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The advantages to be gained by associating with people with whom we do not share a common culture or ethnicity can generally be found in the sense of personal fulfillment many find in forging such relationships. Whether through “Sister City” initiatives that seek to forge bonds between residents of communities on opposite sides of the world, or through more personal initiatives, including the adoption of children from foreign countries, relationships that cross international boundaries can prove immeasurably satisfying to many people. Once a connection with a foreign individual, government, or cultural attribute is developed, a lifelong interest in that foreign entity is usually established.
Many Americans have found great satisfaction in exposing themselves to foreign cultures. Thousands of young Americans have joined the Peace Corps, or simply backpacked across foreign regions for the experience of learning more about the world in which they live. That interest, while personally satisfying to many, is not universally shared. Many people in all parts of the world remain content to view issues through the narrow prism of their own culture or ethnicity. While that is a leading cause of misunderstandings that can and do lead to conflict, it is among the most universal of human traits.
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