In these troubled times, there are few causes more important than encouraging the education of our citizenry. So the Pundit was thrilled when he was contacted by The American Committees on Foreign Relations (ACFR) and asked to consider lecturing on food policy.
These committees are the lineal descendents of the old committees affiliated with the Council on Foreign Relations and are extraordinary in that they are made of citizens in different cities who get together to learn and discuss so they can be informed on matters related to foreign relations.
One of America’s leading intellectuals explained it this way:
“ACFR represents the best of what Tocqueville saw as the core of American democracy: civic-minded citizens making an active effort to inform themselves, debate, and participate in important international issues facing our country. It’s an old ideal, which fortunately hasn’t disappeared.”
The roster of speakers who have gone before is exceedingly impressive — a whole bunch of professors, military officers, ambassadors and names, such as James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, James Fallows with The Atlantic Monthly, Gen. Ronald Fogleman (Ret.), U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, John Danforth, former Senator from Missouri and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jim Leach, Second District Congressman from Iowa and Lincoln Chafee, former Senator from Rhode Island.
We just came back from doing a speaking engagement in St. Louis and were so impressed by the people on the local committee — thoughtful, knowledgeable and engaged. Our country would be stronger if more people understood the issues at hand on the level that members of these committees do.
It is a big time commitment to be a speaker for the ACFR and one doesn’t get paid for these things, but it strikes us that although we do many speeches, talks and lectures within the industry, part of our job is helping to make the general public more literate on issues such as food policy, so when confronted with policy choices, they understand the complexities of the food industry better than they would have had we not taken the time to speak with them.
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