Response to rejection
Sadly, I was wrong, but I do not intend to take this lying down. I wrote the relevant official back immediately. What follows is an edited and excerpted version of that letter, changed to mask the country's identity in case the Embassy there reverses their decision:
Thank you for your response. I understand the limitations of staffing and budget. However, as a U.S. citizen, I feel that the work of Cultures in Harmony is far too important for the United States Embassy to ignore.
We live at a time when more people in more countries dislike the United States than ever before. As an American patriot, it pains me to see the hatred directed towards my country across the globe. This is why I started Cultures in Harmony.
I do not claim that Cultures in Harmony has stemmed that hatred anywhere in the world. But I do know that we have reached thousands of individuals with little or no previous exposure to Americans. In every encounter over the past three years, we met as foreigners and left as friends. The work we have done is directly in line with the mission of the United States Embassy.
Let me step outside the role of fund-seeker for a moment. As a 25-year-old American, I join with my idealistic peers in refusing to look at the world as it is and accepting it as the limits of possibility. I decline to accept a world in which the different nations view one another with suspicion. Rather, I shall fight for a different world: one in which the Iraqi and the American and the Palestinian and the Israeli regard one another as friends. I will not settle for a cessation of hostilities. A mere handshake is not enough for me, and for the millions of youth like me who will create great change in our nation and world in the months and years ahead.
We envision a world in which those who were once enemies embrace as brothers, intensely aware of their common humanity. This world is not merely difficult to build; it is close to impossible. And yet it will be built person by person, image by image, policy by policy, spreading outward in expanding circles of interdependence, trust, and understanding. This is the work that Cultures in Harmony does. This is what all diplomats at all levels and in all nations strive for.
I ask you to reconnect with that part of you that decided to enter the Foreign Service. I ask you not to settle for limited budgets and cramped schedules. I ask you to transcend what is probable and reach for what is possible.
Thank you again for your consideration of this matter.