One of the classes that I am taking is now doing the Virtual Dinner Guest Project with the founders in Cairo, Egypt. Unlike other formal or informal public diplomacy activities happens between the U.S and the Egypt, the Virtual Dinner Guest Project is definitely more provoking in terms of getting people from both countries to know each other.
Some ideas about this program:
“The Virtual Dinner Guest Project is an international multimedia initiative born from a simple premise: It is harder to ignore, vilify or harm those with whom we have broken bread.
The nuts and bolts of the project are straightforward. Imagine making a videoconference call from your dinner table while you and members of your community share a meal and a moderated discussion with people in another country. There is some strategy involved in the selection process, as countries that share less than amicable relations are actively sought out. Countries that suffer from overly facile media profiles of one another are also a point of focus.
The dinner table represents the world’s oldest and most universal social forum. The Virtual Dinner Guest project draws upon this notion and then extends the concept of the shared dining experience across borders and cultural divisions. Imagine dinner tables extending into the living room of a family in Cairo, the Yale University cafeteria or a rooftop Café in Tunis.
The Virtual Dinner Guest Project has actually realized all of the above scenarios. The project first launched from the US with a series of Virtual Dinners that connected Americans to participants in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Kampala, Uganda and Karachi, Pakistan. The VDG Project ultimately intends to function as a platform for collaborative social entrepreneurship as well as a forum for international discourse.”