Author of The Hundred-Foot Journey highlights the importance of fostering understanding across cultures, languages, and borders through food.
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The Washington, DC-based nonprofit Global Ties U.S. is pleased to announce that Richard C. Morais will be named 2015 Citizen Diplomat of the Year, the organization’s highest honor. Mr. Morais is receiving this award for promoting cross-cultural understanding in all of his literary works. Most significant of these works isThe Hundred-Foot Journey, now an acclaimed motion picture of the same name starring Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.
As the author said in a recent interview with Global Ties U.S., “All of my stories try and work out how you both honor a home culture and country, and yet deal with a world that is not static or homogenous.” The Hundred-Foot Journey—tracing the journey of Chef Hassan Haji from Bombay, India through England and ultimately to France—exemplifies the trials and triumphs that are a necessary part of bridging cultures and understanding between people and nations. Through its rich and imagery-filled exploration of the culinary world, the book also highlights how fostering common interests and passions between cultures can be an avenue for greater cooperation and tolerance.
The prestigious award will be presented to Mr. Morais during the Global Ties U.S. 2015 National Meeting, the premier gathering of organizations, U.S. government agencies, and leaders in the international exchange field. The National Meeting will take place February 4-7, 2015 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. It is sponsored and funded in part by the U.S. Department of State and will feature other distinguished speakers like Noble Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias; Kristin Lord, Ph.D., President and CEO of IREX; former Ambassador Marc Grossman; and Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Visit newdiplomacy.globaltiesus.org for more information.
“Global Ties U.S. and our network of more than 120 member organization across the United States and 13 countries are truly honored to have Mr. Morais accept our 2015 Citizen Diplomat of Year Award. Mr. Morais has a fascinating background full of cross-cultural experience—personally and professionally—that are the cornerstone of all his literary works, and this resonates very strongly with the nature of our own work as we strive to build a more prosperous and peaceful world,” said Jennifer Clinton, President of Global Ties U.S.
The Global Ties U.S. Citizen Diplomat of the Year Award is the organization’s most distinguished award, recognizing individuals who use their talents, time, and resources to be a force for connecting ordinary people across national borders. The award has been presented to nine individuals, beginning with Senator J. William Fulbright in 1987. Other recipients include John Richardson, a founder of the U.S. Institute of Peace (1990), poet and activist Maya Angelou (1993), Richard Stanley, founder of the Stanley Foundation (2000), Keith Reinhard, founder of Business for Diplomatic Action (2007), choreographer and dancer Garth Gagan (2008), travel author and television host Rick Steves (2009), Dr. Aaron Shirley, founder of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation (2013), and the Taharka Bros. Ice Cream Co. in Baltimore, Maryland & De La Sol Haiti (2014). Mr. Morais’s novel The Hundred-Foot Journey, as well as his other literary works like Buddhaland Brooklyn: A Novel, demonstrate the importance of one of our core beliefs that inspire and guide the Global Ties network—that individuals must act locally to engage globally to solve our most pressing global challenges.