“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Today, as Barack Obama recites the presidential oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, it’s important to note the full breadth of his cross cultural understanding.
We firmly believe that exposure to other countries and cultures is instrumental in helping us truly see another person’s point of view. Outstanding communication skills and overall understanding paves the way for diplomatic leadership. A significant experience living, working, or studying abroad introduces us to new attitudes, behaviors and views while developing skills that can be used to effectively communicate within these differences. An experience abroad also gives the host country a chance to explore and understand the visitor’s culture and experiences. It forces exposure, for both the host and the visitor, to other points of views that result in learning valuable cross cultural skills that can improve our perceptions about each other and world affairs.
From our own personal experiences, as independent travelers, we can attest that a president with the gift of communication and cross cultural understanding could not come at a more critical time in our history. Regardless of why it is so or whether you believe it to be necessary, the world would like to see a new tone set by the United States. President Barack Obama’s experience in these areas of communication and cross cultural understanding, gives him, and thus the United States, a chance to truly shine. If his skills are used wisely, President Obama has the opportunity to be a great leader in a long line of American presidents. He is a great orator and has the skills necessary to express this nation’s ideals resulting in a fundamental change in perceptions of the United States around the world. As Colin Powell opines, “the new president is going to have to fix the reputation that we’ve left with the rest of the world.” Mr. Powell also adds that an Obama presidency “will also not only electrify our country, I think it’ll electrify the world.” We can already see that happening today though, admittedly, this is a honeymoon period in a president’s tenure, as a presidential record for the 44th president does not yet exist. However, we can certainly hope that the electricity Mr. Powell refers to continues to flow in a positive direction.