|Eleanor at the bow under way, applauding dolphins.|
According to the State Department website, the JDP seeks to, “leverage and promote goodwill by U.S. citizens abroad, obtain information that can be used to help resident, in-country ambassadors allocate funding to improve relations, and better understand foreign nationals’ perceptions of the United States from a man-in-the-street point of view.”
We simply complete a form each month online, kind of like a survey. After the basics (where we traveled during the month) we check off the types of interactions we had with foreign nationals (retail, restaurant, hotel, other) and then provide a few details about select interactions.For example, in the notes section of the report we submitted two weeks ago, I reported that I talked to a Mexican welder about the U.S. political race and how Obama is likely to defeat his Republican opponent come November. I indicated that the welder agreed with my assessment and seemed to like Obama. Yesterday I received feedback from a State Department employee indicating this is a perfect example of the kind of anecdotal accounts they are looking for. They said the few junior diplomats they have enrolled today who travel the world on boats are prized because, “they tend to have interactions with people and businesses that are very different from those experienced by casual, short-term travelers.” He urged me to spread the word.
So, I’m letting you all know. Click to access the U.S. State Department Junior Diplomat Program (JDP) Enrollment Form and to get more information. Participant counts are restricted by region, so hurry! (And please forward to others who may be interested...)--MR