“Don’t talk to strangers,” is the advice we’ve all heard growing up from our parents. However, for a young girl from rural Illinois talking to strangers would lead her to countless unexpected moments of spontaneous citizen diplomacy and a rewarding career in public diplomacy. Dr. Sherry Mueller disobeyed her mother’s advice as she boarded a student-ship to Europe in 1963 to participate in an Experiment in International Living Program in Bad Godesberg, Germany. Since then she has been an unrelenting traveler and is now known as one of the most respected voices worldwide in citizen diplomacy.
Francisco Rodríguez-Jiménez was inspired by Dr.Mueller’s anecdote about this maternal scolding that she shared at a conference on “Educational Exchanges and Citizen Diplomacy” that took place at George Washington University back in 2011.
Now as one of our international PDC members, Francisco took the time to reflect on this memory of listening to Dr.Mueller describe this sentiment of ‘ speaking to strangers’ as a way to experience a personal encounter that offers the opportunity for true learning and mutual understanding.
Click here to read the full article by Dr.Sherry Mueller on speaking to strangers as an intergenerational dialogue on Citizen Diplomacy.
Click here to read Fransico’s full article that recalls the inspiring work of Senator William Fulbright, the philosophy behind the ERASMUS program and the vital need for more professional examples like Sherry Mueller in these times of globalization where many problems have no national solution, permeate borders and require collective action.
Francisco Rodríguez-Jiménez is a professor at the University of Extremadura and University of Salamanca. Formerly, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard (2012-2013) and a Fulbright Scholar at GWU, 2010-2012. Additionally, he has been Visiting Scholar at American University, Wake Forest University, and the Universitá di Bergamo. Currently, working in the book’s projects: U.S. Public Diplomacy Strategies in Latin America during the Cold War and Modernization Made in USA? Among other publications, Rodríguez-Jiménez has co-edited the following books in the last years: U.S. Public Diplomacy and Democratization in Spain. Selling Democracy?; El Portugal salazarista frente a la democracia; Estrategias de Diplomacia Cultural en un Mundo Interpolar; Mujeres universitarias en España y América Latina. Rodríguez-Jiménez serves (or has acted) as an international reviewer for the European Commission’s Research Agency (Horizon 2020 and Marie Curie Actions); Fulbright Screening Committees (in Madrid and in Washington), and Dublin Trinity College. He has also taught Graduate or Masters courses for other universities: Ohio Wesleyan; Colby College; UNED-Madrid; George Washington University, and Carlos III.
Olivia Chavez is currently the graduate fellow for the Public Diplomacy Council. She is a graduate student at American University pursuing an M.A in Political Communication through the School of Public Affairs.