It has long been recognized that one of the most impactful ways to work toward peace is for people to have personal opportunities to experience cultural awareness and to contextualize that experience. Former President Dwight Eisenhower recognized this importance in a post-war establishment of the People to People program in 1956. The mission of People to People was “to enhance international understanding and friendship through educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities involving the exchanging of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures.” He noted, “If we are going to take advantage of the assumption that all people want peace, then the problem is for people to get together and to leap governments—if necessary to evade governments—to work out not one method but thousands of methods by which people can gradually learn a little bit more of each other.”
The Ohayo-Ohio symposium, 850 participants attending 30 separate events, provided a venue for this cultural awareness and contextualization toward international understanding and friendship through a cultural exchange of ideas and experiences. Several international villagers expressed gratitude that a symposium so focused on international culture could be offered in such a small village.