May 14, 2021
Inspired by the Global Diplomacy Lab which Fulbright recently joined as lead partner, three Fulbrighters discussed this question in an online panel on May 10 facilitated by journalist Madeleine Schwartz – together with around 120 participants.
Dr. Astrid Schmidt-King (Executive in Residence in International Business from Loyola University Maryland) highlighted how focusing on racial equity not only contributes to social progress, but it also creates and supports sustainable business growth; businesses both in the U.S. and in Europe are taking cues from each other. She also stressed how technology can be leveraged for citizen diplomacy and for holding businesses and institutions accountable. With the increased role of business as a social actor and activist, accountability is critical. Maximizing profits and advancing the social good are not mutually exclusive concepts or objectives; business decisions and actions can have, and arguably should have, both positive economic and social consequences.
Regarding the transnational dimension of civil rights movements like Black Lives Matter, Dr. Noaquia Callahan (Founder & CEO Colored Bird Institute) explained that this is historically speaking not a new phenomenon, but that the increasing pressure potential of the transnational movements on the national governments in question cannot be underestimated – also given the means of digital communication nowadays.
Dr. Callahan also stressed the importance of making international education part of the educational curriculum at an earlier age – and accessible to all. Invoking curiosity instead of fear of the unknown. And fostering their engagement as citizen ambassadors when abroad, but also bringing their international experience back to their home communities.
Luisa Seiler (Executive Director of the Schwarzkopf-Stiftung Junges Europa) emphasized that we should not shy away from uncomfortable conversations – within our domestic societies and internationally, also seeing that we have to collaborate closely on so many pressing, global challenges. She elaborated on the importance of empowering young citizens to advocate for democratic, pluralistic societies and international understanding: By providing programs and platforms for intercultural exchange, but also as spcaes for them to formulate their viewpoints and share them widely, so that the younger generation is also heard.
The lively discussion and exchange of best practices confirmed the relevance of inclusive diplomacy also beyond traditional politics. The Fulbright Program, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is glad to contribute to this endeavor.