Monday, February 9, 2009

American University and People Diplomacy

I was browsing CNN, and recently came across an article that featured an American University Professor who has taken a year of sabbatical to explore Muslim identity in the US. The article talks more about it here.

When I first clicked on the link, I was expecting to read that the young woman had been jeered at or snubbed in some way. I was pleasantly surprised to read that she was surprised by the treatment (or lack of) in small town Arab, Alabama.
Our class has been talking a lot about public diplomacy lately, and I think that maybe discussions such as this might be helpful. I think that what this professor is doing is good work, and maybe should be shown to other countries outside the US. The group also has a blog, which has videos of them as well. I think it's worth a second or two of your browsing time.

1 comment:

  1. Last fall, was able to take a class with the professor mentioned in this article. I was excited at first, thrilled at the prospect of learning from the unparalleled wisdom of a world-renowned scholar who was highly regarded for his contributions to human understanding. While it's hard to beat having class with a man who went to high school with Ahmadinejad, I came out at the end of the semester disheartened at the class's lack of depth, feeling like my understanding of U.S.-Muslim world relations had hardly developed at all. One of my frustrations with studying international relations, and as of late, public diplomacy, is that the most well-known scholars spend their time discussing the complexities of the theory, and less credit is given to its practice. I appreciate Leslie's post of David Rothkopf's comment. While his full post has a twinge of unnecessary angst to it, one has to wonder if focusing on an elitist perception of international relations and public diplomacy might be taking away from our ability to solve real problems.