Young people all over the world feeling disillusioned, disenfranchised and frustrated with the status quo. They ask if diplomacy is still the most effective way to solve the multitude of today’s global issues.
Diplomacy is the place to start. When we think of diplomacy, we see secluded embassies surrounded by high walls of multi-layered security defenses. Yes, this is where global deals are brokered and bilateral agreements are initiated, but diplomacy is within all of our power and we, as individuals, have a role beginning at the grassroots level.
As a citizen, we can reach out to those cultures and nationalities that are trying to integrate into this great country. Why should you? The answer is that it is the right thing to do along with having the effect of dispelling the fear of differences and the erroneous perceptions perpetrated by the media. There are many studies showing that a single act of kindness can change the attitude of a multitude of people. When we see a policeman giving socks to a homeless person on the subway, it is beamed out all over the world as a rare act of kindness…this instantaneously releases the innate humanness within us all to reach out and help each other. Hence, citizen diplomacy.
Business diplomacy is when we take our values and innovative efforts into the business world, have a higher intention for our employer / employees, goods and services and share in successful enterprise for all concerned, particularly, the global economy. A prime example is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where they have helped innumerable organizations all over the world, especially Africa. You may say that’s all well and good but why Africa? What we do for anyone, anywhere, anytime reverberates and with the Middle East as a prime example of instability, a stable continent behooves us and our future economic growth and security.
Educational diplomacy is where we plant the seeds and utilize the creativity of universal brain power. When HIV/AIDS, Ebola and the Zika virus emerged, scientists and medical experts from many nations got together and joined in the fight against the epidemics. Astronauts living for months at a time on the International Space Station must get along in what, I imagine, are cramped conditions, then why can’t we do likewise and share in the goodness that we have in such abundance in the United States of America where there should not be even one homeless person. Yes, there is a diplomat in all of us, so let’s use citizen, business and educational diplomacy to do our part…all it takes is the power of one! Marie Betts-Johnson, Director, International Protocol Institute of California®
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