Citizen Diplomacy

The United States’s relations with the world have generally been declining since approximately the beginning of the war in Afghanistan began in October 2001. Most international criticism is directed at George W. Bush and the War in Iraq. True to US fashion, people are organising to reverse this trend.

 

An alliance of grassroots organisations in the United States are working to improve the US’s relations with the rest of the world by showing Americans how to travel without coming across as arrogant or ignorant. Find out more here. Let me be among the first to say good for them. Not only would it help the United States and its relations with other countries, but it will help international trade because others will buy more American goods (which they have been boycotting), it will encourage others to lend support to American initiatives that are worth supporting (rather than hate them just because they are American) and, frankly, any country could do more to be more culturally and internationally aware.

 

I will reiterate that last part: people of any country could learn more about other cultures, how to behave while travelling abroad, why it is important to understand the places you are travelling to, and so on. I hope this sets off a trend in the United States and around the world to better understand each other. This website is a good place to start. There is even a toolkit for you to copy and apply to the reality of your community or country. If you want to follow this movement, success or failure, I’d love to hear about it!

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One Response to “Citizen Diplomacy”

  1. Holly Says:

    Hi Chris!
    I can’t say I think that “showing Americans how to travel without coming across as arrogant or ignorant” is a great idea. Personally, I believe that “not coming across as arrogant or ignorant” is not a skill that can be learned; it’s something that you do when you want to, and don’t do when you don’t want to.

    The tourists who come across as arrogant and ignorant are those who don’t care about being polite or knowledgeable about the culture they’re in. They DO KNOW how to not be arrogant and ignorant, but they just don’t care. And those who DO care don’t need to be shown how not to be arrogant or ignorant, because if they really care about not looking that way, then they won’t.

    It’s getting a little confusing now, isn’t it? Bottom line: the only people who would make use of the organisations which show you how to travel without looking arrogant/ignorant are the very people who wouldn’t need to, because they already care enough about it that they can do it without being shown.


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