Monday, May 6, 2013

April 29-May 6 Public Diplomacy Review

"The best propaganda is not propaganda."

--Professor Joseph S. Nye; image from


I Don’t Get Social Media, Thai Edition - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "So it was recently new year in Thailand, Songkran, celebrated by throwing water, face painting and dancing, all for the good. The Thais know how to throw a party. In the middle of all this, the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok spends sequester-free dollars to make this video, featuring starring idolizing the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney."


Don’t link Syrian crisis to Iran: There are good reasons for intervention in Damascus, but proving that Washington is ‘tough’ to Tehran is not one of them - Gordon Robison, Gulf News: "There are strong moral and political arguments on both sides of the intervene/don’t intervene debate on Syria. From one side, we hear that it is simply wrong to let the carnage continue, that the Bashar Al Assad regime’s days are numbered and that now is the time to get involved if America hopes to have any influence over the civil war’s outcome. On the other side, one ponders the American public’s lack of appetite for a new war in the Middle East, the deeper question of whether Americans ought to see every

Middle East crisis as a problem they alone can solve and the (not insignificant) public diplomacy question of whether the inevitable backlash against any new US military action in the region will outweigh whatever good it might do. Wherever you stand on Syria these are all good and compelling questions, worthy of careful thought. There are also, however, dumb arguments for intervening in Syria. Perhaps the dumbest of all was on display last week: US must move aggressively against Al Assad and punish his use of chemical weapons, Americans are now being told, because failing to do so will advance Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb." Image from article

Haters gonna hate - Arab News Blog: "The persistence of anti-American views in the Arab world represents an important policy challenge and an intriguing puzzle for political scientists. In the new issue of Foreign Affairs, I  [Marc Lynch] use Amaney Jamal’s fascinating new book, Of Empires and Citizens: Pro-American Democracy or No Democracy At All?, to explore a range of competing arguments about Arab views of the United States. ... The big question which the essay seeks to engage, and to which neither Jamal nor I offer any conclusive answers, is whether and how Washington could realistically change the direction, salience, or intensity of views of the United States.

The ambivalent, conflicted response to changes in U.S. policies from Egypt and Iraq to Libya and Syria show that it isn’t as simple as ‘change unpopular policies.’ Nor am I persuaded by the invocations of the region supposedly yearning for American leadership which tend to be popular in Washington, if nowhere else. In truth, none of the dominant theories really strike me as convincing, nor do many of the popular policy arguments about public diplomacy seem useful. In the essay, I point back to the arguments about cognitive bias in an influential book edited by Peter Katzenstein and Robert Keohane as one possible angle. I also think that antipathy to the U.S. is only intensified by the trends toward political polarization, more open public argument, resistance to change by U.S.-allied regimes, confusion about U.S. intention and capability to continue to underwrite the status quo, and the deep political uncertainty everywhere in the region. There are surely other explanations. In another piece which just came out, Colin Kahl and I argue that the U.S. needs to do much more to engage with this emergent public opinion." Image from

Can Obama’s Inconsistent Public Diplomacy Benefit The Outcomes Of The Middle East? No It Can’t - "The American president speech in Cairo four years ago that has called for the stop of settlements, as well as pain and suffering of the Palestinians is the evidence of how critical the Israel/Palestine conflict for the outcomes of the Middle East. Also given the importance of Obama diplomacy in reconciling Turkey and Israel considered as key ally countries in the region, nevertheless issues like the Iranian nuclear proliferation and terrorism will still be a feature of the Middle East politics unless a normalization of the U.S./Israel relationship would take place to put an end of decades of regional confrontations. Obama’s primary role therefore, is to concretely facilitate the Israel/Palestine peace process and stop the unconditional support of the Israeli government that today is worsening the hopes for peace in the region."

