people to people diplomacy

November 10, 2017

This Week in PD, we share international news on cultural diplomacy, nation branding, film diplomacy and more.

Iman Altaani cracks fresh pepper into a pot of sizzling ground beef and onions, surrounded by a group of students. Most have never tasted Syrian food, let alone cooked it. Helping people find commonality is, in large part, why Amanda Warner co-founded the non-profit organization Better Plate. For $30, students get a crash course in another country’s cuisine and a home-cooked meal – not from a trained chef, but from refugees recently resettled in Columbus and adjusting to life in America.

Aziz Boolani, CEO Serena hotels, in his introductory remarks, spoke of the initiatives taken by Serena hotels over the past few years and their contribution to the society. The focus was on adventure diplomacy, sports diplomacy and public diplomacy and how Serena has managed to bring these sectors of the corporate and diplomatic community together for a cause.

A friendship match is held at the headquarters of the United Nations in commemoration of the China-U.S. Ping-Pong diplomacy, 45 years after the Chinese Ping-Pong delegation came to the UN for the first time, in New York September 15, 2017. In 1971 and 1972, U.S. and Chinese table tennis teams exchanged visit after many years of estrangement and antagonism between the two countries, opening the door for the China-U.S. people-to-people contact.

Iran’s Cultural Attaché in Moscow Reza Maleki stressed the need to further promote relations between the Islamic Republic and the Russian Federation, saying enhanced cultural ties between the two nations will pave the ground for closer political relations. “Relations between Iran and Russia should not be confined to the level of the governments,” Maleki said in a meeting about cultural relations and their impact on political ties held at the University of Tehran’s Faculty of World Studies.

The Chinese Embassy held a cultural show (Chinese cuisine-class), popularizing authentic Chinese food to promote bonds of friendship between the two countries. Chinese culinary art was displayed on the occasion. It was the part cultural diplomacy, promoting people-to-people’s contacts, said Mrs. Diana Bao, wife of Chinese ambassador while speaking at the show as a chief guest. 

Our interest in hosting international visitors comes from our own experiences abroad. My husband, daughter and I returned to the U.S. in 2012 following my two decades as an Associated Press correspondent on three continents. People welcomed us in their hometowns around the world. Even now when we vacation, we meet strangers who offer menu recommendations in Brazil or Slovenia, or who help us navigate subways in Moscow or Tokyo. 

Window View, by Unsplash

Citizen diplomacy can make or break foreign direct investment ventures.

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