Saturday, February 9, 2013

Feb 7-9 Public Diplomacy Review

"Every American citizen has the right to know when the government thinks it has a right to kill them [sic]."

--Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., regarding the drone program; image from


Wilson Center Events Roundtable Discussion on the Future of U.S. Global Media February 12, 2013, 3:30pm — 5:00pm Event co-sponsor: Cold War International History Project


(a) Once banned, Afghan kids play music: Children from Afghanistan are getting a chance to play music for the first time together after it was banned by the Taliban. They took center stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to fulfill a lifelong dream of making music without restrictions - Via CS on Facebook

(b) Dancing Syrian soldiers video poses questions about war propaganda -


George Bush's "Bad" Paintings Are Actually Pretty Great - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photoblog: "The application of paint

is unlearned, and the anatomy is awkward, but the compositions are counter-intuitive, and even sophisticated*, and the use of color quite nice, indeed." Image from entry


Five Ways John Kerry Can Transform US Foreign Policy Toward Asia - Matt Stumpf, "As John Kerry begins his tenure as Secretary of State this week, there is arguably more opportunity to recraft American diplomacy than at any time since the epochal changes of the George H.W. Bush Administration. U.S. military forces have left Iraq and are preparing to leave Afghanistan, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s globe-trotting public diplomacy has set a new tone for the United States abroad, and America has now taken its first steps to focus more on Asia. Historians may well mark these steps as the end of the post-September 11 era. Over the next four years, President Obama and Secretary Kerry can shape the next era. ... [Among these five ways:] Decrease the barriers to foreign travel to the United States. Though this isn’t all the responsibility of the State Department, Americans have raised since 2001 the barriers for foreign travel to and through the United States. This is an economic, as well as a public diplomacy, misstep. It makes some of the United States’ most valuable assets — for example, its world-leading university system — less attractive. America’s top diplomat would do well to use his influence to recast the balance between security and openness. With signs of persistent gridlock on domestic policy, foreign policy may be President Obama’s greatest hope for second-term accomplishment. There are transformational opportunities to be seized, and they are in Asia." Kerry Image from

Welcome, Secretary Kerry! - Uri Savir, Jerusalem Post: "America highly values its global posture, as it wants and needs to build bridges of interests to China, Russia, Japan and the EU. An America perceived as a strong player for peace and stability in the Middle East will be able to engage in global coalition building and collective diplomacy. Motivated by these considerations, the new secretary of state should engage in an active Middle East peace policy, based on several principles and elements: [inclding:]• Launching a comprehensive, ongoing public diplomacy campaign to engage in a dialogue with the young generation in the Middle East – the generation of change – including the use of new media tools and social media. In this dialogue the United States should explain what it stands for in terms of values and policies; it has to engage with what Middle Easterners claim is lacking – listening; and in parallel, activate educational programs offering the best that America has."

Public diplomacy with India extremely important: US - SAReporter, "As John Kerry began his term as the new Secretary of State, the US said people-to-people and public diplomacy relations with India are extremely important going forward. Kerry had yet to make any calls to his Indian or Pakistani counterparts, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland reporters Monday. But a senior official was in New Delhi to highlight the breadth and depth of the US-India people to people relationship. €œObviously people-to-people and public diplomacy relations with India are extremely important going forward, she said. Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine, who would be in New Delhi Feb 5-7, was likely to discuss issue like rapes and violence against women, she said."

The cost of Obama's secret drone war - PJ Crowley, BBC: "[During] three hours of public testimony before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence ... Mr Brennan [John Brennan, President Barack Obama's nominee to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency] provided a forceful defence of the Obama administration's war against al-Qaeda over the past four years, particularly its increased employment of drones in various countries he declined to specify. ... The committee was clearly supportive of the continued use of drones in the ongoing war against al-Qaeda. Americans by a wide margin share this view.

But that is not the case outside the United States. The rest of the world questions the legality of their use, viscerally so in a country such as Pakistan, where drone attacks increased significantly during President Obama's first term. ... An estimated 74% of Pakistanis polled by Pew last year termed the United States an 'enemy.' Drones are a clear factor. Mr Brennan says the administration takes into account the potential backlash from ongoing counter-terrorism operations. But rather than address Pakistani concerns publicly as part of a long-term public diplomacy approach, the Obama administration has chosen, at least at the moment, to pretend the problem does not exist. It refuses to acknowledge (despite widespread news reports) the existence of a drone campaign in Pakistan." Image from article

U.S. Sends Mixed Signals on Rights in Eurasia - Jim Lobe, "The United States is applying different standards in its public criticism of the human rights record of authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union (FSU), according to a new report released here Monday by the Open Society Institute (OSI). The key variable, according to 'Human Rights and the Failings of U.S. Public Diplomacy in Eurasia', appears to be the perceived strategic importance of the specific country. While the Belarus government is consistently criticised harshly for suppressing dissidents, reproaches to no-less authoritarian regimes in other FSU countries whose cooperation is needed to supply U.S. troops in Afghanistan, for example, are muted, according to the report. 'No one expects U.S. rhetoric with respect to adversaries like Belarus to be identical to its rhetoric about countries with which it has a security partnership,' said Tom Malinowski, Washington director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), after reading the report. 'But the degree to which U.S. diplomats in Central Asia sometimes seem to be apologising for U.S. policies on human rights was surprising to me. It would be a good idea if we hadn’t learned any lessons from the days of supporting dictators before the Arab Spring,' he told IPS. Indeed, the 11-page report noted that, 'U.S. officials publicly laud countries such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan that are vital to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan or other key interests, while saying as little as possible about these countries’ failings in the areas of human rights and democracy,' according to the report. It said that such double standards not only invite cynicism toward Washington and undermine its credibility on rights-related issues, but could also eventually prove counter-productive. 'The long-term danger this perception creates is amply visible in public opinion surveys of attitudes towards the United States carried out in Egypt after the fall of Hosni Mubarak,' the report noted."

