World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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An Auto Accident on a Rural Vietnamese Road Teaches a Significant Cross-Cultural Lesson

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Coming upon a serious two-car accident on a rural road in Sa Dec Province in 1970 left Amb. Quinn wondering why none of the Vietnamese onlookers were offering to help the seriously injured passengers. He came to learn that within a society the answer to the question “to whom do I have an obligation?” defines how individuals act when they perceive there to be risk involved in helping a stranger. “Where walls are built often shapes the extent of that obligation.” It is an insight that he carried with him through his career and helped him understand why people in different cultures, including America, behave as they do.

© 2020 World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn. All rights reserved.