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Summit to promote citizen diplomacy

Civic leaders, business people, educators and others in the community will be part of a conversation this week to promote international dialogue and exchange.

As part of the Sister Cities International Conference in Spokane, about 100 local citizens and 100 conference attendees will explore “beliefs, values and actions that build friendship and promote understanding and peace throughout the world” during the inaugural Community Summit on Citizen Diplomacy.

The event – Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel downtown – is the first of more than 70 community summits nationwide.

The summit is designed to raise awareness of international issues, organizers say, and to encourage global interaction at the grass-roots level.

“It’s a way for us to learn more about what we can do as citizens in our community to increase the understanding of what’s going on in the world,” said Kathleen Mackenzie, a member of the World Affairs Council of Spokane, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that aims to enhance understanding of international issues.

The gathering will also provide people with the opportunity to build networks and learn about other resources to foster exchanges and global understanding, said Elsa Distelhorst, the summit coordinator.

During the three-hour event, participants will attempt to answer questions about community support for global engagement, working with diverse groups and maintaining international relations while keeping national security in mind.

Key findings from the Spokane summit will be included with those from other gatherings throughout the country and used during next summer’s National Summit on Citizen Diplomacy in Washington, D.C.

The event is sponsored by the World Affairs Council, the International Trade Alliance, AHANA Business and Professional Association and Whitworth College’s School of Global Commerce and Management.



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