Magazine article International Educator

Sensitizing Americans Abroad

Magazine article International Educator

Sensitizing Americans Abroad

Article excerpt

[WORLD CITIZENSHIP]

"IF YOU COULD ADVISE Americans on what they could do to be better global citizens and to reduce resentment towards them, what would you say?" The answers to this question, posed by Keith Reinhard, chairman of New York City-based advertising agency DDB Worldwide to his foreign national staff working around the world, appear with college students' own advice in the new World Citizens Guide. The book is published by Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), a non-profit headed by Reinhard and created in January 2004 to channel private sector involvement in public diplomacy. The volume's creators aim to help reduce anti-American sentiment abroad, which surveys show increased during 2004, by educating U.S. students heading overseas about culturally appropriate behavior.

The book-not to be mistaken for a traditional travel guide-was written by students for students under the guidance of SMU's Patricia Alvey, director of that school's Temerlin Advertising Institute. Chapters such as "Are You Ready to Listen?" and "God, Allah, or Krishna" offer advice on how to learn the most from living overseas while earning the respect of people with different cultural, political, and religious values. Among the book's messages: Listen first, speak later; avoid discussions about politics and religion. The volume's breezy text is peppered with culturally specific admonitions such as "If you touch the top of someone's head in Indonesia, they will most likely be very insulted" and "In Japan it is considered rude to look at a person directly in the eye for more than a few seconds. …

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