Youth need skills and education to drive future,says Sonenshine - "Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs ... spoke at the International Community College Conference, Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi [article contains excerpts from the speech]."

US official visiting India to enhance educational partnership – Times of India, posted at "With the focus on helping India build up its community colleges, a senior US official is visiting the country to enhance educational partnership between the two countries. The US Under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, Tara Sonenshine, during her three-day visit beginning today will highlight the breadth and depth of the India-US people to people relationship, particularly the strong educational partnership, the state department said. In New Delhi, Sonenshine will lead the US delegation to the conference ‘Mainstreaming Skills in Education’ on February 6-7, where she will deliver remarks on US support for India’s development of community colleges and the expansion of skills development education.

In a statement, the state department said, the US delegation to this conference will include representatives from twelve community colleges. During her travel, Sonenshine will meet with India officials to discuss US-India education collaboration. She will also meet with Fulbright-Nehru scholars and will tour Indian historical preservation projects that receive funding from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation." Image from

Council to bridge college-industry gap - Basant Kumar Mohanty, "Human resource development minister M.M. Pallam Raju today announced plans to set up a council that would act as an interface between academia and industry, saying such collaborations were the way forward. ... Raju

also said the government was planning to set up 200 community colleges that would specialise in skill-based training. He said the colleges, on the lines of those in America and Canada, would be set up at existing polytechnics. The HRD ministry has held a two-day seminar on community colleges where experts from the US and Canada shared their experiences. Tara Sonenshine, US undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, said: 'Just as MIT and other US universities partnered with the nascent IITs and other premier institutions of higher education in the 1950s and 1960s, now is the time for partnering between our community college leaders and institutions.'” Raju image from article

Women and Elections Radio Program - "Category Explanation: Public Diplomacy Programs ... The Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan is pleased to announce an open competition for assistance awards through this Request for Grant Proposals (RFGP). PAS Kabul invites all eligible organizations to submit a proposal for a radio program to educate the Afghan public, especially women, about the 2014 elections and encourage widespread participation.

Topics covered in the program should include: information on the election process with a specific focus on women (who is eligible to vote, rules and regulations about the elections, how women overcome difficulties in getting to polling stations, etc.), discussion of policy issues facing voters, and objective information about the candidates and their positions on various issues. The ultimate goal is to highlight the importance of high voter turnout – especially among women – for not only the success of the elections but the future of Afghanistan, as well as the impact of the elections on women. Priority consideration will be given to proposals that include both Pashto and Dari programming." Image from entry

American Foreign Policy – Have Our War Lovers Learned Anything? - William Blum, “'A decade ago, playing music could get you maimed in Afghanistan. Today, a youth ensemble is traveling to the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. And it even includes girls.' Thus reads the sub-heading of a Washington Post story of February 3 about an orchestra of 48 Afghan young people who attended music school in a country where the Taliban have tried to silence both women and music. 'The Afghan Youth Orchestra is more than a development project,' the article informs us. For 'the school’s many international donors, it serves as a powerful symbol of successful reconstruction in Afghanistan. And by performing in Washington and New York, the seats of U.S. political and financial power, the orchestra hopes to showcase what a decade of investment has achieved.' 'The U.S. State Department, the World Bank, the Carnegie Corporation and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education have invested heavily in the tour. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul awarded nearly $350,000 footing most of the estimated $500,000 cost. For international donors, the tour symbolizes progress in a country crippled by war.' The State Department’s director of communications and public diplomacy for Afghanistan and Pakistan declares: 'We wanted Americans to understand the difference their tax dollars have made in building a better future for young people, which translates into reduced threats from extremists in the region.' 'There’s a lot of weariness in the U.S. and cynicism about Afghanistan,' said William Harvey, an American violinist who teaches at the school, where 35 of 141 students are girls. 'What are we doing there? What can be achieved? These concerts answer those questions in the strongest way possible: Cooperation between Afghanistan and the international community has made it safe for young girls and boys to learn music.' There can be no question that for the sad country of Afghanistan all this is welcome news. There can also be little doubt that a beleaguered and defensive US foreign policy establishment will seek to squeeze out as much favorable publicity as possible from these events. On the issue of the severe oppression of women and girls in Afghanistan, defenders of the US occupation of that desperate land would have you believe that the United States is the last great hope of those poor females. However, you will not be reminded that in the 1980s the United States played an indispensable role in the overthrow of a secular and relatively progressive Afghan government, one which endeavored to grant women much more freedom than they’ll ever have under the current Karzai-US government, more probably than ever again."

Human Connection for a Brighter Afghan Future - Michelle Pomeroy, "I have a strong interest in women’s issues and cultural exchange and a brother who is an officer in the 101st Airborne Division engaged in his second deployment to Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Assisting with the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women’s intersession in D.C. provided me with a unique opportunity to witness social transformation: created by citizens, through human connection, using public diplomacy. Karzai’s visit to Washington D.C. and the United States’ transition out of Afghanistan in 2014 bring enormous media attention to the potential fate of Afghanistan. Media attention often paints the international community’s decade of military and monetary investments as fruitless, if not destructive. Most media sources envision dim expectations for Afghanistan’s future, especially for its women. But this past week, 25 young Afghan women scholars studying in the United States told me of a grateful, though worried, Afghan people who have experienced incredible improvements over the past decade. ...