Remarks at Memorial Service for Anne Smedinghoff - Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Washington, DC, May 2, 2013: "We have heard, and we will hear, much about Anne as a person. I want to talk about Anne as a member of the public diplomacy family. As a diplomat dedicated to serving her country, Anne was special. She was special because she was a model, a model of the engaged PD officer. Like the almost 3,500 public diplomacy professionals who serve here and around the world – and that includes our local staffers – she understood that every day there was something she could do to reach out to foreign audiences. Something she could do to help people develop a greater understanding of the freedoms, the values, and the opportunities that we live by. She intuitively understood the well-known statement of my original predecessor Edward R. Murrow. He said, 'The real crucial link in the international exchange is the last three feet, which is bridged by personal contact, one person talking to another.' ... On her final day, Anne was opening very big doors. She was working to support an educational program developed and implemented by Scholastic Books to promote literacy throughout Afghanistan.

Almost two million books – translated into Dari and Pashto for first, second and third graders – were being sent to elementary schools in every province of Afghanistan. This program was linked to a complementary program to teach teachers how to use those books for elementary reading instruction. And I’d like to acknowledge the representatives of Scholastic Books here with us today. Anne was leading Afghan journalists to a formal book ceremony at one of those schools, so that they would spread an important message to all Afghans – particularly young people. What was that message? That every Afghan boy and every girl – has the right to education, to build their own futures. That their futures need not be defined by others who would block their view of the sky, their share of the economy, and their access to the rights and freedoms that all people deserve. By working with local journalists, Anne was also sending a message about the important role an independent Afghan media plays in a democracy." Image from; see also (1) (2)

Rights Group Warns of Media Repression in S. Sudan - Jill Craig, "Human Rights First last week teamed up with the U.S. State Department to launch the Free the Press Campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the importance of media freedom worldwide ahead of World Press Freedom Day, which fell on Friday. ... Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine has called on governments around the world to make developing and supporting independent journalism a top priority. 'Just as you need an enabling environment for economic growth or for democratic transition, you need an enabling environment for media development,' she said. Sonenshine said media freedom isn’t just important – it’s necessary. 'Information is as basic to me as water and air because without it, you are trapped,' she said." See also (1) (2)

Obama Urged to Raise Press Freedom During Mexico Trip - "The plight of journalists in Mexico and beyond was the topic of discussion last week when Human Rights First and the U.S. Department of State cohosted 'Pressing for Freedom: The State of Digital and Media Repression Worldwide.' The event, featuring Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine and Uzra Zeya, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, highlighted ways in which the State Department can act to protect journalists in repressive countries." See also

Media face quality challenge - Fred Wesley, "A visiting group of journalists including editors-in-chief, editors, radio and television producers and senior investigative reporters ... is scheduled to meet the Public Broadcasting System Ombudsman Michael Getler this morning before attending a meeting with Policy Counsel Emma Llanso at the Centre for Democracy and Technology after that. This afternoon, the group has a meeting with the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine and Ambassador Michael Kozak of the US Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and another meeting with media officers, discussing 'Working with the media — The practitioner's perspective'." See also.

Press Freedom a Human Right, Moral Necessity, U.S. Officials Say - Jane Morse, "Media freedom is a human right and the moral equivalent of oxygen, says Tara Sonenshine, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. Speaking at an April 25 event sponsored by the independent advocacy group Human Rights First at the State Department’s Foreign Press Center, Sonenshine said press freedom 'is how any free, healthy, vibrant and functioning society breathes, and it is essential to building civil societies. Without it, aspirations choke, economies suffocate and countries are unable to grow.' Sonenshine’s remarks came as a prelude to the 20th-anniversary World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, World Press Freedom Day is meant to inform citizens of violations of press freedoms and to remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. ... Sonenshine added that to focus world attention on the problem of media repression, the State Department is highlighting on its Web pages for human rights individual cases for a two-week period leading up to World Press Freedom Day." Image from

Ambassador Kelly on Commemorating World Press Freedom Day 2013: U.S. Representative to the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Ambassador Ian Kelly - U.S. Mission to the OSCE - Vienna, Austria: "As Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine stated in Washington last week, 'The United States of America was built on freedom of expression…. And so today I remind you of the fundamental freedom for all, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Media freedom is a key part of that, whether it comes from what we say in a public square or what we type on our keyboards.' In coordination with the Chair-in-Office and other concerned participating States, the United States will continue to advocate for an OSCE decision strengthening protections for journalists against acts of violence and intimidation related to their work."

