Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Audrey Hepburn and celebrity diplomacy

A new book on celebrities and international affairs has just been released, called Celebrity Diplomacy. In it, author Andrew Cooper discusses how the growing trend of celebrity diplomats has changed and molded the very art of diplomacy itself, and also acts as a guide for future celebrities looking to go into a more humanitarian field during or after their careers. While Angelina Jolie and Bono may get a lot of attention now for their meetings with Congress and the UN for their causes, only two women can be traced back to the firm roots of celebrity diplomats: Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana. At least that's how it is according to Cooper. The book looks like it's a very fascinating read, especially considering the fact that the growing number of celebrity endorsements for humanitarian aid and calls to awareness are really, literally changing the art of diplomacy for anyone involved, well-known or not. You can read more about the book here, if you're interested.

There's also another book on humanitarian work that I've been thinking over for a while, but this one applies more to you and me directly. It's called Volunteer: A Traveler's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World, and it's a more down-to-earth and more easily attainable way to help people around the world. Most people want to travel and explore the world, and this book can help you turn an ordinary sightseeing trip into a meaningful and useful journey to people in need and spiritual growth. While the average person like you and me would love to do what the celebrities listed above do, traveling the world and raising awareness and helping people become self-sufficient, it's nearly impossible for most of us to get that sort of a job through UNICEF or the UN -- at least, not without a highly specialized degree and years of experience already under your belt. Thankfully, though, we have the Internet and tons of websites dedicated to people just like us who just want to help, no questions asked. Just do a search for "volunteer" and you're hit with hundreds of websites for anything from local volunteering to translating. If you know where you'd like to go, though, or know that you would like to help the elderly, or children, or women, or some other specific group of people, then might be the right choice for you. You can search by continent, country, region, and even by what sort of services you have to offer, and they will show you whatever is available at the time, and how long it will last. You can even specify in your search how long you'd like to volunteer, from a week to two years! So if you want to get out there and do some good face to face, it is possible for you.

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