Former Afghan Ambassador, Said Jawad, spoke to our group explaining that while the U.S. and Afghanistan can work to cultivate better political and economic relationships, the strongest chance we have to create a real connection is in the relationships between citizens from both places. For that, we require exchanges and public diplomacy. Jawad said if we truly believe power lies with the people, envoys of top-level politicians are not enough; human connections amongst citizens are the only relationships we can control and shape for the better. The exchange of ideas and stories between the countries’ people can positively impact our security and futures." Uncaptioned image from entry

International Visitor Leadership Program Participants Return for Gold Stars' Tour - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, February 8, 2013, U.S. Department of State: "Community leaders from six countries will travel to the United States February 11 to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Gold Stars’ Tour. The exchange brings IVLP alumni who have made significant impacts in their home communities back to the United States to share their insights and to discuss new strategies with their American counterparts. The Gold Star participants begin in Washington, DC, where they attend the annual National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) National Meeting. The Gold Star alumni then travel individually to two cities they visited on their initial IVLP exchange, plus one new city. Finally, they come together in Jackson, Mississippi to share best practices and new strategies. This year’s Gold Star participants are from Brazil, Burma, India, Iraq, Slovenia, and Zimbabwe. They are researching strategies relating to gender equality, minority rights, migrant rights, human trafficking, the arts and education as tools of empowerment, leadership, and judicial reform. More information is available in the participant bios. The International Visitor Leadership Program, within the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. The program connects current and emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts through short-term exchanges to build mutual understanding on foreign policy issues."

Braziland Basketball: U.S.Department of State Announces Youth Sports Visitor Program -  Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, U.S. Department of State:  "The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces that 14 teenage athletes—seven boys and seven girls—and two coaches from Brazil will travel to the United States for a basketball exchange February 6-18. The young players are a part of the São Paulo Shooting Stars, a Consulate São Paulo program that provides English language instruction, basketball training, and leadership workshops to low-income public school students in Brazil’s São Paulo metropolitan area. The delegation will participate in NBA community service activities and sports events surrounding the NBA All-Star games in Houston, TX, after their visit to Washington, D.C. The group will learn about sports in the United States by participating in basketball clinics with American peers and engaging in educational sessions at local schools and organizations on nutrition, conflict resolution, and disability sports.

With a focus on youth empowerment and respect for diversity throughout the program, the exchange aims to show participants how hard work applies in sports and academics as well as to provide them an opportunity to share their experiences and create lasting ties with their counterparts in the United StatesSportsUnited is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ division devoted to sports diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State. Athletes and coaches from a range of sports are chosen to conduct clinics, visit schools and engage with youth overseas in a dialogue on the importance of education, positive health practices and respect for diversity. The NBA has partnered with SportsUnited since 2005, hosting Sports Visitors from 20 countries and sending nearly 60 current and former NBA and WNBA players and coaches to more than 30 countries as Sports Envoys." Image from

WEST Students Learn About U.S.-Korea Relations at State Department - "Several members of Cultural Vistas' Korea WEST program recently gathered at the U.S. Department of State in the nation's capital to share their perspectives and experiences with State officials and learn more about the United States and its relationship with South Korea. The participants were honored and surprised to make the personal acquaintance of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock.

Ms. Stock shook hands with each participant and made an effort to get to know each one. ... The South Korean students are in the United States on the Korea WEST program to learn about American life and culture, improve their English, and develop themselves professionally through career-focused internships. ... Such efforts in public diplomacy will ensure a positive relationship between the United States and Korea continues into the future." Image from article

How Does Cultural Diplomacy Communicate? Let Me Count the Ways - Mary Jeffers, Take Five - The IPDGE Blog On Public Diplomacy and Global Communication: "[P]ublic diplomacy practitioners know that cultural programming is increasingly vital to the achievement of foreign policy goals.  Some cultural programs serve as the proverbial 'picture worth a thousand words,' projecting the essence of American policies, principles, and values via local mass media and fast-growing new digital media.  Some cultural programming works as a powerful teaching tool to help influential people abroad understand (if not necessarily accept) both U.S. foreign affairs priorities

and fundamental American principles. More fundamentally, cultural programming fosters relationships and understanding between foreign officials and U.S. diplomats who will be called on, sooner or later, to work on contentious issues across the table from one other.  It helps sustain generalized affinities even as individuals come and go in the diplomatic service.  And it helps connect the real global communicators of the 21st century:  journalists, activists, scholars, researchers, teachers, writers, artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs, as well as young people just joining the conversation." Image from entry, with caption: The Iceberg Model: This graphic shows why direct messaging – via print or audio-visual media – can so easily fail to reach its target.

Beware of Central Bureaucracy for USIB - Ted Lipien, "Having spent several decades working for international broadcasting in many positions as a journalist, manager, and marketing specialist and having observed the United States Information Agency (USIA), VOA, RFE/RL, IBB and BBG, I have learned that bigger has never been better for USIB, international audiences, and U.S. public diplomacy. Smaller, autonomous and specialized media organizations function and perform much better than those directed by a central bureaucracy, which USIB has already become.

So instead of centralization envisioned by Mr. Johnson and Mr. Parta, I propose de-centralization and de-bureacratization, a strong and independent Voice of America, surrogate broadcasters where needed, and an engaged bipartisan BBG board providing strong oversight and insisting on accountability to Congress and American taxpayers. Beware of a central, powerful bureaucracy of any kind for U.S. international broadcasting and be highly skeptical of claims that such a bureaucracy can deliver a large global audience." Image from entry. See also.

Public Diplomacy and Online Platforms: Radio Liberty’s Case - Lívia Pontes Fialho, "Earlier in the week, ASP published a report on The Challenges of the Internet and Social Media in Public Diplomacy, highlighting a discussion on the true efficacy of digital platforms. One size does not fit all, and as the report points out, there is a great number of countries and people who do not have the level of access to online tools as experienced in the U.S. Public diplomacy efforts need to be tailored to its target audiences if they are to be successful in any concrete manner. In this case, part of RL’s traditional public still relies on the radio as a primary source for news. Since its founding, RFE/RL has consistently come under attack from past Soviet and Russian governments. Focusing most of its broadcast online may not be the best idea, since its digital platform could be susceptible to attacks, which would have been much harder to carry out over the air-waves. In this process, the firing of journalists by the radio’s management has been met with protest and hurt the station’s credibility. The attempt to regain relevance is legitimate but doing so, using online tools, without taking into account the effects on a well-regarded brand and on the actual audience may backfire instead."