World Press Freedom Day: May 3 - Awakenings: "Press freedom is an issue for every day, not just for May 3rd. But World Press Freedom Day is a vitally important opportunity to get people talking about what is happening in all countries and what needs to change.

And public diplomacy to promote press freedom is one of the most important kinds of public diplomacy there is!" Image from entry

Department of State Public Schedule, Monday, May 6, 2013, posted at "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 3:45 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine addresses participants in the Ambassadorial Seminar, at the Department of State. 6:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends Indonesia’s Foreign and Economic Policies event, at the Embassy of Indonesia."

State’s Sonenshine In Ethiopia On Global Youth Service Day (April 28) –, posted at Sonenshine: "Here in Ethiopia, the effects of global climate change can mean life or death for farmers, as they work to support their families. An Ethiopia with more forests will help sustain this country and our planet."

Women Entrepreneurs: the Next Driving Force in the Ukrainian Economy? - Malgorzata Wolfe, "In this time of transition for the professional roles of women in Ukraine, many women are looking for ways to take charge of their own futures. I was lucky to join over 160 Ukrainian women entrepreneurs, owners of small and medium enterprises, during the April 12 Forum: 'Women Entrepreneurs: the Next Driving Force in the Ukrainian Economy?'

My heart filled with hope seeing dozens of dynamic women enthusiastically discussing conference sessions, initiating new professional contacts, and exchanging business cards — demonstrating that women in Ukraine are a critical part of the economy and the future. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine opened the Forum giving an inspirational speech about the importance of women’s leadership. The Forum’s goal was to promote the importance of Ukrainian women in driving Ukraine’s economic growth, boost the confidence of women entrepreneurs, and provide practical tools for further empowerment. The participants were given an opportunity to network, exchange experiences, and discuss strategic investments in the economic potential of women." Image from entry, with caption: Under Secretary Sonenshine opened the Women’s Forum in Kyiv

Internet as a Social Change Agent in China - The Stanford Business Reporter: "Richard [last name not provided] shared his experiences as head of the press office at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and how, starting with the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his office embraced Chinese social media to advance US public diplomacy efforts and bilateral relations with China. Using social media sites such as Sina Weibo and Tencent’s QQ Weibo, the Embassy has been actively engaging with the Chinese public about American values, culture, and shared policy goals [.] Because of the restrictions placed on news reporting, social networking sites in China have quickly become an important barometer for gauging Chinese public opinion on economic and social issues that would typically not be reported by official Chinese state media. The Internet is a key driver of greater press coverage in China of topics such as pollution and corruption. The Chinese government has become increasingly alive to the risks, and opportunities, of social media in communicating state propaganda. To that end, Chinese officials are developing increasingly sophisticated tools to manage the flow of information disseminated online so as to better guide and influence Chinese public opinion."

Diplomacy Lesson from the Past - Kathryn Wasserman Davis - Patricia H Kushlis, Whirled View: "In an April 12, 2013 Washington Post Op Ed, Susan Johnson - outgoing president of the American Foreign Service Association – and former Ambassadors Ronald Neumann and Thomas Pickering bemoaned the increase of political appointees in the State Department and the consequent lessening size and influence of the career Foreign Service on US foreign policy formation and implementation.

