Sunday, March 11, 2007

American in Paris

We started in Washington, DC with a seminar about the difference between Americans and Europeans. The key difference is that Americans are active and forward thinkers, and risk takers. Our motto is "just do it." Where as Europeans are much more deliberate and philosophical. At RWN, we know that the women who come are thinking forward about their new lives now, and their futures for their children. That's why RWN's mission is about building on women's strengths, skills, and courage. Refugee and immigrant women come here, not knowing what they will face, but they come anyway. So that message resonates strongly with me.

Today I am in Paris and we had dinner with two journalists who spoke about the future of France. They are in the run up to a presidential election and they are also grappling with the issue of integrating immigrants. In the United States, we are a country of immigrants, and yet now that is a hot button issue. Dinner ended too soon, despite lasting over 2 hours.

Tomorrow we begin our trip in earnest, meeting policy makers and opinion shapers about immigration, integration, and education. Most exciting will be meeting high school students, the future generation that will shape France.

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