In advance of Mother’s Day later this week, it is a good time to reflect and recognize not only the contribution mothers make in our own lives and those of others around the world but their collective power globally. We should also call out and celebrate their unique strengths, skillsets, and experience sets. Skills and strengths that are not often championed or called out, but which could be powerful soft power assets in our broader public diplomacy strategies.
Cari Guittard on why the U.S. should engage the soft power strengths of mothers around the world.
“A ‘citizen diplomat mindset’ means being intentional when interacting with individuals from a different country by believing that one of your roles is to positively represent the United States,” explained Jennifer Clinton, president of citizen diplomacy non-profit Global Ties. “Our reality today is that citizens around the world are having much greater influence on local, national, and international relations.”
Our hyper-connected world has put more power in the hands of individuals and other non-state actors – from NGOs like Greenpeace to transnational terror groups like the so-called Islamic State. Over the past decade, foreign ministries have responded by becoming increasingly sophisticated in their communication strategies. Diplomats need to communicate directly with foreign publics to explain foreign policies, and to mobilize governments and civil society to support their aims.
"Individuals are increasingly important to solving some of the world’s most intractable challenges," says Timothy Jenkins.
The Center for Innovative Diplomacy (CID) archive highlights city diplomacy.
Out of this era came three key programs tasked with training a new generation of American students to begin to repair relationships with the peacefully-growing Muslim world, and ameliorate the severe lack of US linguistic capability plaguing both the government and global economic competitiveness. The first, Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study, or YES Abroad, was created in the wake of 9/11 to dispel myths about both America and the Muslim world.