They have a point.  Statistics show that the Department has become top-heavy with too many unqualified chiefs with conflated titles affixed to their security passes and likely too few Indians to do the quality work. This seems to be particularly true in the bureaus of public diplomacy and public affairs – at least that’s where the loudest howls to that opinion piece originated. The two public diplomacy bureaus – when they were still part of the United States Information Agency before Madeleine Albright and Jesse Helms destroyed it in the 1990s – contained only a tiny sprinkling of political appointees. The bureaus actually functioned rather smoothly perhaps as a result – run collectively in a sometimes uneasy alliance by the professional Foreign and Civil Services who often worked around the few politicals to get things done. I can only think of one phrase for what has happened since then: creeping, unproductive feather-bedding especially in Washington for electoral purposes at the taxpayers’ expense. Image from

Dignity Denied in Five Flashpoint Countries for Human Trafficking - Mark Lagon, "The State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP), which I headed form 2007-2009, fights the slavery of today, such as sex trafficking and forced labor. Just some of human trafficking’s victims include Dalit bonded laborers in India, prostituted girls from Cancun to Cambodia, legal guest workers in the Gulf, and undocumented apple pickers in Washington State and tomato pickers in Florida. These practices are characterized by deceit, psychological terror and violence—if not actual chains and shackles. TIP’s main tool, its annual global report, works because of candor and tough love – offering four rankings of governments based on their efforts against human trafficking. ... In these five flashpoint nations, the State Department should resist invoking 'strategic interests' and 'extenuating circumstances' as an excuse for inflating grades. It would undercut U.S. and universal values of dignity, as well as undercut a great success story to date of effective leverage and public diplomacy."

Myanmar's Educators Reach Out to the World - Lara Farrar, "As Myanmar’s government embarks on improving its higher education system, the possibility of assistance from foreign universities and scholars, whether in training faculty or rebuilding libraries has become a central focus. And foreign universities are pouring into the country to try to find ways to help. ... Foreign institutions say the Education Ministry is showing new openness. ‘Our ability to engage with them has quadrupled over the last few months,’ said Andrew Leahy, a public diplomacy officer with the U.S. Embassy in Yangon who is working on exchange programs. In January, the U.S. Embassy placed the first Fulbright scholar in nearly three decades at Yangon University. In February, the European Union organized a higher-education conference with ministers, university administrators and foreign academics.

The conference was 'significant' because such “open and frank discussions” had not happened before, said an E.U. representative, who requested anonymity because he did not have permission to speak to the news media. EducationUSA, the U.S. State Department’s outreach program for foreign students, held its first college fair in Myanmar in February. More than a thousand students and parents attended, as did representatives of almost a dozen U.S. universities and community colleges. Also in February, a delegation of 10 American universities, organized by the International Institute of Education, a nonprofit group based in New York, visited Myanmar to explore partnerships. ... The U.S. Agency for International Development began taking applications last November to finance higher-education projects in Myanmar. More than 200 organizations and individuals participated in an information session on agency grants in Washington in December." Image from

Establishment of an Academic Partnership in Architecture and Heritage Conservation - "The Public Affairs Section of the U. S. Embassy in Islamabad announces an open competition for a cooperative agreement to establish an Academic Partnership in Architecture and Heritage Conservation and Management between a U. S. educational institution and the National College of Arts, Rawalpindi Campus (NCA Rawalpindi) in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. ... Office: U.S. Mission to Pakistan Estimated Funding: $1,000,000"

2014 Fulbright Research Awards for Ugandan Scholars - "The U.S. Mission is now accepting applications for the 2014 Fulbright African Research Scholar Program. This award funds African university lecturers & professors to conduct postdoctoral research or undertake a planned program of reading and research during the 2014-2015 academic year at a U.S.

academic or research institution.  Programs involving dissertation research or general professional travel are not eligible under these programs.  Ideal programs will contribute to the development of new courses, curricula, or programs upon the participant’s return to her/his home institution." Image from

Cultural Diplomacy, then and now - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "'What you brought to Poland wasn't just jazz. It was the Grand Canyon, it was the Empire State Building, it was America.' -Polish jazz fan to Jazz Ambassador Dave Brubeck [;] 'I heard Hawaii in your music. What a beautiful place! I heard the waves of the ocean in what you played.' -Brazilian concertgoer´s impressions from the concert of Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson, with Moanalani Beamer, in Brasilia, Brazil." Note: Blog contains several entries on the Beamer Brazilian tour, a State Department funded "American Voices" program.

