Today is my last day at my host office. During four weeks in Connecticut, I have a great chance to broaden my professional expertise, knowledge and understanding for better address the challenges facing in my country especially in term of promoting local participatory in governance and legislation. Moreover, I have been offered the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of American society.
Thus, I was thinking “what should I do for those staffs who are always nice and kind to me. Yes, I can cook!! and Yes, everyone here loves Thai Food especially “Pad Thai”. So before I leave, at least everyone will remember me, their first international intern and fellow from Thailand who can cook Pad Thai well.
I wonder whether food can be “a tool” to strengthen any relationships. In Thai culture, we normally welcome our guests with the great and best quality food. I was also invited to have many wonderful home-made dishes at my colleagues’ place. Then, I google and this word comes out “Culinary Diplomacy”.
According to Culinary Diplomacy: The Power of Food As A Tool Of Peace posted by World Food Program USA, Culinary diplomacy, an emerging field of diplomatic studies, examines how food can be used as a tool to promote relationship-building, cooperation, and peace. The meal both serves as a reflection of hospitality and ingredients. Some countries i.e. Thailand, Peru, and the United States have also launched public-facing culinary diplomacy campaigns, reaching out to foreign officials using food to promote trade, tourism and cooperation. Culinary diplomacy can also occur on an everyday level when each of us interacts with people from around the world in a culinary context.
To learn about our global neighbors, sometimes it’s as easy as going out for dinner. Food is one of the oldest tools in the diplomat’s kit.
According to the program expectation to strengthen people-to-people ties between the US and young Southeast Asian leaders, so I think I accomplished with this task!!! Thanks for the State Department and ICMA (as well as US Embassy, Bangkok) for generous fund. I am appreciated that!