How America is earning respect abroad (James Sloan Allen, 5/09/06, CS Monitor)

People from these countries who spend time in the United States under exchange programs not only prize the democratic culture they find here; more important, they typically go home bent on instilling the virtues of America in their own nations… […]

In Azerbaijan, a young woman declares, “My understanding of the meaning of life has totally changed” since she resided in the US. Surprisingly, she reports that this is partly because after experiencing America’s “freedom of speech and belief and the respect for law and government … I started to read the Koran and came to my religion and understanding of it only in the US, not in my country.” At the same time, touched by “how the American people care about and help” others, she vowed to “do my best to have an open and big heart and help those who need it.” Today she is a Muslim with democratic ideals who has thrown herself into the work of securing rights for children.

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