Barrett Distribution Welcomes U.S. Embassy Officials with International Center of  Worcester – PRNewswire: “Barrett Distribution is announcing its assistance of the International Center of Worcester (ICW) by hosting a group of U.S. Embassy officials as they visit from abroad.  During their visit to Massachusetts fromApril 28 to May 2, 2013, the embassy officials will participate in a 3-day training on the Current Policy Issues Program.  The embassy officials, who work in the Department of State Public Diplomacy programs overseas, serve as key advisers to American embassy staff.  Their visit to the U.S. is intended to enhance an understanding of leadership, business, and participation in the American economic system.  Embassy officials will be touring Barrett Distribution's massive fulfillment center in Franklin, Massachusetts. ‘We are glad to support the efforts of our government and specifically the important work that our embassies do abroad,’ said COO Tim Barrett . He continued, ‘Knowledge of America, American culture, and American businesses supports the work our embassies do around the world helps to make our world a better and safer place.’ Embassy officials will tour Barrett Distribution on Monday to view a fast growth business specializing in warehousing, distribution and logistics.  ICW hopes this event will strengthen its mission of promoting mutual understanding, Citizen Diplomacy, and international friendship between the U.S., the international community, and international visitors. Barrett Distribution is happy to be able to help in promoting this mission and looks forward to greeting the embassy officials with ICW.”

Full text of the Fifth BRICS Summit Declaration and action plan - "New areas of cooperation to be explored - BRICS Public Diplomacy Forum."

What China and Russia Don't Get About Soft Power Beijing and Moscow are trying their hands at attraction, and failing -- miserably - Joseph S. Nye: "China and Russia make the mistake of thinking that government is the main instrument of soft power. In today's world, information is not scarce but attention is, and attention depends on credibility.

Government propaganda is rarely credible. ... The development of soft power need not be a zero-sum game. All countries can gain from finding each other attractive. But for China and Russia to succeed, they will need to match words and deeds in their policies, be self-critical, and unleash the full talents of their civil societies. Unfortunately, that is not about to happen soon." Image from article

China commits billions in aid to Africa as part of charm offensive - interactive
Database reveals government has backed 1,700 projects on continent since 2000 in apparent attempt to win favour. The country's financial commitments are significantly larger than previous estimates - Claire Provost and Rich Harris, The Guardian: "While some insist the bottom line is China's thirst for natural resources, others argue Beijing's development projects on the continent – from infrastructure to debt relief to providing medical support – are also part of a public diplomacy strategy to build up goodwill and international support for the future. ... Many of the cultural and sporting projects across the continent are probably 'upfront sweeteners' to win government favour, a 'downpayment' for future commercial deals, suggests Stephen Chan, professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

But Chan rejects the idea that China has a master strategy in Africa. 'There are 54 countries in Africa. You're off your head if you think there's one single agenda.' Deborah Bräutigam, head of the international development programme at Johns Hopkins University, said suggestions that China's aid to Africa was all about natural resources were 'widespread misconceptions'. 'There are a lot of reasons countries give aid and China is no different,' she said. Chinese education and training programmes, for example, target students from across the continent. 'These are all about diplomacy, about soft power ... like the Alliance Française and the British Council ... all about presenting China as an important global player. All the big countries do this,' she added." Image from article

Ladakh and the War Zone Campaign Doctrine of China - Team SAISA, "This is the age of media activism and media briefings are as necessary to shape opinions internally as they are globally. In fact most countries use media as a force multiplier to their plans. This is specially so in light of Chinese plans of ECII ['External Calm Internal Intensity’]. Absence of critical inputs and establishment speaking in different languages from 'acne' to 'localised affair' give rise to speculation and undermine nation’s efforts at effective public diplomacy at times of conflict. In today’s information age we need to have vibrant, coherent and transparent media plans and processes to lend support to our cause."