American policy requires an integrated strategy - "An important reason behind America’s foreign policy failures is the inability to conceptualize and utilize all of the available tools of statecraft, argues Dr. John Lenczowski—IWP’s founder and president—in his 2011 book, entitled Full Spectrum Diplomacy and Grand Strategy: Reforming the Culture and Structure of U.S. Foreign Policy. Below is a review of this work by the head of the Kościuszko Chair of Polish Studies at IWP, Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz. ... [begin review] First of all, the United States does not have foreign policy. Instead, the United States has a serious attention deficit disorder. ... Thus, the correct way to proceed with our mission is to identify short, medium, and long range goals congruent with America’s national interest and design a grand strategy to achieve them. Never mind whether in a pluralistic, democratic society we can even form a consensus regarding our goals, in particular lofty aims far into the future.

John Lenczowski talks about an ideal world. He blasts the post-Cold War demobilization of America: a national security siesta, 'by a bipartisan consensus' (p. 39), which has cost this nation dearly. As a result, 'our government fails to take fully into account the role of information, disinformation, ideas, values, culture, and religion in the conduct of foreign and national security policy' (p. 1). To counter this serious flaw, as a scholar-practitioner, Dr. Lenczowski imparts valuable lessons on how to set up goals and devise ways to achieve them with full spectrum diplomacy – 'a combination of traditional, government-to-government diplomacy with the many components of public diplomacy' (p. xi). The latter is 'the entire array of diplomatic instruments – cultural, educational, political, ideological, information, and intelligence – designed to have relations with, and influence over, foreign societies, foreign publics, and foreign opinion leaders, with the ultimate effect of influencing foreign opinion' (p. 19). Hence, hats off to Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, 'the most powerful instrument we wielded in the political war against Moscow,' (p. 37) in the 1950s and 1980s, in particular." Image from entry

The Clothes Have No Emperor - Donald R. McClarey, The American Catholic: "Art Deco says: Friday, February 8, 2013 A.D. at 10:20am What about Jimmy Carter? It would a sin against justice for any discussion about the worst U.S. president to not include his name. Mr. Carter’s principal offenses include ... 2. Loss of prestige (a fungible quality) due to dithering nincompoopery vis a vis Ayatollah Khomeini, Anastasio Somoza, the Sandinista National Directorate, Ahmadou Mahtar M’Bow, and sundry others. He did eventually realize that putting Cyrus Vance in charge of the Foreign Service and Andrew Young in charge of public diplomacy were bad moves. Took about two-and-a-half years of embarrassment as well as substantive policy failure (e.g. arms control treaties you could cheat, the Law of the Sea swindle)."

Brainwashing and Obama’s War Propaganda: Pentagon Gearing Up to Fight the ‘PR War’-- Obama: losing touch with the people, and reality - Patrick Henningsen, Global Research: "The U.S. Army has embraced what civilians would call public relations as a key part of military operations for the 21st-century battlefield. ... Added to the

traditional war elements — among them movement and maneuver, intelligence and firing against an enemy — is the new 'Inform and Influence Activities' (IIA) ... Listed on the Web site of the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea is its assistant chief of staff, G-7, who is 'responsible for planning, coordinating and synchronizing Information Engagements activities of Public Affairs, Military Information Support Operations, Combat Camera and Defense Support to Public Diplomacy to amplify the strong Korean-American alliance during armistice, combat and stability operations.'" Image from

BMWs, Beer, and Education: Why Germany Makes University Know-How a Key Export - Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser, "Governments have long used higher education as a means for building relationships with foreign nations. The U.S. Agency for International Development and the Fulbright program have promoted American higher education abroad. Under the Colombo Plan of the 1950s, Australia started supporting academic exchanges and higher-education development across Asia. The British Council was developed in part as a means for facilitating cooperation among British institutions and foreign countries. And the German Academic Exchange Service, commonly known as DAAD, its initials in German, was founded after World War I to help the nation re-establish and build its foreign relations. Such work, however, has been somewhat curtailed of late as Western governments have reduced funds for higher education, including money for international engagement. Yet Germany continues to view this type of overseas effort as an important investment in the nation’s economic success. Over the past decade, the German government has supported the development of universities  in Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Oman, Vietnam, and Turkey. These are not branch campuses or joint-degree programs. They were not set up as a means to find new revenue streams to support higher education. These are more like old-school development projects. They are a generous public-diplomacy effort by Germany to build the local educational capacity of a foreign country. And they enhance Germany’s economic competitiveness and the growth of its higher-education system. This mutually beneficial approach is also evident with the iMOVE program, whose tagline is, 'Training–Made in Germany.' Since 2001, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has supported the International Marketing of Vocational Education program, or iMOVE, to promote German-style job training. iMOVE has held seminars and workshops  in ChinaRussiaIndia, and in several nations in the Middle East. But the development of the new bi-national universities, which each follow a slightly different model, are perhaps the most noteworthy effort. For example, the Vietnamese-German University is a public institution jointly financed by the governments of both nations and a significant loan to the Vietnamese government from the World Bank.

The king of Jordan championed the creation of the public German-Jordanian University. And the German University in Cairo is a collaboration between Germany and private investors in Egypt. It is noteworthy that in an era when many American public institutions are engaging in cross-border educational activities as a means to raise revenue, the German government is actively investing in such programs. It is easy to look at international education solely through the lens of making money—recruiting international students because they pay higher fees; foreign governments subsidizing the cost of overseas labs and other academic ventures; and universities looking to expand their share of the global education market. It is refreshing to find a case where a Western government considers cross-border higher education a self-interested investment in the nation. Do you know of other governments that take such an approach to international higher education?" Image from entry, with caption: Like Germany’s auto industry, German higher education is keen to export its models.

