We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
As America’s Unofficial Ambassadors volunteers settle back into their home communities here in America, diplomacy begins to take on new meaning. Knowledge and culture is not only shared over a whirlwind few weeks overseas, but also sinks into conversations and perceptions at home. As our School-2-School teachers and Summer Service interns complete presentations to their churches, schools, peers, and libraries, they relate their experiences while continuing to process them. Diplomacy is a lifetime of learning, growing, and interpreting. By reading our interns’ blog posts, we can observe that living in the Muslim World has affected them in more subtle ways: being aware of different paces of life, contributing nuanced comments in discussions, dreaming of a culture far away which has been brought into vivid reality.
To all of our AUA Blog followers, we encourage you to reach out. If you have volunteered in the Muslim World, whether with AUA or not, send us thoughts, event notifications, and stories of your adventures building mutual understanding. If you have never experienced the Muslim World, feel free to join the AUA Network for events, webinars, and news. Also, volunteer presentations may be happening in your neck of the woods – our blog and Facebook will publicize such talks. Today, Misato Nakayama will be presenting at her International Studies Senior Seminar at Washington College.
School-2-School Teacher Sam Schindler presented at The Temple Religious School yesterday. In his reflections on his school’s partnership with a high school in Bangladesh, he cites the power of learning, friendship, and intercultural interfaith dialogue, not to mention a few fascinating observations on Muslim culture in the country. Take a look at his fantastic presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea8fXgqwVdw&list=UUxgo4BRStW4YFGWCiTk1cmw