International exchange programs such as the IVLP, and the dedicated citizen diplomats around the United States who administer them, are indispensable components of U.S. public diplomacy. Indeed, participating in public diplomacy is the responsibility of all Americans, a point I make in my op-ed published in the Christian Science Monitor on January 5.
In the piece, I reflect on, and try to dispel, five myths about American public diplomacy. One of those myths is that “Public diplomacy is the government’s job.” It is certainly the government’s job; but it is not only government’s job. Rather it is every American’s job as well. I use a favorite example to illustrate this point: a film on the life of Elvis Presley showing him in his Army uniform, having just arrived in Germany. In the clip, Elvis says: “What we do here will reflect on America and our way of life.” Elvis wasn’t just the King; he was also a citizen diplomat.
[I tried to find-- or rather had some younger, more Youtube-savvy colleagues try to find-- the clip I reference above, but to no avail. Instead, here is a short clip about Elvis' little known days serving in the Army in Germany:]