“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve

the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among

the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and

of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that

they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

~ Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence with a clear belief that the opinions of others mattered- even at a time when it took nearly three months for a handwritten copy of the newly adopted Declaration to reach Europe by ship.

Whether 13 colonies, united with fragile bonds in 1776, or a continental power in the early 21st century - when people learn about events in real time - the United States of America is rightly concerned with how it is perceived around the world. These perceptions affect jobs. They determine whether others buy U.S. products and services, vacation at U.S. destinations, or study at our universities; they constrain or encourage others to cooperate with us to solve difficult global problems. In other words, foreign perceptions of the United States ultimately influence our economic well-being and national security.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July with parades, picnics, and the blazing pyrotechnics of fireworks displays, we should be concerned with our country’s image abroad. Is Uncle Sam a benign, appealing figure that represents the ideals embraced by the Republic’s founders? Or is he perceived as a bully, coercing desired behavior rather than eliciting cooperation?

There are a group of modern day patriots who work hard to earn a “decent respect” for our country. These are citizen diplomats who, by participating in international exchange programs, volunteer their time and expertise to strengthen relationships between citizens of the United States and those other countries “one handshake at a time.”

For more than fifty years, the National Council for International Visitors , a nonprofit member association, has promoted excellence in citizen diplomacy: the concept that in a vibrant democracy, the individual citizen has the responsibility to help shape U.S. foreign relations. Through NCIV’s 93 member organizations located throughout the country, including the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, tens of thousands of citizen diplomats host foreign leaders who participate in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and other exchanges.

In fact, just last month at our Council's Annual Meeting, we recognized the efforts of four local citizens who help build connections between New Hampshire and emerging leaders from around the globe through the Council’s International Visitors Program: Jane Bradstreet, of Contoocook, was honored as the Citizen Diplomat of the Year for hosting international visitors nearly a dozen times in 2010; Dick Miller, a teacher at Souhegan High School in Amherst, was honored as Educator of the Year for teaching his social studies students valuable lessons about our increasingly globalized world through visits from these international leaders; and Virginia Drew, of Epsom, director of the New Hampshire Statehouse Visitors Center, was honored as Program Resource of the Year for her dedication to the program and long hours spent giving tours of the statehouse to international visitors, often from emerging democracies abroad, interested in local and state governance and history. Herb Pence, WACNH Vice President, was also honored for his service as a leader of the program, among other contributions, with the President's Award.

By opening their homes, offices, and schools to these foreign leaders, volunteers with the World Affairs Council of New Hampshire and other NCIV members foster international cooperation and build a globally literate workforce. These citizen diplomats, part of a growing national movement, embody a strong and effective form of patriotism that is essential in this globalized 21st century.

As we pause to reflect on the patriotic spirit that motivated our founding fathers this Independence Day, let us also take a moment to celebrate the contributions of citizen diplomats and make an effort to recruit more volunteers to this critically important work. Although Council events are on break for the summer, the International Visitors Program is still in high gear. If you're interested in hosting an emerging global leader for dinner this summer, contact Membership Coordinator Larry McCrumat (603) 314-7970 today! You can also learn more about our critical work by reading our 2010 Annual Report, which was mailed to all WACNH members.

Have a wonderful holiday weekendy!


Anna Haigh
Executive Director




Combatting Corruption: July 3rd - July 7th

Two visitors from Indonesia will visit New Hampshire to look at our governmental systems that help make NH the least corrupt state in the nation.  Meetings with governmental organizations, non-profits, and the media will give the visitors a solid overview of this topic.

Voluntourism: July 10th - July 13th

A group of 10 tourism officials from Egypt will visit New Hampshire to talk about the ideas behind Voluntourism, or the idea of volunteer vacations.  Meetings with governmental agencies, non-profits, and for-profits will be arranged to discuss how each sector promotes the ideas behind this new field.

Legislative Leadership for Educational Transformation: July 17th - July 21st

A group of 4 South Africans will come to New Hampshire for discussions on how the State Legislature functions in regards to funding for school systems.  Meetings with legislators, school boards, and non-profits will give the visitors an overview of these systems, which help make NH the least corrupt state in the nation.  Meetings with governmental organizations, non-profits, and the media will give the visitors a solid overview of this topic.

If you have any questions about the program, or would like to invite visitors to have dinner in your home or provide professional resources, please contact either Program Director Tim Horgan (thorgan@wacnh.org) or Membership Coordinator Larry McCrum (lmccrum@wacnh.org) at (603) 314-7970.



Monadnock Ledger Transcript

Read more about a local teacher's trip to Turkey, an educational program provided by WACNH, the World Affairs Councils of America and the Turkish Cultural Foundation. Michele Thomas (above), of Wilton-Lyndeborough High School, and James Choquette, of Londonderry High School, were chosen to represent New Hampshire in Turkey. 

Listen as longtime WACNH member and volunteer Kim Tyndall explains the importance of the Council to the Granite State in "Giving Matters" on New Hampshire Public Radio, a project with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.


WACNH is an independent, non-profit, educational organization located on the campus of 
Southern New Hampshire University, our mission partner.

World Affairs Council of New Hampshire - Southern New Hampshire University - Ford House
2500 N. River Road - Manchester - NH - 03106 - council@wacnh.org - (603) 314-7970

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