About the Author: Charles A. Ray serves as U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe.
Many people believe that, in addition to issuing visas to foreigners wishing to visit the United States, American embassy officials primarily discuss weighty international issues with foreign officials. The truth is that most U.S. diplomats, including ambassadors, spend a far greater percentage of time reaching out to average citizens in the countries where we work.
Outreach might sound simple but can be very challenging, especially in countries where the power center seeks to maintain and tighten its control over the population. Leaders unwilling to give up power don’t appreciate outside voices questioning their methods and goals. Finding the right tools to facilitate the sharing of ideas and information can be difficult, but, thanks to the efforts of Sharon Hudson-Dean, my public affairs counselor, and the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) based in… more »