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Fostering Citizen Diplomacy: How Individual Conversations Drive Cultural Understanding

Although the ability to converse appears to many as a natural condition, it is in fact a craft and skill that must be cultivated. A mastery of this skill is essential for anyone actively engaged in international development activities. However, most of the readily available information on these topics focuses on how organizations can facilitate intercultural programming. This white paper will focus on the essential importance of communication within micro-level cultures: individuals, dyads, and small groups.

Individuals can and must take it upon themselves to start conversations, ask insightful questions, keep an open mind, and join the ranks of citizen diplomats. Even those individuals who already make it a point to reach out to strangers they encounter at home or in their travels will benefit from reading more about these terminologies and tools. The utility of intercultural competence spans beyond the individual and can be applied to communities, organizations, and governments. The members of those bodies can harness the themes in this text to enhance their formal research efforts, or simply utilize them in their everyday lives. In each case, the lessons contained with “Fostering Citizen Diplomacy: How Individual Conversations Drive Cultural Understanding” pervade human interaction at every level and help facilitate a more communicative and understanding world.