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Prof. Al Santoli combines Cultural Intelligence class, citizen diplomacy, and counter-COVID medical diplomacy

Prof. Al Santoli
In war-torn Muslim Mindanao, Prof. Al Santoli engages in citizen diplomacy as a bridge between tribal leaders and Philippine military officers.

The IWP Center for Culture and Freedom is intended to be a fusion of academic study and the theory and practice of citizen diplomacy in order to inform and inspire IWP students. The center was formed in 2016 after Dr. John Lenczowski and Professor Albert Santoli met with Department of Defense representatives to discuss the need for compassionate intervention in areas threatened by terrorism. Through Prof. Santoli’s Cultural Intelligence class (IWP 640), which will be offered this fall, students will gain insight into the theory and practice of IWP’s “Full Spectrum Diplomacy.”

Professor Santoli, a former combat soldier, experienced practitioner of civil society and best-selling author of history, has conducted field work as director of the Asia America Initiative for nearly 20 years. Through his non-profit organization, Asia America Initiative, Prof. Santoli provides a real-world model of non-kinetic counter-terrorism through development. The Professor, a former mentee of the legendary counterterrorism practitioner Gen. Edward Lansdale and long-time student of martial arts, emphasizes nurturing the roots of civil society as a powerful tool for transformation and alliance building.

The Center leads by example, instilling a democratic attitude where fear and tyranny are pervasive. In the Philippines, front-line elementary and high school inter-faith students work together in student government, performing arts, sports, boy and girl scout troops, and communal gardening. AAI is also supportive of First Response organizations such as local Fire Departments.

“In our programs,” says Professor Santoli, “peace building begins by establishing safe zones for children and youth. This enables the children and their families to believe that their lives have meaning.  This attitude helps hold accountable corrupt politicians and demagogues. By sharing and sacrificing together, they learn that a better future may be possible.”

Asia America Initiative's work in Hawaii
In Hawaii, during the pandemic-caused economic shut down, Prof. Al Santoli represented the IWP Center for Culture and Asia America Initiative in an emergency relief partnership for at-risk and homeless families with the University of Hawaii Medical School and UH Social Science Research Institute, Tripler Army Medical Center, and the Hawaii HOME [Homeless Outreach and Medical Education] Program.

Since March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the IWP Center and AAI have been active in partnership with donors who have contributed close to $1.7 million worth of medical, food, and hygiene support. AAI was able to distribute supplies, including PPE’s, to local community-based organizations in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, and other Pacific island states such as Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, and the Marshall Islands. Prof. Santoli has developed a strong relationship with University of Hawaii’s Telehealth Resource Center and Pacific International Training Center, which facilitated the shipping and distribution to local Pacific communities.

In the upcoming Fall 2020 IWP 640 Cultural Intelligence class, the curriculum will encourage scholarly preparation for emergency relief to man-made and natural disasters, such as COVID.  The class will also analyze and monitor China’s ambitions, including the Belt and Road Initiative in places like Africa, the Central and Western Pacific, Eastern Europe, and North and South America.  During this dangerous period of America’s history, scholarship and practical action are the essence of effective “Full Spectrum” statecraft.

About IWP’s course on Cultural Intelligence

About IWP

Girl from an AAI school holding a "Nutrition to Stop Covid" poster
Children from several schools in the Philippines with support from Asia America Initiative created “Nutrition to Stop Covid” posters for Nutrition Month. Above is one of the winning posters by artist Fatima.