Videos

Conflict Kitchen: Dialogue Through Food

http://conflictkitchen.org/photos/
http://conflictkitchen.org/photos/

This is a very interesting TED talk about “gastrodiplomacy,” cultural diplomacy through a country’s culinary delights. Among the several gastrodiplomacy examples she raised during the lecture, I’d like to focus here on “Conflict Kitchen.”

Conflict Kitchen is a takeout restaurant in Pittsburg, which only serves food from countries that the United Stated is in conflict with. Previously, they served food from Cuba, Afghanistan, Iran, and Venezuela, and now they are serving North Korean food.
What is appealing about this project is how they prepare and serve the food. They worked collaboratively with North Korean defectors to create the menu and to develop the recipes. And the food is served packaged in wrappers, which include interviews with North Korean people on the food, culture, and politics of their country. Each interview section includes multiple perspectives and sometime they contradict to each other; it also includes criticisms about their government. That is, the customers not only get a tasty meal from little-known countries but a chance to get a broader view about the country “outside of the polarizing rhetoric of governmental politics and the narrow lens of media headlines,” and to start discussion.

Both their planning process and the way the food is served involve interactive activities. Although they rotate the menus every few months in relation to current geopolitical events, the project itself seems to have no or very little governments’ involvement.
Distant from political control and interactive structure are the two characteristics described in Gienow-Hecht’s argument about successful cultural diplomacy.

-Emi

Super Bowl 2014 and the Power of Partnerships

‘Invisible’ by U2

For those who watched the Super Bowl last Sunday, it was hard to miss the huge campaign by U2 and Bank of America. During the game U2 have performed and released their new single for free download within 24 hours after the game, while for each download Bank of America donated one dollar to an organization cofounded by Bono in 2006 to combat AIDS. The campaign proved a tremendous success raising $3 Million for AIDS fight.

In light of recent discussion in class about the significance of partnerships, this campaign is a great evidence for growing importance of cross sector partnerships when it comes to raising awareness and/or funds for a cause. It is hard to imagine a government-led campaign of the same scope becoming equally successful. Moreover this is a perfect win-win situation in which both- the Bank of America and Bono significantly leverage their social presence while an important cause is being supported.

Continue reading Super Bowl 2014 and the Power of Partnerships