To Make the Earth Whole, by Marc Gopin

June 6, 2011

This is a case study in citizen diplomacy, defined as the attempt by private citizens to develop relationships with people in countries that are hostile toward one's own country. Citizen diplomacy is especially beneficial in regard to countries cut off from the rest of the world by authoritarian rulers. People outside official circles are freer to make new relationships and think new thoughts about other countries. It can in time help to humanize an enemy. Gopin writes out of his own five-year experiment in bridge building with religious extremists in Syria. Gopin, a rabbi, teaches at George Mason Uni­versity where he is director of the Center on Religion, Dip­lomacy and Con­flict Resolution.