The new year started off strong with Rize, and I didn’t think I was going to find a better documentary for a while, but I didn’t have to wait long. I don’t know if it was better, but this documentary is well worth watching. It’s called “The World According to Sesame Street,” and it’s three stories about integrating Sesame Street into developing and struggling countries. I had no idea Sesame Street was being used like this, and I have to say it’s among the best things our country has ever done for other countries.
Sesame Street was enormously successful in the United States, so the group decided to offer what they’ve learned to other countries. They specifically try to avoid any impressions of imperialism by encouraging each country to take over as much of the responsibilities as possible, integrate their own culture into the show, address local issues and values, and use their own puppets. It’s incredible to see the kinds of things that they accomplish and the value of what they do, from improving Albanian/Serb relations in Kosovo to combating HIV/AIDS in South Africa.