Wednesday, November 9, 2011
During the cold war, "citizen diplomacy" was very much in vogue: the idea of ordinary people, like you and me, visiting other ordinary people in Russia or East Germany. An enormous amount of good was accomplished in breaking down the barriers of alienation and misunderstanding between nations by means of this simple idea: ordinary people getting to know ordinary people in other countries in their daily circumstances. The idea is still important today and is most beautifully embodied in Home Exchange and The Affordable Travel Club. My wife and I have recently met wonderful people in France, Australia, Turkey and the USA and have come to know them and their way of life in a way which those poor people at the Hilton or others sitting on cruise ships will never experience.