What is Citizen Diplomacy?
What is Citizen Diplomacy?
Citizen Diplomacy is the concept that the individual has the right, even the responsibility, to help shape U.S. foreign relations 'one handshake at a time.' Citizen diplomats can be students, teachers, athletes, artists, business people, humanitarians, adventurers or tourists. They are motivated by a responsibility to engage with the rest of the world in a meaningful, mutually beneficial dialogue. Be a citizen diplomat.
- LISTEN … to others with compassion and an open mind
- LEARN … about history, culture, and ways of life and thinking different from you own
- RESPECT … people’s rights to views and approaches other than your own
- EXPLORE … other cultures and places with curiosity and openness
- ACT … to understand, engage, and work with people from around the world
- EMBRACE … a role as someone who can connect and make a positive difference in the global community
... You ARE a citizen diplomat
Why is citizen diplomacy so important now?
In an era of increasing globalization, more and more people develop their most lasting impressions through face-to-face, personal encounters, when people visit the United States or when Americans travel abroad. In this context, the ‘citizen diplomat’ is a powerful force in defining the United States to the rest of the world.
Numerous polls and studies document that anti-American sentiment around the globe is dangerously high and has grown to unprecedented levels.
We need to dramatically increase our capacity to reach out to the rest of the world to foster common interests and values. America is falling behind in the race for engagement with the world, international competitiveness, and global education excellence.
In spite of these serious concerns, the United States spends 1/10 of 1% of its budget on foreign affairs and only 1% of that on the single most important facet of U.S. foreign policy — citizen diplomacy.
This pattern of neglect must be turned around to support global engagement at all levels of society in the United States.
What is the difference between Citizen Diplomacy and Public Diplomacy?
Citizen Diplomacy is the engagement of individual American citizens in primarily voluntary, private sector programs and activities that increase cross-cultural understanding and knowledge between Americans and people from other countries, leading to greater mutual understanding and respect.
Public Diplomacy is conducted through activities and programs carried out under the auspices of the federal government that promote positive and credible perceptions of the U.S. generally, and of U.S. foreign policy specifically.
Special thanks to Ursula Oaks, Sr. Director Media Relations and Strategic Communications, NAFSA: Association of International Educators
In today's global society, the two are interconnected. The U.S. Department of State supports some citizen-to-citizen exchanges that involve artists, scholars, professionals, government officials, and youth. Those programs are largely dependent on private sectors partners to carry them out. Non-governmental actors - business, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and individual citizens - play major roles in shaping the attitudes of foreign publics toward the United States.