Sunday, February 10, 2013

Public Diplomacy Review, February 10

"The best propaganda is no propaganda."

--An Asian analyst of cultural diplomacy; cited in the below mentioned, recently appeared Robert Sterling Clark Foundation report, "Public and Private Cultural Exchange-Based Diplomacy: New Models for the 21st Century," p. 8. Image from


Public and Private Cultural Exchange-Based Diplomacy: New Models for the 21st Century - "The revitalization of cultural engagement will require new energies and forms of collaboration between artists, cultural organizations, governmental and intergovernmental bodies, private foundations, corporations, and other citizen groups."


In producing the PDPBR, your compiler has begun to make (far too late) use of the informative Soft Power Daily; but, given the limited time available at his disposal, it is regrettably not citing individual contributors to this useful online publication that alerts its readers about items relevant to public diplomacy.


Study Abroad Cultivates Global Leadership - Allan Goodman, "The need for cultivating global leaders whose vision extends beyond the beltway, and indeed, the country, has never been greater than it is today. In order to build inclusive and prosperous communities, our future leaders must possess knowledge, skills, and cultural understanding that can transcend the borders of our interconnected world. At the Institute of International Education we are privileged to work with public and private sector funders who support study abroad and help to make more opportunities available to students. ... Despite the value of study abroad, only about 14 percent of students receiving a Bachelor’s degree will study abroad during their undergraduate years, and only one percent of all students enrolled in U.S. higher education are studying abroad in any given academic year.

Recent data on study abroad both provide some hope and demonstrate room for growth. A record number of U.S. students are studying abroad, according to the most recent statistics in the Open Doors 2012 report published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. ... The good news is that there are a number of resources available to support the development of our future leaders through funding for study abroad experiences. ... The Fulbright Program, a flagship of America’s public-diplomacy efforts which is also sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is another vital resource that enables U.S. citizens to study, teach, and conduct research in other countries, and brings citizens of other countries to the United States, with the goal of increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program has provided approximately 318,000 participants from over 155 countries —chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to observe one another’s political, economic and cultural institutions, exchange ideas, and embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world's inhabitants." Image from article

Social Media: Lessons for Public Diplomacy - "Two years have passed since the initial demonstrations in Tahrir Square, and today not many journalists or other 'new media' enthusiasts still claim that Twitter started, sustained or steered the 2011 Egyptian uprising.  Indeed, many of the participants vociferously challenge the idea that Twitter or Facebook were anywhere nearly as important as their own determined efforts. As part of the reassessment of social media’s role, Marc Lynch, George Washington University’s leading Middle  East political analyst, writes an immensely intelligent commentary in Foreign Policy. The subtitle foretells his principal point:   'How social media is hurting the Arab Spring.'  ... While Professor Lynch targets his critique on the impact social media made on the Arab countries, his article offers an equally valid insight into how Western diplomats, journalists, and academics misappraised the role of social media in those revolutions. Indeed, there is a strong argument that in the Arab Spring, mis-reading and over-interpreting social media led to leaps of faith, even Western policy mistakes. There was too little attention to just how few individuals in the region actually use social media, where information comes from, and the insights obtainable from data-driven network analysis. Marc Lynch believes social media serves academics, journalists and government analysts as a source of information and insight.  He says he relies on social media for information and unfiltered opinions from hundreds of Arab citizens every day. This is the key lesson about social media, especially for public diplomacy: you go into social media to listen, not to talk. ... Companies large and small are listening intently to their customers every second of the day.  And, more and more, corporations are agile in reacting to what they hear. Is public diplomacy listening enough? Is our diplomacy agile enough?"

Culture Posts: Exposing The Battle of US Values in the Smith-Mundt Debate - "The Smith-Mundt debate Illustrates how unexplored historical and cultural dynamics can have direct policy implications in public diplomacy.

