June 12, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ashley Sytsma
Rick Steves and Travel Diplomacy in Iran
Public television host films one-hour travel special
Edmonds, WA — European travel icon Rick Steves advances thoughtful travel, encouraging Americans to understand and appreciate different cultures and values. Now in a move to push his work to a new level, Rick is producing a new one-hour public television special Rick Steves' Iran: Yesterday and Today. Recently back from a trip through that part of the "axis of evil", Rick explains that while the public television special slated to premiere in January 2009 will be strictly travel, his motivation to take on this project went beyond sightseeing.
For Rick, travel is a political act — a way to break down cultural barriers and better understand our complex world. As he explains in his travel blog, this project promotes people-to-people diplomacy at a time when governments are refusing to talk face-to-face. "A friend from the United Nations Association asked what I could do to help them build understanding between Iran and the US...I answered, 'The only powerful thing I can do is to produce a TV show on Iran.'"
This past month Rick filmed the local historical sights and daily lives of people that Americans rarely see through traditional media outlets. "I remember when the bombs first fell on Baghdad, thinking I missed an opportunity to produce a travel show that could humanize the people of Baghdad and give "collateral damage" a face. I didn't want to miss an opportunity to do this for Iran."
Rick is not alone in his mission for a better understanding of Iran through travel. Recently US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that travel to Iran by American citizens may bridge differences between the two countries. "There are actually a fair number of Iranians that come to the United States to visit," he said. "We ought to increase the flow going the other way, not of Iranians but of Americans, and that may be one way of creating some space perhaps over some period of time." For those who don't have the means or inclination to travel to Iran, Rick sees his travel special as a way to create that space in every American living room.
Rick is now available for a select number of interviews to discuss this new project and his experience inside Iran. To learn more, read Rick's blog, and view a slideshow of his trip visit www.ricksteves.com/Iran. For interview requests, please contact Ashley Sytsma, Publicist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-608-4293.
About Rick Steves
Rick Steves in on a mission: to help make European travel accessible and meaningful for Americans. Since 1973, Rick has spent four months every year exploring Europe. He has researched and written more than thirty travel guidebooks, writes and hosts the public television series Rick Steves' Europe, and also produces and hosts the weekly public radio show Travel with Rick Steves. He is currently the best selling guidebook author in the United States. With the help of his hardworking staff at Europe Through the Back Door, Rick organizes tours of Europe and offers an information packed web site (www.ricksteves.com). Rick, his wife Anne, and their two nearly-grown children, Andy and Jackie, live in Edmonds, Washington.
Please contact Ashley Sytsma, Publicist, for press opportunities or interview requests for Rick Steves.