Analyzing the messages U.S. officials from State and Defense gave Sri Lanka - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "This writer, at close quarters within the portal of Colombo's American diplomatic mission working with principal officers, saw the unfolding and shaping of the ‘American perspective toward Sri Lanka’s National Issue.’ Which is why at the media briefing following their talks with GSL officials, opposition politicians and civil society activists the American officials declared. 'Reconciliation is so critical to ensure that the wounds of the past heal cleanly' and 'the LLRC is this democratically elected government’s commitments to its people, to heal the wounds from the past conflict.' Sri Lanka does not seem to have summoned her strategic communication and public diplomacy skills to explain to the international community the measures taken toward this."

British diplomat discusses culture, tradition - Alana Victor, Daily Trojan: "Though public diplomacy is a well-known phrase when it comes to international issues, Director of the British Council to the United States Paul Smith stressed his preference of the term 'cultural relations' on Thursday at an event hosted by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. 'To a degree, I would argue that [cultural relations] does differ quite significantly from public diplomacy,' Smith said. 'The relationship really is about trying to engender trust between people who may not initially have reason to trust each other.'

The importance of understanding other cultures remained the focus of Smith’s talk to an audience of about 30, many of whom were graduate students in the public diplomacy master’s program. 'Getting public diplomacy to happen is the challenge of our times,' Smith said. To Smith, the use of the term 'cultural relations' also better encompasses the efforts that he has been a part of throughout his career. 'Over the years, the British Council has moved towards using another phrase and that phrase we use is cultural relations,' Smith said. Image from article, with caption: Director of the British Council to the United States Paul Smith talked about culture to an audience of about 30 people.

Should Israelis Subsidize American Jewry? - Ronn Torossian, "[T]he just announced 'Seeing is Believing' 50 Million Shekel Foreign Ministry initiative to bring a few thousand North American, non- Jewish campus influentials to Israel makes a lot of sense. It is a program meant to counter the awful propaganda which Israel faces on a day-to-day basis. American Jewish organizations fail miserably at this task, and the project proposed by Foreign Ministry Director-General for Public Diplomacy, Gideon Meir, can make a huge difference if influential figures on campus see things with their own eyes. As Natan Sharansky of the Jewish Agency says, the 3Ds – the demonization, double standard and delegitimization of Israel –need to be countered with 3Es: education, engagement and exposure - according to Meir."

19th Knesset sworn in with fanfare, hors d'eouvres [sic]- Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post: "At the ceremony’s end, lawmakers were given glasses of wine to toast the 19th Knesset.

Meanwhile, at least three MKs managed to submit legislation on their first day on the job. MK Nachman Shai (Labor) submitted 30 bills, some of which did not pass in the previous Knesset. One of them would establish a national authority for public diplomacy." Image from article, with caption: Heads of party lists for 19th Knesset February 5, 2013

The conspiracy theory of religious Zionism's takeover of the IDF - Nadav Shragai, "[T]the religious Zionist leadership ... is competing with secular society and trying to create its own dominance in the IDF's ranks to accomplish its own objectives, including ensuring the future of the settlement enterprise. Dr. Yoaz Hendel, the former head of the Public Diplomacy Directorate of the Prime Minister's Office and today the head of the Institute of Zionist Strategy, notes, very logically, that most of Israel's citizens do not see the increasing religious presence as a negative thing for one very practical reason: there is no one else to fill the ranks."

Qatar’s public diplomacy woes - Michael Stephens, "Qatar is a young underdeveloped state. Its Ministries are small and lack research teams of adequate depth, and it does not possess a foreign intelligence service, it relies instead on the good will of others to share information with it. Its style of governance is top heavy and not complimented by adequate balances against policy decisions. Think tanks are here, Brookings, RUSI, and the Al Jazeera Studies Centre; but whilst diplomats from many nations use the resources we provide to deepen their understanding of world affairs and fact-check their missives to their respective Foreign Ministries, the Qataris have shown little interest in engaging any of us other than to attend conferences; hardly where the real foreign policy work gets done. ... What is to be done? ... [S]imply employing a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide a weekly briefing to journalists, and once in a while giving people in the foreign policy professions a call to ask their advice: we don’t bite. Lastly, employ more Qataris with international experience and draft them into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to research these problems and produce policy recommendations as Bahrain and Saudi have done."

Ma pleased with growth of cultural exchanges between Taiwan, Japan - Adam Tyrsett Kuo, The China Post: "President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday met with Japanese artists at the Presidential Office and said that he was pleased to see the increasing extent of cultural exchange between Taiwan and Japan. Although public works can spur a nation's growth, it is culture that makes a nation great, Ma said, stressing that culture is the foundation of a country."

Konstantin Kosachev on Building Russia’s Soft Power - Dmitry Panovkin,  "Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Federal Agency for Affairs of the CIS and Compatriots living abroad, and for international humanitarian cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), special representative of the Russian President

for government relations with CIS members, believes that 'soft power' doesn’t mean the programs of particular Russian organizations, but the environment that arises after they are implemented. Uncaptioned image from article

Russian nation-branding as it is - The Unbearable Lightness of Russian Soft Power: What it looks like to be soft in a hard nation: "Russia is very poor on mechanisms that would help devise a viable, flexible and manageable brand to meet the country's reputation needs. All talk of a positive image and brand is too abstract and general. Ultimately, the core of the problem with the brand 'Russia' is the apparent lack of a solid national idea/identity - Russia does not know what it is and where it is going, hence no clear idea of what it needs to advertise in its brand. The country has been more often looking back into the past, ignoring the present and having a dim idea of its future. To the outside world Russia is most often associated with Soviet times, which is unhealthy (for Russia) because it needs to invoke a vision of itself as a modern and forward-looking nation.

