Hi, I’m Sam Chapple-Sokol, current PhD student at American University, SIS. I study international relations and, specifically, culinary diplomacy which you may never have heard of. Before going to school at AU, I was a pastry chef for a couple seasons at the White House. I got to bake with some of the best chefs in the world and got to bake for the [US] President Barack Obama as well as French President François Hollande. I even got to work on the gingerbread house one year! which was great… So today I’m here to tell you a little bit more about culinary diplomacy share some stories for the holiday season and actually share a recipe for a cookie that may or may not bring world peace. Culinary diplomacy is an old concept but a new field of research. To me, food is used as a tool to create cross-cultural understanding with the goal of improving interactions and cooperation. So there are three levels of culinary diplomacy: There is the Track I level: State Department & government officials. There’s the Track II, which is government to a foreign public. And there’s a Track III level, which is citizen-to-citizen. At the Track I level, you can think of an example from 2009 the first state dinner that Barack Obama hosted was for the prime minister of India and his chef, Cris Comerford, as well as the guest chef, Marcus Samuelsson, served a garam marsala-spiced pumpkin pie. So it brings together the best of American Thanksgiving tradition—pumpkin pie—and really nice Indian spicing. At the Track II level, you can think of the concept of state branding. Using the powerful brand of it—of a state of a nation—as outreach to a foreign public. So we think of, for example, Vermont cheddar or Idaho potatoes, Put together, those could make a pretty good Thanksgiving dish. Finally is the third level: citizen-to-citizen level. We’re all going to be having a lot of meals with family, friends, colleagues over the next couple months. It’s just kind of using food as the communal space to get together. The dining table is a place for building community, building democracy, building conversation and, hopefully, doing it around a really good meal. So now that you know what culinary diplomacy is, I wanted to share a recipe with you to make you all culinary diplomats at your own holiday parties and dinners. So today I picked a recipe from the baker Dorie Greenspan, appropriately titled “World Peace Cookies.” So, to make World Peace cookies, we need to get together our ingredients. We’re gonna start with flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, brown & white sugar, salt, vanilla, butter, and, of course, chocolate chips. As culinary diplomats, we want to be mindful of the ingredients we buy. Buy the quality—organic, local, and fair trade it you can find it. We want to be very conscious of what we’re putting in our bodies as well as how our eating impacts the world. Food and eating are, of course, political actions. So, let’s start! Don’t forget that when you’re baking, you always want to scrape the bowl. It’s starting to smell like world peace in here. So, we’ll pull these out, carefully… So there you have it: World peace cookies. For the recipe, check out the link below. I hope you all have a happy and peaceful holiday season!