Tuesday, October 24, 2006

'You Internalize It in Your Gut'

Huge congratulations to Millie Ravenel, director of University of North Carolina's Center for International Understanding, and her colleagues for re-prooving one of the most underutilized tools of social change: socializing! Travel to listen, learn and try to see things from the other side.

There are two great pieces featured on National Public Radio on the way Americans on both sides of the immigration debate had transformative experiences when they took a week-long trip to Mexico to better understand why people actually immigrate to the US.

I think this process has profound potential. It always has. As a former Peace Corps volunteer from Russia who grew up in the 80s under the nuclear-armed thumbs of Reagan and Gorbachev, I too had some serious "aha" moments when I met my peers from the "evil empire."

Taking it one step further, how about a study tour to Egypt, Saudi Arabia or even Iran for Americans? Every Westerner I know who's been there says they felt Iran was one of the friendliest countries they have ever visited. Why not?!?!

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