During our first program back in the 1990’s with the two embattled communities in Northern Ireland, the USA ambassador to the UK was heard to make this comment. When we heard it, we knew at once it summed up our idea of social capital, describing what we are about in building a network.
While each of us can do amazing things solo, the new story we are intent on creating in a war zone is that “things are better when done together.” NSL is always about Palestine-Israel-USA and Israel-Palestine-USA.
While nations argue over borders, the global economy thrives when barriers to trade and culture. faith and technology are broken down. If you ask the graduates of the Irish and South African and Middle East programs what was the most lasting value of the program, most will say- the relationships.
Ask what that means and you will hear of Host Parents visiting, attending weddings, anniversaries, of their host sons and daughters in Ireland, South Africa, Israel and Palestine. You will hear of a graduate traveling 500 miles in Europe to catch up with his American family and his room mate. You will hear about alums coming back to DC, staying for a week, or a month or a year, introducing their partners, celebrating the milestones of their Host Families.
Never underestimate the transformative power of individual relationships.