The interpreter as a citizen diplomat
Interpreters’ role in a grassroots movement to end the Cold War
The article presents a case of interpretation as a political activity during the Cold War. In the 1980s and 1990s, a grassroots citizen diplomacy movement was initiated by the Californian Esalen Institute, the center of the American Human Potential Movement. In and around its Soviet-American exchange program, numerous individuals, NGOs and organizations established personal relationships and professional exchange with citizens of the two super powers and travelled in both directions. Interpreters had a complex and crucial role in this exchange which was different from both the professional experience of conference and of communal interpreting.
Keywords: citizen diplomacy, Cold War, human potential movement, Esalen Institute, space bridges
Published online: 24 July 2019
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