So long as the debate remains framed as a battle against two iconic cultural values – the appeal of the future versus the threat to individualism – the legislation may struggle." [Note: this entry, so far as your PDPBR compiler can tell, also appeared, unchanged at.] Image from

Sister Cities Initiative to Focus on Urban Poverty in Africa - Kathryn McConnell, "The citizen diplomacy group Sister Cities International has created an avenue for urban centers in the United States, China and Africa to collaborate on issues related to Africa’s urban poverty and economic development. The two-year Sino-African Initiative involves three trilateral citizen networks, municipal governments and businesses. It seeks to create projects 'that address community needs, safeguard human rights and safety, and promote transparent business practices and government accountability,' according to a Sister Cities press release. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded Sister Cities $1.5 million to help implement the people-to-people initiative, which builds on Sister Cities International’s African Urban Poverty. ... Sister Cities International is a membership citizen organization founded in 1956 by President Dwight Eisenhower that promotes peace and cultural understanding through economic and sustainable development programs, youth and education projects, arts and culture, and humanitarian assistance. The organization facilitates long-term partnerships between 550-plus cities, counties and states in the United States with almost 2,000 communities in 136 countries."

First CPD Perspectives Paper for 2013 Analyzes the Structure of the BBG Feb 5, 2013 - Announcement, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "CPD Contributing Scholar on the International Broadcasting Research Project, Emily T. Metzgar, discusses the structural arrangement of the BBG and its implications in the newest CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, 'Considering the 'Illogical Patchwork': The Broadcasting Board of Governors and U.S. International Broadcasting.' The piece analyzes each of the five broadcasters that the BBG manages, the impact of the Smith-Mundt Act, and the composition of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, all while looking ahead to the potential role of the BBG in U.S. International Broadcasting and public diplomacy efforts in the future. Abstract [:] At its December 2012 board meeting, members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) announced that they needed more time to consider a plan that would create a single executive responsible for day-to-day operations of the organization responsible for overseeing U.S. government-supported international broadcasting efforts. Operating with a budget of more than $700 million and producing content in more than 50 languages, the Broadcasting Board of Governors qualifies as one of the world’s largest international news organizations. Using discussions about the need for reorganization of the BBG’s management structure as impetus, this article discusses the role of the Broadcasting Board of Governors in American public diplomacy efforts and considers its accompanying responsibilities as a large, media management organization. Noting a dearth of academic and policy-oriented research focused on the BBG, this article seeks to provide a foundation for future discussion of issues surrounding its leadership, its performance and its future. To read the paper in its entirety, click here. To learn more about CPD's research on International Broadcasting in the Social Media Network, click here."

New USC CPD paper discusses the "illogical patchwork" of US international broadcasting, and calls for a single executive - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Dr. Metzgar's paper provides a very good and thoroughly documented overview of US international broadcasting. Each of the entities of USIB is described in a separate section. There is also useful history of recent legislation pertaining to USIB. The section on Radio Free Asia does not discuss the false premises about VOA that were used to justify the creation of RFA. This topic, however, would require a paper unto itself. Of course, I agree with Dr. Metzgar's recommendation about the creation of a single executive for USIB. As discussed in a previous post, that CEO must be appointed by the BBG, not by the president."

Wilson Center event will discuss the organization of US international broadcasting in the 21st Century (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "I congratulate Ross Johnson and Gene Parta on this important paper (and I should have paid more attention to it when it was published in November 2012).

I support their two main proposals: 1) consolidation of the entities of US international broadcasting into a single single, non-federal, congressionally-funded broadcasting organization, and 2) the positioning of USIB as 'distinct from public diplomacy and from strategic communications.' ... If the Johnson/Parta recommendations are not heeded, USIB will remain a feudal confederacy of overlapping bureaucracies, and an untenable mix of news and public diplomacy. In this case, the only successful and meaningful US international broadcasting in an increasingly complex global media environment will be from the private sector." Image from entry

Trimming our obese cabinet - Maurice Ostrof, Jerusalem Post: "[W]hy do we need a separate Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs? Is this not the function of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?"

