Paul Lachelier, the founding director of Learning Life, writes that "diplomacy is a social art or ethic especially needed in our divided world." Believing that diplomacy can be practiced by families as well as professionals, Learning Life has launched the Family Diplomacy Initiative - a way to make the most of social media and our increasing hours online.
Learning Life, a USA-based educational nonprofit, is now welcoming families worldwide to participate in an international food culture project via Facebook. This project is the next phase in the development of Learning Life's Family Diplomacy Initiative.
Founded in 2012, Learning Life aims to spread learning and citizen engagement beyond school walls in innovative ways. Launched in 2016, FDI is now Learning Life flagship program, and works to connect families worldwide with an eye to developing a family form of citizen diplomacy for a more caring world. Families are widely valued across cultures, and deeply impacted by world events, from climate change to immigration to virus transmission, yet have little voice, as families, in international affairs. (Click here for five reasons why families should be involved in diplomacy.) We believe greater focus in international affairs on the needs, challenges, joys and hopes of families worldwide can help build a more peaceful, caring world.
FDI began in summer 2016 with test live internet dialogues between lower-income families in Washington DC, Dakar, Senegal, and Porto de la Libertad, El Salvador. From 2017 to 2019, we completed a community photo project then a food culture and nutrition project engaging small numbers of lower-income families in the USA, El Salvador, Senegal and Jordan. In so doing, we leveraged volunteers and the internet to engage families that don't have the luxury to travel abroad. Since summer 2019, we have more than tripled the number of families worldwide connected to FDI on Facebook as we scale up for our next phase.
In this new phase, hundreds of families worldwide have the opportunity to share and learn from each other about their respective food cultures through six questions we will pose from April to October. The questions, and the months they will be posed, are:
We ask families in the Facebook group to answer the questions with one or more photos plus a brief explanation of the photo(s) in English or their own language. A panel of families living in different countries across the world has been selected to answer all six questions to ensure we get a variety of answers reflecting some of the world's diversity of food cultures. In future years, we plan to pose new questions on new themes that invite families to share and learn more about family life, country cultures, world trends, and international issues.
In addition, Learning Life is posting other content of interest to families to the FDI Facebook Group:
Families must understand and be comfortable with the fact that what they share will be public, on Facebook, and will be publicized via Learning Life's website and social media pages (primarily Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin).
To join FDI on Facebook click here.
If you would like to participate in the food culture project, please let me know by connecting with me on Facebook, and messaging me to let me know you are interested, as well as the city and country your family where your family currently lives.
Questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest!
Paul Lachelier, Ph.D.
Founder & Director, Learning Life
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Karen Leggett Abouraya