More generally, this national ideology predicament has often been cited as the primary cause of Russia's failures at soft power. ... The 'disjointedness' of Russia's public diplomacy and nation-branding efforts has recently been confirmed again as the Russian government has hired Goldman Sachs to improve its investment image abroad. This time the body in charge of nation-branding affairs (with a special focus on financial and business image) is the Ministry for Economic  Development. One remembers that Russia has not been at all averse to making use of American-based organisations in raising its attractiveness stakes. But before a positive Russian image abroad ever becomes a reality, we Russians might as well contemplate using snow as our next big nation-branding idea." Image from entry

The FCO’s Digital Strategy - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "The basic direction in FCO communications is to get social media more integrated into the everyday work of the organization hence the move away from the centralized communications directorate. There is a move to get greater integration between ‘digital’ and news. The hope is that the integration will produce a better news operation. Historically, the news function has been at the core of UK public diplomacy so it’s important that the drive for digital helps this rather than undermines it. The number of people who will potentially be reached by working through media organizations dwarfs the numbers of people who are ever likely to follow British diplomats on Twitter and Facebook. Having identified online influencers during the Arab Spring what did the FCO do? In ‘some cases invited them to meet with us in person’ – seems sensible to me. The key point is that diplomacy has always been about crafting relationships and maintaining networks. New technology ... creates new opportunities for doing this. The key choice in diplomacy is to identify which relationships and networks are the ones to use in each case. The challenge is to make sure that ‘digital’ adds options without damaging the ability to make use of existing opportunities." Image from

Don't Close Foreign Embassies, Open Digital Ones - Philip N. Howard, Huffington Post: Embassies perform a crucial role in maintaining diplomatic ties with foreign governments, but their function is to maintain economic, political and cultural engagement with people living in distant lands. There have been a few experiments with virtual embassies -- the United States has one for Iran. But some have critiqued the first of such ventures as being largely about propaganda: links to press releases and pages about constitutional history do not make lively, cross-cultural engagement. Such basic websites don't support real interaction, which is crucial for letting the political attaches in Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs keep their fingers on the pulse of the communities they work in. Indeed, the work of diplomacy does not just involve talking, it involves listening. ... Working digitally would not necessarily undermine the use of the other tools in the diplomatic toolkit. Indeed, modern diplomats increasingly find that their work involves both digital and face-to-face communication. In recent years, even the political officers of Canadian missions have found that their local contacts have migrated to Facebook. When we decide to break ties with a foreign government, we still have an obligation to engage with local democracy movements. If we pull out of a country, we need to be ready to fill the vacuum with a virtual embassy to continue that engagement."

Lok Pal - The need of assimilation wit the society: Seminar on “Reinvention of Democracy by Civil Society – A case study of Lokpal bill” - maverick_thoughts, flury of thoughts: "Talk by Dr. Venkat Lokanathan: The topic of his presentation being 'Indocracy in Asia theater: prosperity or pain' ... He initiated the discussion with the newly introduced term called Indocracy on which he dwelled for a while to ensure the audience understands on how India and its democracy is extremely different from a country of largely homogenous groups an complex and diverse country like India, where every 200 kilometer is a state with its own complexity, language, philosophy, culture and political systems. ... He then moved further to point out at the possible solutions that the government has to focus as mentioned below: 1. Media management has become a critical factor and that media channels needs to be more rational and logical and also emphasized on revamping national media channels. 2. To increase public diplomacy."

Islamism and Propaganda - Public Diplomacy and International Communications -- Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications by Gary Rawnsley: "One of the issues I have been thinking about for a long time - and I post my thoughts and questions here in the wake of the intensive coverage of current events in Mali in the hope of getting feedback and clarification - is the insistence by western media and politicians to use the term 'Islamist' instead of 'Islamic' or 'Muslim' to refer to specific groups of Muslims seeking a non-peaceful way of imposing their beliefs.

As a student of propaganda I am aware of the emotional and intellectual reaction to 'isms', and one cannot help but wonder whether the ubiquitous and rather arbitrary use of the label 'Islamist' after 9/11 is justified." Image from

MPD In China 2013: Roundtable at The Charhar Institute - Shaocong 'Amanda' Hu, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "PD’s value or benefit for contemporary China is limited ... because public diplomacy is only an effective tool towards a country with which China is not actively involved in a dispute. Shaocong 'Amanda' Hu is a second-year graduate student in the Masters of Public Diplomacy program at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, with a particular academic interest in nation branding, cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy in East Asia."

Technician the big players mirror that aim - China Chain Link Fence Fabric - China Mesh Panel Fencing - "Trading also Open To The Public Diplomacy: Always work with in country specific policymakers in order to really enact exchange strikes arrangments made whom emphasize involving our reputable companies throughout broadened market use international. Involving Our part extremely about global marketing market places on growing and we will hard work to back up what is plan to enter real estate markets and in addition negotiating exactly who protection and even provide protection to cerebral homes. TechNet may well help public diplomacy initiatives, widened commercial and as well , normal gardening to organic as well as policymakers considering critical point things plus Cina privacy policy." Image from

22 times background briefing held hot issues - "Seeking change of such diplomacy efforts, can be discerned from the end of 2009, the Office of Public Diplomacy, established. Strong support in the decision-making for more than two years, the Office of Public Diplomacy planning organization Open Day activities, the Special Topics briefing, and founder of the "Blue Hall Forum, China's public diplomacy is also groping fade in mature, gradually absorb into people's hearts, and public participation in the discussion of the international situation and the degree of foreign policy, foreign policy decisions, the adoption of the composition of public opinion is also increasing."

2013-02-07 Xi Jinping's Speech on Foreign Policy - "China may have amassed great economic strength over the past three decades and it has been building a military commensurate to its size, but it has never renounced peaceful development as its main future trajectory. ... We speak to Ambassador Ma Zhengang, deputy president of the China Public Diplomacy Association."

