THE GRASSROOTS OF FOREIGN RELATIONS
Citizen diplomacy is the concept that, in a vibrant democracy, the individual citizen has the right--even the responsibility--to help shape foreign relations "one handshake at a time."
Citizen diplomacy is the "grassroots of foreign relations." Traditional diplomacy takes place between states, whereas citizen diplomacy occurs in person-to-person contact between citizens of different countries. The interaction of citizens -- whether professionals, volunteers, students or travelers -- helps shape public opinion and form mutual understanding. In this era of globalization and the increasing engagement of private citizens in international business, citizen diplomats have more opportunity and more responsibility than ever before.
While citizen diplomacy often occurs in independent, private initiatives, the U.S. government also recognizes its importance to U.S. foreign relations and national security. For this reason, the U.S. government has long supported programs like the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), Peace Corps, youth exchanges, fellowships, and others. Such programs are long-term investments, impacting individuals and communities in the U.S. and abroad over time.
In practical terms, citizen diplomats are professionals, families, students, interns, and travelers who make an impact by reaching out to individuals from other countries to build bridges of mutual understanding. The New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council is a nonprofit organization that offers ordinary New Orleanians and Louisianians the opportunity to be citizen diplomats.
1215 Prytania Street, Suite 203
New Orleans, LA 70130
Promoting cross-cultural relationships-- "one handshake at a time."
© 2016 by New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council