The cabinet Netanyahu will not form - Jerusalem Post: "[T]he newly elected Knesset, which was sworn in this week, is much more educated and professional than its recent predecessors. If professional degrees and actual skills were be taken into account when appointing ministers, as they are for most other jobs in the country, there would be plenty of qualified candidates to choose from inside the parliament. Chances are that such a cabinet would look very different from the finished product that Netanyahu must present to President Shimon Peres by the March 15 deadline to form his government. Clip and save the following list of possible professional appointments, and compare it to the ministers who will be sworn in by then. ... • Diaspora affairs and public diplomacy minister: Nachman Shai (Labor) – While current minister Yuli Edelstein is equally qualified, Shai learned the needs of Diaspora Jews when he headed the Israel office of the Jewish Federations of North America. He wrote his doctorate on how to improve Israel’s image abroad and, ironically, presented it to Netanyahu during US Vice President Joe Biden’s ill-fated visit in May 2010."

Former Likud activist sent to probe political appointments at Ashdod Port: The Government Companies Authority, which intervenes elsewhere when necessary, is reluctant to intervene at the Ashdod Port - "Last week, the Government Companies Authority sent its new coordinator of ports, Rafael Shukrun, to a meeting of Ashdod Port’s board of directors. ... Before coming to the Government Authorities Company, Shukrun was an assistant of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud)."

Peace Does Not Come on Account of Jewish Blood - Nurit Greenger, posted at "With the help of Israel and its lack of public diplomacy, the world has chosen to forget, or never knew, that the Arab population Israel has gained in 1967 were not indigenous. ... Unfathomable to a thinking person, Israel's case is a story Israel does not tell. Israel does not have to lie, as its story of facts and truth speaks volume for her. Israel is always on the defense and that is because of her lacking proper public diplomacy and public relations. As a result, Israel wins every battle but loses every war. No matter the outcome of event, Israel ends up to be blamed for it. That is the double standard Israel allowed the world to apply to her."

McMaster closing Confucius Institute over hiring issues -  The university will shutter its Confucius Institute this summer, severing a five-year relationship with Hanban, the Chinese government agency that has hundreds of similar outposts around the world and 11 others across Canada. The decision to abandon the partnership comes in the midst of a human rights complaint against McMaster from a former teacher at the institute. It was sealed by concerns over hiring practices – reported last year by The Globe and Mail – that appeared to prohibit teachers Hanban hired and sent abroad to staff the schools from having certain beliefs. The closing is a black mark on what’s been called China’s global soft-power 'charm offensive.' Confucius Institutes, a key component, are regarded warily by academics and intelligence officials alike. ...
Since 2004, more than 300 Beijing-financed Confucius Institutes have opened worldwide, most of them inside universities and colleges. Hanban bankrolls teachers and course materials, often with hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Canadian universities and colleges typically provide classrooms and administrative support – a deal many cash-starved schools have gratefully embraced." Image from

Confucius Institutes in Thailand: Modes of Internationalization of Chinese Soft Power- John Walsh: Doctoral candidate K Sirirat Ngamsang delivers the paper

‘Confucius Institutes in Thailand: Modes of Internationalization of Chinese Soft Power’ jointly authored with myself and delivered today at the ICGBE Conference 2013 (Bangkok, Feb 9th-10th, 2013). Image from entry

The soft power in China’s foreign policy - Gloria Jane Baylon, "Soft power is an unwritten aspect of any country’s foreign policy, particularly during the decades of colonialism when it was pejoratively called 'cultural imperialism.' Fortunately for China, it has the advantage of a much, much older, nay ancient, civilization and documented history that allow it the confidence to stroll quietly and seemingly unobtrusively in the corridors of political and economic power or non-power like the Philippines."

U.S. 'Soft Power' Abroad Is Losing Its Punch - C. Richard Neu, "America's fiscal predicament and the seeming inability of its political system to resolve these matters may be taking a toll on the instruments of U.S. 'soft power' and on the country's ability to shape international developments in ways that serve American interests. The most potent instrument of U.S. soft power is probably the simple size of the U.S. economy. As the biggest economy in the world, America has a lot to say about how the world works. But the economics profession is beginning to understand that high levels of public debt can slow economic growth, especially when gross general government debt rises above 85 or 90 percent of GDP. The United States crossed that threshold in 2009, and the negative effects are probably mostly out in the future. These will come at a bad time. The U.S. share of global economic output has been falling since 1999—by nearly 5 percentage points as of 2011. As America's GDP share declined, so did its share of world trade, which may reduce U.S. influence in setting the rules for international trade."

