Airbnb CEO: Young People Will Reject Walled Nationalism

Raised on borderless social networks and home-sharing apps, young people are destined to reject the shortsighted allure of nationalism.

So Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told a packed house at the Lumiere Theatre, in Cannes, on Monday afternoon.   

To wit, the philosophy underpinning Airbnb stands in stark contrast to the rising tide of nationalism and wall-building around the world, said Chesky -- confident that his vision of a “mobile” global community of people opening their homes to each other will win out.

“I think maybe we should just start by asking a question,” Chesky told Joanna Coles, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. “Think of a child somewhere in the world, today, and ask yourself: In 20 years, in 30 years, what kind of world is that child going to live in?" Chesky asked.  

“Those kids, when they grow up, are [they] going to want have this sense of ‘nationalism’ where they do not want to interact with people and any other country in the world? Is that really sustainable?”

“I think if you just look to our youth, to young people, they are showing us a path… and they are no long just national citizens… they’re of course national citizens … but, increasingly, what we’re seeing is that people increasingly want to be global citizens."

"Because this world is getting small as this world is getting connected, and anyone that going to try to put up a wall or put up a barrier between countries or cultures I think is going to be on the wrong side of history.”

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