In a piece posted in November of last year "Public Diplomacy: 'Out' for the U.S., 'In' Overseas?" (Huffington Post), I noted that "Irony [of] ironies: While the US 'drops' public diplomacy, a term it created, the outside world (or at least foreign governments) embraces it."
Fresh evidence for this hunch comes from materials covered in the Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review (June 11-14 edition). Here's a quote from words recently uttered by Mark C. Toner, Deputy Department Spokesman, Daily Press Briefing, U.S. Department of State:
"MR. TONER: Hey, everybody. Happy Monday. Just a bit of news, actually, from the traveling party before I give you a couple of statements and then take your questions. We did just receive that due to an apparent volcanic eruption in Djibouti, I believe, the Secretary will have to cut short her trip – her visit to Addis Ababa.Meanwhile, we have the following recent special report from Vietnam Net:
QUESTION: I think it was Eritrea.
MR. TONER: Or Eritrea, sorry. Thank you. Eritrea. The diplomatic portion of her trip was unaffected, and she did tell the Ethiopians that she was committed to coming back, but unfortunately, due to this volcanic ash cloud, she was advised to leave early. So –
QUESTION: When is she due back?
MR. TONER: I’m not sure, frankly. I literally just got this news before coming out here. So –
QUESTION: Is she wheels up already? Do you –
MR. TONER: No, she’s not wheels up already, but shortly is my understanding, and obviously it’s going to be a several – or at least one stop, I believe, in Europe. But again, I don’t have those details.
QUESTION: She had events tomorrow, right?
MR. TONER: She did.
QUESTION: So why was the diplomatic –
MR. TONER: Well, for example –
QUESTION: -- portion of the –
MR. TONER: -- I know she was supposed to meet with the Sudanese, but I believe she’s already done that. So – and there were some events tomorrow scheduled, like the Cookstove Initiative, I believe, and other –
QUESTION: Diplomacy, no?
MR. TONER: Not public diplomacy, but important events.
Chief negotiator of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Binh said about the success of the 1973 Paris negotiation as follows: “The biggest characteristic of Vietnam’s diplomacy is the combination between state diplomacy and public diplomacy. State’s diplomacy has good strategy and tactics but public diplomacy is a sharp weapon to win the world’s support to our war of resistance”.
If public diplomacy was a power in the Vietnam War, in the 21st century, it is still a great power.
Addendum (June 16)
Chinese ambassador talks to compatriot netizens europolitics.info - Thursday 16 June 2011:
The Chinese Ambassador to the EU, Song Ke, talked to Chinese netizens about EU-China relations on an online forum, on 16 June. He confirmed that Beijing supports European integration because it will provide more opportunities to deepen bilateral relations politically, economically and culturally. 2011 was proclaimed the EU-China Year of Youth, which aims to “promote” and “deepen” strategic partnership between the EU and China through exchanges and communication between young people. Song said that the relationship between young people is a decisive factor shaping the future of the China-EU relationship. Public diplomacy has become an important mechanism for Beijing to promote bilateral relations. China has already established 130 Confucius Institutes in 20 European countries and signed educational partnership agreements with all 27 member states of the EU. Meanwhile, the Chinese government has launched a scholarship programme (EU Window), which provides the opportunity for a hundred European students to study in China each year. The EU-China Year of Youth webiste is at www.2011y.net. Further information on EU investments in China is available at www.europeanchamber.com.cn/view/home