Development as Public Diplomacy

From Patrick Madden writing at the Sister Cities International blog

When many people think of Sister Cities International, they think cultural exchanges. A choir tour from South Africa or a young person visiting Germany for a few weeks in the summer as their first experience abroad. For 50+ years, we've done a tremendous job reaching our hands out across oceans and borders, navigating language differences to being a dialogue using culture as a means toward common ground. These are very valuable, and often life changing, experiences for the individuals or the delegation on the trip. But more and more local sister city programs are being asked to do more for their sister cities abroad and their communities at home. These activities take the shape of "international development," which is a pretty broad moniker for economic development, sustainable development, work on the MDGs, and so forth. I have to share a terrific example on this front that demonstrates how some sister city programs go well beyond culture to deliver on our mission.

For years local sister city progams have been working on water issues with their sister city partners abroad. Last year, P&G provided Sister Cities International a grant to launch a Safe Drinking Water Initiative in Ethiopia and Nigeria. In short, the program taps six sister cities (3 U.S. with 3 African) to provide temporary clean drinking water and public education programs on the importance and impact of safe drinking water. The immediate clean water is made possible using a product created by P&G, PUR-Purifier of Water. folks in the U.S. will think of the water purifier instrument you might attach to a faucet, but a related P&G product is a packet when dropped in a turbid water, will clean in 5 minutes. I've seen it, I've taken a drink afterward, and the results are visually stunning and more importantly it instantly creates a healthy water. …

Read the whole post at Type, Talk & Transform World Peace.