Every one of us can contribute to the cause of peace — not only in our own communities but also nationally and internationally. “Citizen’s Diplomacy” means that ordinary citizens and their local political representatives — at city, county, and state levels — take responsibility for establishing peaceful, constructive relationships between nations. Forming these relationships is essential, given the reluctance of the U.S. federal government to solve international conflict diplomatically.
Let us take the very dangerous conflict between N. Korea and the United States as an example. U.S. cities can form sister city relationships with Korean cities, North and South. With an awareness that war is devastating to human life, including the lives of children, a school district in the United States can seek to create a friendly relationship with a corresponding school or school district in North or South Korea. American teachers and students might ask to visit schools in North and South Korea, and invite their teachers and students to visit our schools. The better we understand one another, the less likely we will be to view one another as “the enemy.” We can resolve to live together in peace, and insist that our leaders find non-violent, collaborative solutions to the problems facing our respective countries and the world.
There are other ways as well in which local political officials and the constituencies they represent can advance this cause. Every state in the nation can become a center for peace education and advocacy, forming a “peace institute” as described below.