In the US (and I understand in the UK), occasionally AIEP was attacked for being "a bunch of Commies," to quote an eminent American publisher.
When the Cold War ended, AIEP continued as an organization for the purpose of promoting crime writing as art, as legitimate art, as "literature." Even in the nations in which crime writing is beloved, it is often regarded as "mere entertainment," unworthy of full recognition.
AT THE MOMENT, the strongest local branch of AIEP is that of North America, which includes the United States and Canada.
AIEP has always been a very loose organization, which is one of its greatest weaknesses.
AIEP, however, gives much in making crime writers aware of their personal identities in the larger vocation of crime writing and its varieties.
In my estimation, the greatest benefit AIEP has afforded me is the many friendships with writers I would never have met otherwise.
"I don't know that there's any other country that is as free and open to express themselves as our artists are and we want to make sure everybody in the world understands that," said Gwen Berlin, director of the AIEP.
To meet the ambassadors' goals, AIEP has successfully established extensive lending agreements with museums, institutions, galleries, corporate and private collectors and artists.
These catalogs are also available on AIEP's interactive Web site (www.state.gov/www/about state/e-art/wn.html).