Improving Iran-US Relation thru PMI Membership is possible if mutual-respect is observed at high intellectual levels
Many hoped for improving Iran-US relation after the lifting of the sections, however, due to high tension on very high levels, this would be impossible to happen anytime soon and any easy way. Iran-US relation needs a ping-pong diplomacy, similar to US-China relation improvement process. However, sport is not a major factor in improving Iranian’s relation with any other competing state. The best advice is to use the opportunity provided by University Research and Development Programs and Competitions to attract Iranians based on high intellectual relation. As Project Management Professionals, being part of the Project Management Institute, we believe that Iran-US relation could improve thru establishing sister chapters between PMI Iran Chapter and some other PMI US City Chapters.
Ping-Pong Diplomacy for Improving Iran-US Relation
Improving Iran-US Relation is possible if we take lesson learned from the past and apply it to today’s situation. Here is the short story on Ping-Pong Diplomacy that improved US-China Relation, excerpt from Wikipedia.
The U.S. Table Tennis team was in Japan in 1971 for the 31st World Table Tennis Championships on April 6 when they received an invitation to visit China. From the early years of the People’s Republic, sports had played an important role in diplomacy, often incorporating the slogan “Friendship First, Competition Second”. On contrast, sport doesn’t play important role in diplomacy for Iranians.
On April 10, 1971, the team and accompanying journalists became the first American delegation to set foot in the Chinese capital since 1949. The meeting was facilitated by the National Committee on United States – China Relations. H. Roy Evans, then President of the International Table Tennis Federation, claimed that he visited China prior to the 31st World Table Tennis Championship and suggested non-Chinese sports authorities and Premier Zhou Enlai that China should take steps to get in contact with the world through international sport events after the Cultural Revolution. The most important incident, perhaps the most likely trigger, was the unexpected but dramatic meeting between the flamboyant American player Glenn Cowan and the Chinese player Zhuang Zedong, a three-time world champion and winner of many other table tennis events.
When the Chinese Department of Foreign Affairs received a report that the U.S. Table Tennis Team hoped to get invited to visit China, the Department declined as usual. Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong initially agreed with the decision, but when Mao Zedong saw the news in Dacankao, a newspaper accessible only to high-ranking government officials, he decided to invite the U.S. Table Tennis Team. It was reported that Mao Zedong said, “This Zhuang Zedong not only plays table tennis well, but is good at foreign affairs, and he has a mind for politics. On April 10, 1971, nine American players, four officials, and two spouses stepped across a bridge from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland and then spent their time during April 11–17 playing fun matches, touring the Great Wall and Summer Palace, and watching a ballet.
Improving Iran-US Relation Needs Trust Building
As Project Management Professionals (PMPs), we all know that any project that is not based on open communication, trust, and win-win mentality is doomed to fail. So the best people to lead the “Improving Iran-US Relation” Project would be the PMP collaborating team that is focused on a single agreed objective and scope. Although all sides know that Improving Iran-US Relation would benefit both countries as well as countries all over the world, some feed on the tension and try to cause mistrust on both sides at high levels. That is why achieving understanding and ground rules for cooperation at mid-management levels are much more effective to build trust and mutual respect as a model to use for higher level relations for later phases of the project.