In February 2009, the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) honored Rick Steves with its Citizen Diplomat Award for his exceptional work in connecting Americans with the world via travel. In February 2010, Mr. Steves’ elected to honor NCIV in return by joining the select ranks of its Advisory Council. This Council, Chaired by Ambassador Walter Cutler, comprises individuals from across the United States who have exhibited exemplary service in and commitment to both their own fields and the field of citizen diplomacy. Responsibilities of NCIV Advisory Council members include: offering advice and guidance to the NCIV national office and the network as a whole; attending, participating in, and speaking at various NCIV events, as schedules permit; and raising the visibility of the NCIV network’s efforts to promote and practice excellence in citizen diplomacy.
Rick Steves grew up in Edmonds, Washington, and studied at the University of Washington, where he received degrees in Business Administration and European History. His “real education” came in Europe—since 1973, he has spent 120 days of each year in Europe. After a few trips of “learning from his mistakes,” Rick was inspired to teach his fellow travelers how to enjoy smoother and more culturally broadening travels. Today, he employs eighty people at his Europe Through the Back Door headquarters in Edmonds, where he produces thirty guidebooks on European travel, a public television series (Rick Steves’ Europe), a weekly hour-long National Public Radio show (Travel with Rick Steves), a website (www.ricksteves.com), and a weekly column syndicated by the Chicago Tribune.
Mr. Steves is outspoken on the need for Americans to fit better into our world by broadening their perspectives through travel. Following his participation in the 2009 NCIV National Meeting, he described the NCIV network on his blog as “an inspirational group…with the same mission as my own company…build[ing] understanding between cultures.” NCIV President Sherry Mueller, welcoming Rick Steves to the NCIV Advisory Council, says “We are honored to have such an exceptional and experienced citizen diplomat advising our network as we chart our path into a second half century of improving U.S. foreign relations ‘one handshake at a time.’