BelTA awarded at Belarus’ Art of the Book 2013 Contest - "A book of the Belarusian News Agency BelTA has been awarded in the nomination 'Commonwealth' of the 52nd Art of the Book 2013 National Contest. The award ceremony took place at the National Library of Belarus on 6 February, BelTA has learnt. The Belarusian News Agency has been awarded Diploma I Class for the publication of the book, China through the Eyes of Belarusians, under the editorship of Belarus’ Vice Premier, Chairman of the Belarus-China Society, former Ambassador of Belarus to China, Professor Anatoly Tozik. The author of one of the articles is BelTA journalist, Deputy Chairman of the Belarus-China Society Alina Grishkevich.

The book comprises articles of 20 authors who present their view on the development of modern China and the Belarusian-Chinese relations. Among the authors are business managers, diplomats, economists, university heads, journalists, scientists, medical specialists, athletes and representatives of public diplomacy. The articles confirm great interest of both the Belarusians in China and the Chinese in Belarus." Image from

Investigating the ‘public-ness’ of diplomacy and international organizations as a process of translation - Jason P. Rancatore, Diplomatic Cultures: The blog of the Diplomatic Cultures Research Network: "At the end of World War I, 'open diplomacy' was argued to be the future of international relations. The League of Nations, as an international organization–a diplomatic actor in its own right, but also comprised of diplomats from its member states–formed an Information Section to write and disseminate communiques and press releases regarding its work (see Ranshofen-Wertheimer 1945). This went against the standard operating procedures of diplomats in capital cities around the world (e.g. Nicholson 1939; Satow 1917). In a sense, the public-ness of diplomacy and international organizations began to take shape with the League, and over time, new discursive practices were introduced and replicated so that these diplomats could manage the demands of their jobs."

Historical Engineering and Public Diplomacy - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "You quite often read that public diplomacy needs time to work. From an organizational point of view this is a real problem because you want to be able to demonstrate impact in the current planning cycle. The result is that PD ends up being evaluated by reference to inputs or activity measures. However when you start to dig into the history of PD you start to see some cases where the impact of government communications activities unfolds over very long periods. ... What’s the moral of this ... for public diplomats? Stop wasting your time on Twitter and go and hang out with some historians."

Intro to Persuasive Communication - Candance Ren, Ren's Micro Diplomacy ~ public diplomacy and soft power: "My employer offers some excellent e-learning courses, so I try to take advantage of the resource whenever I can. Just finished one on persuasive communication – which was a bit remedial having studied public diplomacy, but it offered a good refresher on the basics. Here’s one lesson: If you’re having trouble persuading someone, you are encountering resistance. There are a few strategies to overcome resistance."

The Release of Athena Global Shorts Kicks Off This Year’s Festival - "As you prepare for your visit to the 3rd annual Athena Film Festival, please join us in revisiting four short films that screened as works-in-progress during last year’s festival. Now complete, the films are part of Athena Global Shorts, a DVD compilation created in partnership with UN Women.

Last month, the finished series premiered at a screening at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Though diverse in content and style, all of the films featured share a commitment to empowering women as storytellers and creators of their own narratives. As Donna Ann Welton, Deputy Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, stated in her opening remarks before last month’s premiere, 'As my boss Hillary [Clinton, former Secretary of State] says, it is important that women help each other…We need to keep each other’s stories.'” Image from entry

China’s $132 Billion Missed Opportunity - Ethan Wilkes, "Ethan currently works in the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy at the United States Mission to the United Nations."

SiriusXM Launches "The B. Smith and 'Thank You Dan' Show": B. Smith, pioneering entrepreneur, restaurateur, television host, and author, launches first-time radio show with SiriusXM - PR Newswire: "B. Smith is a restaurateur, author and pioneering cross-cultural lifestyle expert and the first African-American woman to have a national lifestyle brand, be named to the board of directors of the Culinary Institute of America and have a nationally syndicated television lifestyle show.

Most recently, B. Smith was inducted into the American Chef Corps, the official network of chefs from across the country who have agreed to serve as resources to the Department of State assisting in the preparation of meals for foreign leaders, and participating in public diplomacy programs that engage foreign audiences." Image from entry

Industry Pro: Former Discovery Communications CEO Judith McHale - "[McHale:] I think for each of us, in our careers, the ability to tell our own story and for people to understand what you’ve done is critically important. I’ve just come out of the State Department. [Judith served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs from May 2009 until June of 2011.] I spent a lot of time there talking about the importance of our government shaping the narrative. It’s also important to shape your own personal narrative because other people are not going to do it for you and a lot of the great stuff you’ve done will go unrecognized because of that."

Today in Photos - The Harvard Crimson: Future of the Republican Party [:] Karen Hughes, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, speaks

about the future of the Republican party at the JFK Jr. Forum on Wednesday. Hughes joined four other panelists and moderator Trey Grayson.

Obama takes second-term agenda to the campaign trail: Instead of wading into negotiations with Congress on immigration, gun control and the economy, the president seeks to rally public support - Christi Parsons and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times: "George C. Edwards III, a presidential scholar and political scientist at Texas A&M University, studied hundreds of polls on presidents and concluded that even the most accomplished orators usually failed to win public support for their top initiatives. Despite Reagan's opposition to spending on social programs, for instance, public support for them rose during his tenure. Still, Reagan persuaded Democrats to pass his bills to cut taxes in 1981 and 1986, which some see as clear evidence that his skillful public diplomacy had an effect on his negotiations with Congress."

Program Coordinator - Jobs in Kampala: All the Best Jobs in the Uganda Capital City: “The American Embassy is seeking an individual for the position of Program Coordinator in the Public Diplomacy (PD) Section.”


Propaganda programs hard to justify, Panetta says - Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he is skeptical of the benefits the Pentagon's propaganda programs provide and added that the military struggles to gauge their effectiveness. Propaganda can also be dangerous, he said in an interview with USA Today, referring to the smear attack against the newspaper by the owner of the military's top propaganda contractor. "It's always been tough to quantify, frankly," Panetta said. "I've always been a little skeptical about how much good you can get out of that. There are instances where it can serve a purpose, and it can help as a way to defeat our enemies if it's used effectively.

