I went to a movie on Thanksgiving, and by the time I left the theater I realized I had seen the best American public diplomacy message in years. The movie was The Martian, and it had everything we should be promoting:...KEEP READING
The Film Diplomacy of "Hidden Figures"
Astronauts Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and Gus Grissom are familiar names in history books. But during the space race of the 1960s, NASA's astronauts were supported by hundreds of behind-the-scenes workers, including "human computers." Hidden Figures, a recent film based off the 2016 book by Margot Lee Shetterly, celebrates the contributions of three black women—Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan—as mathematicians and engineers despite facing discrimination every step of the way in segregation-era America.
The film's public diplomacy impact comes at a significant time, as America's image as a multicultural and tolerant nation is undermined by waves of highly-publicized reports of xenophobia and racism. Hidden Figures is a reminder of the problems America continues to face as well as the strength of its people in overcoming them.
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