Citizen Diplomacy

(Suggested by one of our FPA board members)

If you want to see the US drop its interventionist, policeman-of-the-world foreign policy you can become a “citizen diplomat”. One way you can get involved is to have your city become a “sister” to a city in a country having a troublesome relationship with the US Administration. Working with Sister Cities International you can have a role in building people-to-people understanding across a broad range of issues and concerns.

Local voters can sign a petition asking their city council to join SCI. There are 19,000 cities in the US. Over 5,000 are “home rule cities” with charters that can be amended by citizen action.

One can turn to Ballotpedia.org to learn the rules for citizen initiatives in the cities of each state. Ballotpedia also posts a 30 page booklet on the tactic, titled Local Ballot Initiatives, to guide activists. Citizen diplomacy opens that door. Additionally, you can call on your mayor to join Mayors for Peace.

In cities that are not home rule a petition drive to put a resolution on the ballot in support of the FPA resolution, or joining Sister Cities, or Mayors for Peace, or all three.

Local ballot initiatives regarding foreign policy reform can be a path to a public debate on foreign policy issues at the grass roots level.

During this process your support group can tap the FPA website for information and authoritative sources that mainstream media ignore, and should continue in that role after city voters approve your proposition.

Citizen Diplomats using people-to-people initiatives such as Sister Cities can facilitate forums, educational exchanges, and cultural events, to educate and update local electorates, helping to keep foreign policy in voters’ thoughts.

The critical part of this strategy is the public education that accompanies the initial organizing process, the petition drive and election, and citizen-to-citizen contact that comes through the work of Citizen Diplomats.

One thought

  1. Great idea! BTW: Barry is who introduced me to FPA.

    Also, thank you FPA for the returned phone call yesterday.

    We hope to have some FPA members participate in a forum we are hosting on September 30 on the UH campus. Better yet, I will see if we can accommodate a presentation by a representative of FPA if desired by FPA. We would be ecstatic to have an FPA representative on the agenda to discuss foreign policy, along with participating in a federal budget deficit reduction exercise facilitated by the Concord Coalition – per telephone conversation yesterday.

    We look forward to hearing back on Monday.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Respectfully,

    Jeff Harper 512.999.2791

    Texas League of Independent Voters

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