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Foreign Policy Analysis
Punk Rock Diplomacy | Ep. 2 | The Future Starts Here

Punk Rock Diplomacy | Ep. 2 | The Future Starts Here


– So I gotta tell you this story about when I was 18 and I was invited to the Soviet Union as
a student ambassador. I was excited that I’d be, you know, one of the first Americans that
they’d ever meet over there, so I get over there
full of hopes and dreams and they did not have a lot of fruit and vegetables over there for us and let’s just say, after a
couple weeks, I got stopped up. The tour guide on this trip, he was cute, I didn’t want to talk to him about that, but anyways, I was in pain, I had to deal with the situation, so I
build up the courage to talk to him, and I was like, explained
it, I was, “Can you write, “in Cyrillic, can you write, “Pharmacy”?” He was, like, “Sure”. So he writes it down in Cyrillic, he hands me a piece of paper, so I go off into the streets of Moscow,
walking up to strangers going, “Dratvitsya”, and showing
them this piece of paper, with Cyrillic on it,
and they’d look at me, they’d look at the piece of paper, and they would just go,
“Da, da”, like they were in complete agreement
with me and understanding and it was this amazing connection, but they weren’t pointing me anywhere. And then I realized
after a couple of hours, that this piece of paper
didn’t say pharmacy in Cyrillic, it said constipated. I’m Tiffany Schlain,
I’m a mother, filmmaker, I founded the Webby Awards,
and this series is about how the future doesn’t start somewhere far off in the distance,
the future starts here. (bass drum music, bicycle
bell, motorcycle engine) So that was kind of my
first experience with what I’m calling, Punk Rock Diplomacy. And recently I’ve been thinking about how a lot of times when
we see international relations, it has this
distant deep formality, and all of that work is very important, but there’s this whole
other layer going on that not a lot of people know about. That’s not as much about
resolving conflict, and more about making connections. (flamenco music) I feel so lucky that, for
the past several years, I’ve been part of this amazing program with the US State
Department, which started after World War II when a
bipartisan group in Congress got together and thought, “How can we make “sure another World War doesn’t happen?” And they came up with
people to people diplomacy. The idea is to connect across borders on a human level with culture, art, music and ideas rather than just politics. (trumpet music) So in the early 1950s, they
sent what people called, the Jazz Ambassadors, Louis Armstrong, Stan Getz, and others all over the world. And it was this great success, and so the State
Department kept the program going and added more components, like the program I’m involved with is called The American Film Showcase, and my feature documentary,
Connected, was selected. My first trip with the
program was to South Africa. We just arrived in Cape Town,
and look at that rainbow. She’s from the embassy,
which sounds so cool. (drum music) (South African chanting) Then I went to Israel. I’m walking along the
old city of Jerusalem. And those trips have been some of the most profound experiences of my life. It’s very powerful.
(applause) And the reason I’m calling
these experiences Punk Rock Diplomacy is because the
connection is so raw and authentic. On these trips, when
I’m visiting countries, I’m talking to filmmakers,
exchanging stories, and there’s this incredible realness, and punk rock music was sort of a reaction to all the big, glossy rock shows that were happening in
the 70s, up on stage, big lights, separation
between band and audience. And then, punk rock was more DIY, edgier, more connection to the audience. And I think that’s what
this program is all about. I’m not saying Punk Rock Diplomacy is better than politics,
it’s just that there are more and more ways for people to
make connections across borders. We’ve started a new
experiment with the program that we’re calling, Virtual
Cloud Filmmaking Salon. When I can’t travel to
a country, we’re hosting these online video
workshops with filmmakers, and we’ve already done them
with Lebanon and Egypt. And the workshops are
centered on what my team and I have been doing for
several years that we call, cloud filmmaking, where
we make collaborative films with people from all over
the world with cell phones. And it’s been this amazing experience of creating with all these filmmakers. – What I’d like to see in the 21st century is to remember how to
keep a human connection. – [Tiffany] Nelson Mandela once said, “Films are a powerful tool to foster “understanding and
tolerance in the world.” And I do feel like with these cloud films, every time we make them, we’re making these new synapses in this global brain. With the internet, the possibilities are endless for this kind of diplomacy. And just like punk rock, everyone can dive into the mosh pit, so I’d like to invite all of you to join in making
one of our cloud films. We almost always have
a call for submissions on our site, and we’d love
to collaborate with you. So whatever your passion
is, you can think, “How can I connect with someone “in another part of the world
over that similar passion?” And those connections,
that’s Punk Rock Diplomacy. And that’s gonna create more empathy in this world, and we need
more empathy in this world. (guitar music)

2 comments on “Punk Rock Diplomacy | Ep. 2 | The Future Starts Here

  1. It come of pretty ignorant to try to turn one cute story into an explanation of trans-cultural politics. It also turns into humble-bragging at the end. This video is a wast of time as there is zero insight for a person who talks nothing about all of the cultures they have experienced. Please re-edit and upload again, there may be something there, it just really really isn't showing now.

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