Wretchedness is a good teacher, though, and gradually something happened. When Ahmed, the impoverished student cramming under my streetlight, confided colorful details about Islamist movements at his university, when Mohammed the biologist discoursed on overexploitation of fish stocks, and when a royal third cousin gossiped about companies controlled by His Sherifian Majesty, it was not because my French accent had improved (though it had), but because I was no longer a stranger.
Diplomats must persuade non-English-speaking politicians to take the risk of telling us what we need to know rather than what we want to hear.
John Brady Kiesling Why Don't We Talk Anymore? Utne Reader March / April 2007