Hometown Diplomacy is the process through which individual citizens facilitate lasting, positive relationships with citizens of other countries through sharing something very close to their hearts: the places they call home.
It is through this immersive exchange—this sharing of a place called “home”—that students and families alike learn about the real America. The real Indonesia. The real Germany.
Importantly, no two impressions are the same, just as no two students or families are identical. Hometown Diplomacy puts people, not politics, at the center, and that is something our world truly needs right now.
How can you practice Hometown Diplomacy?
- Give a cultural presentation.
Have you lived—or do you currently live—abroad? If so, your classmates, colleagues or peers would probably love to gain knowledge about another culture than their own. Reserve the lunch room or start a Facebook Live event to get the conversation going! Share a recipe or meal, common phrases in the language, or unique traditions.
- Sign up to volunteer in your community.
There are a thousand and one ways to give back to your community. Make a difference by volunteering a few hours of free time this weekend or signing up for an ongoing role with an organization whose mission you love. Volunteering is a wonderful way to help address your community’s concerns and to meet others you might not know, who share your concerns for the greater community.
- Attend an interfaith community event.
Here’s a great way to expand your awareness and strike up a good conversation. Check your hometown’s local events calendar to see if there’s an interfaith event scheduled. (If not, why not plan one yourself at a community center?)
- Organize an international potluck.
Everyone loves discovering new foods.
- Encourage a young person to get involved in student exchange.
We offer teens the chance to study abroad and win contests and scholarships to help make it possible. (Plus, we have some fun quizzes and games on our International Education Week “Peace” Page to check out!)
No matter how you choose to get involved, we hope you’ll join AFS-USA in encouraging “Hometown Diplomacy.” You can explore opportunities to spread peace with us by hosting an exchange student, studying abroad, and volunteering in your community.