautiful existence that I was having in Beverly Hills, California, before that terrible time,” she said. “I discovered that, whatever your losses, you can still, for the most part, choose your attitude.”

She spent her childhood wanting to become a doctor in Africa and witnessed how fragile life could be as an ambassador for UNICEF.

She travels the world to areas where some still suffer from polio and starvation, Farrow said, and she wore the necklace a refugee, who lost three of her five children to conflict in Sudan, gave her, she said.

It was meeting refugees in Darfur, Sudan, that caused her to seek meaning in life not only for herself, but also for others, she said.

She said she feels empathy for mankind facing critical moments, like the conflict in Syria and flood of immigrants going into Europe.

There needs to be a feeling that the entire human race are brothers and sisters, all united, she said.

“I adopted 10 children, so blood relationships means very little to me. We are united by our commitment and our love,” she said.

At 70 years old, she is the mother of 14 children, 10 of whom are adopted and most of whom have disabilities, she said.

During the Q&A with the audience, theater studies graduate student Anson Norwood asked Farrow who inspires her. Farrow responded with Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani activist. Norwood said Farrow’s lecture left him pondering if apathy is the biggest problem with trying to bring exposure to other nations in crisis, something he wants to encourage others to consider.

“It inspired me to make sure, that since it resonated with me, that I help it resonate with someone else,” he said.

Being able to listen to someone with leadership skills is something she will use when building her own style of influence, said Hannah Troutt, social work and critical languages international studies junior.

Farrow said that speaking in front of the UTA community about world issues and being empathetic to the less fortunate was ideal.

“This is the perfect college to come to because you’re all about this,” she said. “I love you, I love you.”

@jasmine_faronbi

jasmine.faronbi@mavs.uta.edu

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