How does food both create conflict and provide a foundation for cultural integration and inclusion? American University professor and Stimson Center Distinguished Fellow Johanna Mendelson Forman and Foodhini founder Noobtsaa Philip Vang join hosts Debbie and Billy Shore to discuss gastrodiplomacy in the US and abroad. Stimson is part of a Consortium of organizations with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) that has been working in Turkey to help use food as a tool for social cohesion and economic development among the Syrian refugees who are now living in Turkey because of the ongoing conflict. Read about this project.
“Refugee food… is very popular and growing because this is the way you learn that the people who are villainized and made into statistics are not that – they are human beings,” says Forman, who teaches the wildly popular course in ‘Conflict Cuisine.’ Vang founded Foodhini to provide opportunities for refugees and immigrants to make a living through sharing their culture’s food. “All the different communities of diaspora, it’s all the same: they go to a new place, they don’t have anything, but one of the things they do still have is their food,” he says.
This ‘perfect pairing’ of guests has worked together for years: Forman acts as a business mentor for Vang and Vang serves as advisor on several of Forman’s class projects. “You hit the industry at a time when there was a greater consciousness about refugees and the power that food has, and you’ve done such an incredible job,” Forman tells Vang. Vang is appreciative of her support – both personal and professional. “[Foodhini] is how I see the world should be… creating a place where food and culture is not overlooked,” he believes.
Hear how food can create conflict, but also how it can bring communities together on this intriguing episode of Add Passion and Stir.