Soft Power: The Monthly Roundup (June edition)

With s’mores ingredients and charcoal prominently displayed in supermarkets across the United States, summer is definitely in full swing. The change of seasons comes with an increase in activity, so for this month’s edition of Soft Power, the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy is showcasing eight events from around the globe that brought people together to encourage unexpected dialogue.

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Firecrackers, Food, Family, and Fun: Why I Love Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year (LNY) is an extremely special and important time in Chinese culture. Families gather round for bountiful meals, and children anticipate red envelopes filled with cash. In the streets, fire crackers are set off, and festive red and gold decorations complement the lion dances and parades. LNY lasts for the first 15 days of the Chinese lunar calendar, and this year, festivities begin on February 19th. While LNY is filled with fun and games, there is actually a lot of preparation and work done for the holiday.

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Chinese netizens discover the United States

In late November, Meridian International Center and the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Press Center warmly received a cohort of ten Chinese “netizens” (a portmanteau of “internet” and “citizens”) who displayed a deft awareness for the power of the blogosphere.

The netizens expressed their appreciation and satisfaction with what they all agreed was a very well designed and relevant program.  They were particularly pleased that they were able to participate in such a wide range of activities; saying that the visit did much to increase their understanding of the United States and both the differences and similarities between the two countries. Continue