America needs a new and compelling call to action that will energize and motivate its citizenry to become globally engaged-to become citizen diplomats.
While America's image abroad is improving, numerous polls and studies prove anti-American sentiment still exists around the globe. We need to dramatically increase our capacity to reach out to the rest of the world to foster mutual understanding and find common interests and values.
Citizen Diplomacy is the concept that individual citizens have the right and responsibility to help shape U.S. foreign relations, "one handshake at a time." 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.
The U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy is calling on all Americans to sign a Letter to the President urging President Obama to convene a National Summit on Citizen Diplomacy in order to bring this issue to the forefront and provide opportunities for global engagement at all levels of American society.
Photo credit: Greg Mortenson and Central Asia Institute