While the visible forms of diplomacy are carried out by government professionals, in reality, every American can practice diplomacy in everyday life.
When businesspeople, teachers, students, scientists, athletes, artists and musicians share work, performances, ideas, and experiences during visits abroad, they represent their country and thus act as citizen diplomats. All of these encounters produce subtle moments of diplomacy—an exchange of impressions and information about people and culture through individual contacts.
The Department of State, through a variety of programs, sends many of these citizen diplomats overseas to teach in schools, conduct research with local scientists, work with local artists and athletes, and perform alongside local actors, dancers and musicians. Their direct interaction with people of all ages and cultures sows new seeds for understanding.
And while few of us will ever be named ambassador to a foreign country, every time we travel abroad or even meet a foreign citizen in the United States, we are citizen diplomats, reflecting and representing the United States.