"Banned" from Google Blog Search? - John Brown's Notes and Essays: "[M]y modest efforts at sharing ideas with others on our small planet by means of the Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review (PDPBR) have for some time now gone unmentioned on the Google Blogs search (which was not the case several months ago). Did the PDPBR vanish from Google because of a person(s) or an algorithm? I sent Facebook messages to

Google-employed/celebrated social media guru Jared Cohen, who has foreign policy experience, about this, but never received a reply. Such is 21st century interconnectivity ... In order to 'beat' the Google selectivity system, what I am doing, to share with others my minor internet research (which makes no pretense of being 'academic,' 'sociological,' 'anthropological,' 'theoretical,' 'philosophical, 'ideological' or even 'provocative,' but does allow itself to take the liberty of attempting to amuse its readers) on media/blog items pertaining to public diplomacy, is including the PDPBR as an entry in my other blog, 'John Brown's Notes and Essays' which evidently is not 'censored' (perhaps 'ignored' is a better word?) by Google. At least for now, this stealth procedure seems to have worked, as I look at the Google stats in my 'Notes and Essays' on the latest of such a 'PDPBR' entry, the high numbers of which (for a blog which, granted and understandably, is limited in its readership) suggest that the PDPBR can remain available to a wider audience." Cohen image from


Obama’s Turn in Bush’s Bind - Peter Baker, New York Times: Mr. Obama relies on his predecessor’s aggressive approach in one area to avoid Mr. Bush’s even more aggressive approach in others. By emphasizing drone strikes, Mr. Obama need not bother with the tricky issues of detention and interrogation because terrorists tracked down on his watch are generally incinerated from the sky, not captured and questioned. By dispensing with concerns about due process, he avoids a more traditional war that he fears could lead to American boots on the ground.

Any Solution to Syria? - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times:  Syria is Iraq’s twin. The only way you’ll get a multisectarian transition there is with a U.N. resolution backed by Russia and backed by a well-armed referee on the ground to cajole, hammer and induce the parties to live together.

Avoiding Defeat - Andrew J. Bacevich, New York Times: The infatuation with counterinsurgency has now run its course, and four-star generals have returned to the ranks of mere mortals, a process punctuated by Petraeus’s own recent fall from grace.

Прошлое в настоящем или Совсем другие американцы (The past in the present, or quite other Americans) - Photos and commentary on the Amish community in Pennsylvania. Via HS on Facebook. Among the photos:

Cats’ Rights Group Attacks ‘Anti-Cat’ Propaganda in New York Times: "We cannot stand for cats to be scapegoats" - A group of cats rights activists are decidedly not amused by the recent backlash against the Internet’s favorite mascot. Last week, the New York Times ran a story called “That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think” based on a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute report, which set off a firestorm of “Cats are killers!” stories–angering cat ladies

everywhere. Cat advocates refuse to stand for this breed of anti-cat propaganda, and they intend to do something about. In a newsletter sent out by the Maryland-based cat charity Alley Cat Allies, the Times and its ilk are taken to task for publishing “junk science” that was “authored by researchers with an anti-cat track record.” They maaaaad, bro. Alley Cat Allies relies on a system called “Trap-Neuter-Return,” which they say has lead to a reduced number of feral cats being trapped and sent to kill shelters. The group claims the recent stories decrying murderous felines are based on “biased research that could lead to more outdoor cats being rounded up and killed.” They also claim the study cites a researcher who was “convicted and fired for trying to poison cats.” Yikes. “We cannot stand for cats to be scapegoats,” reads the outraged newsletter, which directs readers to a link where they can sign a petition asking the Smithsonian to disavow the study. Hey now, let’s not bring the goat lobby into this. Image from

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