Contributions to date:
Dec 11th $5,370
Backpack Nation is a work in progress, taking shape day by day. The basic idea is to transform American foreign policy by deputizing and deploying individual travelers as "ambassadors" of the people of America. Each ambassador will be funded with $10,000 in personal expense money for an extended trip through some of the world's less-wealthy countries, and $10,000 more to give to whatever individual/family/organization/village that he or she deems appropriate.
In early August, 2002, I shotgunned this email to my mailing list, explaining the thinking behind Backpack Nation, and announcing a Sept 11, 2002, kickoff event in San Francisco. The next step is to raise $20,000 (How to Contribute) and deploy the first Backpack Nation ambassador (How to Apply). The above box indicates how the funding is coming along. I'm in the process of establishing a board of directors and taking the other steps necessary bring a nonprofit organization into existence. I'll update this page as events warrant. Please let me know what you think. Brad
Again, this entire project is evolving daily, but as of September 1, 2002, here is where the application process stands:
Down the road I envision that any citizen from any of the developed countries will be invited to apply. But the first ambassador will be an American citizen - and every American citizen is invited to apply. I intend that things work out so that this first ambassador will be selected no later than June 1, 2003. The basic application will be a 1,000-word essay explaining the applicant's desires and perceived qualifications for the position. I intend to have a group of roughly twenty friends and colleagues of mine read the essays and choose the first ambassador.
A 1,000-word essay is roughly four typed, double-spaced pages. I suggest that applicants should express their thoughts about the world and their place in it. A bit of personal history/autobiography would be appropriate. Applicants should discuss their prior travel experience, and should consider whether or not they are actually up to the emotional and physical rigors of Third World travel (prior experience is not a prerequisite, but it certainly won't hurt). Also, proficiency in writing will be greatly appreciated, and a bit of appropriate flair will not go unnoticed. Ambassadors will be expected to share their experiences and stories in writing, and perhaps in other ways.
PLEASE DO NOT submit anything until December 1, by which time further details about how to send an application will be posted here. I'm thinking that an application window of December 1-March 1 (or so) will be appropriate for this first ambassadorship, but the system for handling the incoming applications is, as yet, uninvented.
I am in the process of securing non-profit status for Backpack Nation, so that any donations will be tax deductible. I intend to have this accomplished as soon as possible. But if tax status does not concern you, by all means don't delay. You can make a donation of any size -- the smallest so far has been $3, the largest $500.
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PO Box 21347
Oakland, CA 94620
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