By John W. Davis | Global Ties
Who Belongs in Alabama?
What if I told you a typhoon and flood in the Philippines were successfully overcome, and lives saved, because of a Huntsville initiative?
This Alabama program also shared concrete plans on subjects as diverse as social reconciliation, biotechnology, agriculture, breast cancer awareness, and combating extremism. Global Ties >Alabama is a nonprofit that brings future foreign leaders through US State Department programs to Alabama.
It introduces them to our areas of expertise, challenge, and measured hope. These visitors, carefully vetted by our embassies in their countries, come here in select groups to study common interests. What they learn, of course, is much more than what they hear in presentations.
They see and get to know average Americans, and how our values are reflected in reality. In frank and transparent discussions, they find all questions are on the table, the good, the bad, and the embarrassing. Noteworthy as well, they see America is a land whose Declaration of Independence is a work in progress, not a dead sheet from the misty past. Alabamians the guests meet are extremely honest, too. We speak openly about our historical and present trials and successes with racial matters, voting, immigration, and democratic practices in our state.
The tiny Global Ties>Alabama office of Huntsville coordinates several US State Department projects. They are supported by a host of dedicated Alabama volunteers, businesses, and government organizations. Each offers the hospitality of time, tours, presentations, and home visits to these enthusiastic guests.
The United States, shortly before World War II, thought it a national security requirement to let future foreign leaders know the real America. They knew even then that media alone could not capture the real America. Average Americans, inspired by a belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can best be seen and understood in their places of work, at ease at home, and in our countryside.
We are a good, democratically minded people, whose story can be told best by ourselves. An earlier young French visitor Alexis de Tocqueville noticed some two hundred years ago when he visited this young republic, that “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” If you believe this too, then you’ll believe that we should encourage other foreign guests to see us as we really are.
We want the world to know our new Alabama. We want to showcase you as a U. S. citizen diplomat. We would like to give you the chance to serve as a guide to international visitors and invite them into your home for dinner and Southern hospitality. You can do that with Global Ties Alabama! Information at 256-532-3560 or online at <globaltiesalabama.org>
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