I think there are dangers associated with it, that you just have to continue to be very vigilant about, because it can be misused as we saw take place in your area. That's the kind of thing that we just have to be very careful about." Micah Zenko, a national security expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, said the military must inform the public about its actions openly and honestly, not market them through contractors. "The Pentagon has an obligation to the American people, and the world, to provide information and tell its story — if nothing else to counter myths and misinformation," Zenko said in an e-mail. "But it should only do so in an open and transparent way. Using third-party contractors to shape public opinion is dishonest and unethical." Panetta image from article

Florence and the Drones - David Brooks, New York Times: Our drone policy should take account of our founders’ superior realism. Drone strikes are so easy, hidden and abstract. There should be some independent judicial panel to review the kill lists. There should be an independent panel of former military and intelligence officers issuing reports on the program’s efficacy. Image from

Five myths about Obama’s drone war - Mark R. Jacobson, Washington Post: When militants plotting against America operate globally, don’t wear uniforms and may even be U.S. citizens, who can be targeted and where? The White House recently released to members of Congress a Justice Department memo providing details of the targeting process — this may alleviate, but not eliminate, those concerns.

President Obama, did or did you not kill Anwar al-Awlaki? - David Cole, Washington Post: The unacknowledged killing of foreign nationals during wartime is disturbing enough, though there may be circumstances in which it is warranted. But in our democracy, it can never be permissible for the president to identify an American citizen for extinction, place him on a “kill list,” authorize a CIA agent or military officer to kill him — and then refuse to admit that it was done. Whether the killing is legal or not, accountability is impossible absent a public statement of responsibility for the act.

Is America Ensnared in an Endless War? - Patrick J. Buchanan, Under Barack Obama, we don’t have a Nixon “enemies list” of folks who are not to be invited to White House dinners. Rather, we have a “kill list” — a menu from which our constitutional law professor president selects individuals to be executed abroad. Is the war on terror to be like the war on crime, eternal, with U.S. soldiers policing the world forever, even as cops police our cities?

Sticking to Our Rights to Protect Our Rights - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: The Government of the United States, currently under the management of a

former professor of Constitutional law, is actively killing its own citizens abroad without any form of due process. Obama image from entry

The Real Problem With Obama's Drone Memo: The U.S. has dropped the clarity of the rules of war for the vague balancing tests that govern cops on the beat - John Yoo, Wall Street Journal: Despite the hue and cry, Mr. Obama hasn't issued American 007s a license to kill. The real story revealed by the memo is that the Obama administration is trying to dilute the normal practice of war with law-enforcement methods. Its approach reflects the mind-set of an administration populated with officials who spent the Bush years decrying military methods then employed and are now trying to impose a weaker law-enforcement approach to combating terrorism.

Let's lift the veil on rendition: The U.S. has failed to meaningfully acknowledge abuses in its counter-terrorism policy, to compensate the victims or to hold its officials accountable - Amrit Singh, The Senate should ask John Brennan, the White House counter-terrorism advisor, to make the CIA more transparent and permit a full reckoning of the human and moral cost of the CIA's rendition and torture program.

How to Ease Syrian Suffering - Kenneth Roth, New York Times: The carnage in Syria should redouble our determination to end it. A massive cross-border humanitarian operation is feasible, and it could contribute to a virtuous cycle that Syria desperately needs to curb the slaughter of civilians.

Iraq’s return to bloodshed - Kimberly Kagan and Frederick W. Kagan, Washington Post: U.S. vital interests that have been undermined over the past year include preventing Iraq from becoming a haven for al-Qaeda and destabilizing the region by becoming a security vacuum or a dictatorship that inflames sectarian civil war; containing Iranian influence in the region; and ensuring the free flow of oil to the global market.

So God Made a Fawner: Paul Harvey's ad was terrific. Steve Kroft's interview was shameful - Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal: Mr. President, does your foreign policy really come out of the White House, even out of its political office, and not the State Department?

Has the department's ability to formulate policy and be a player in terms of the development of grand strategy been diminished? Her first year in office Mrs. Clinton looked like someone who'd been put on a plane and told to do interviews on "Good Morning Manila" about how she met Bill. What do you say? Image from

The Information Revolution Gets Political - Joseph S. Nye, While the information revolution could, in principle, reduce large states’ power and increase that of small states and non-state actors, politics and power are more complex than such technological determinism implies. In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that computers and new means of communications would create the kind of central governmental control dramatized in George Orwell’s 1984. And, indeed, authoritarian governments in China, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere have used the new technologies to try to control information. Ironically for cyber-utopians, the electronic trails created by social networks like Twitter and Facebook sometimes make the job of the secret police easier.

Japan declares propaganda war on China, Korea and Russia - For many decades, Russia and Japan have been unable to resolve their territorial disputes. The Kuril Islands are a stumbling block in the relations between the two countries. Time passes, presidents and the governments change, various programs are being created, but the problem remains.

What is preventing the neighboring countries from solving this problem once and for all? Japan is planning to engage in propaganda of its position in disputes with Russia, South Korea and China. To implement this, the Government established a special unit that includes 15 officials and independent experts. Their task is to study and thoroughly analyze the positions of other countries on the territorial disputes. Observers note that Tokyo announced the information war, first of all, against Beijing and Seoul. "Russia should be more active in communicating its position on the Kuril Islands to the world community," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. Image from article


Breast enhancement grows into Valentine's trend [VIDEO] -

My Mama Told Me Not To Use It/But If I Don't I'm Gonna Lose It - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photoblog: Everybody is pointing and laughing at the fantastic new photo of Al Pacino as Phil Spector today. And well they should!


"Bureaucrats love anything generic and global."

U.S. International Broadcasting watcher Ted Lipien

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