Indian cinema: Projecting India’s soft power - Saroj Mohanty, "Indians not only make the highest number of films that are seen and adored beyond the subcontinent and the diaspora, but also appeal to people from diverse social and cultural worlds. Indian cinema is an essential element of the country’s soft power, a significant resource for its public diplomacy. As the most prodigious in the world, the Indian film industry produces some 1,200 feature films annually, more than double the number produced by Hollywood."

India: A would-be great power resists its own rise – Manjari Chatterjee Miller, "Many of the officials I interviewed confirmed that India produces no internal documents or white papers on grand strategy. Moreover, newly minted ambassadors are given very loose guidelines and little background information about their regions of responsibility, and they are not required to produce reports on their goals. Other factors contribute to the lack of long-term planning. The foreign service's exclusive admissions policies leave New Delhi short-staffed in that arena, and overburdened foreign service officers have little time or inclination for strategic thinking. As the ambassador with ties to the national security adviser's office told me, 'It's hard for people to focus on a long-term strategy because they deal with day-to-day thinking.'

Officials at both the foreign ministry and the prime minister's office described their roles as too often consisting of either putting out fires or getting bogged down with the mundane, and they expressed concerns about the shortage of personnel. Moreover, the two departments within the foreign ministry that are supposedly meant to handle long-term strategizing, the Policy, Planning, Research Division and the Public Diplomacy Division, are widely seen as lacking clout." Image from

Social Media Black-box for Indian Bureaucrats: How Nirupama Rao can help - "A social media study of public diplomacy undertaken recently at George Washington University, placed India’s ambassador to US Nirupama Rao at the top of the chart among all diplomats and missions based out of Washington DC. As the research study itself says, Rao is 'doing something right' to woo a huge number of followers. But, have the other Indian civil servants treated the technology associated with social media as a 'black-box' and…gone around it and explore the opportunities? An Indian government paper released on April 21 as a part of Civil Services Day, talks about how social media can help Indian civil servants to consult and engage with the public, increase the impact of their communications and be more transparent and accountable."

On Indian Public Diplomacy - Ritambhara - "Indian public diplomacy is a relatively new strategy adopted by the Indian government, but its importance is highly valued today as its become a vital instrument of India’s soft power. Not only this, but public diplomacy is also an important tool in India’s foreign policy arsenal which can be used to leverage India’s international imprint in the world, keeping in mind India’s ascendance in international affairs. Public diplomacy has to be integrated into Indian foreign policymaking process in form of a comprehensive and cohesive strategy. Therefore, Public Diplomacy cannot be just an afterthought, but has to become imperative at all levels of foreign-policy making. Thus, for India to become a great power in the world, the Indian government has to exploit all resources of soft power, of which public diplomacy is a crucial one."

EU to launch Twitter handle - Standard Digital Reporter: “The European Union (EU) Delegation in Kenya will on Friday launch a Twitter handle to make the delegation more accessible to the Kenyan public. EU Ambassador, Lodewijk Briet, expressed that social media plays an important role in public diplomacy in the 21st century.”

Tourism Partnership aims to attract an extra 9 million visitors a year to Britain - "VisitBritain’s GREAT activity for 2013/14 will seek to maintain the awareness and image boost created by London 2012. The campaign will target strongly performing growth markets, Brazil, China, India and the Gulf along with established markets USA, France and Germany. Over the last two years, VisitBritain’s marketing programme has directly contributed £900 million to the UK tourism industry, a return on investment of 18 to 1. VisitBritain has so far secured £24 million in match-funding from the private sector, doubling the Government investment. ... VisitBritain - which is already at the forefront of partnership working - will look at creative ways in which existing resources, platforms and promotional material can be used by other organisations. This is expected to include private sector partners and public diplomacy teams in source markets such as Mexico and South Korea." See also.

Diplomats To Connect Public To World Stage [scroll down link for item] - "With the emergence of public diplomacy, envoys have become mediators and communicators of international relations between the countries and the public. Speaking to 32 civil servants at the fifth Induction Course for Diplomatic Service, the Public Service Commission permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand said diplomats should be able to effectively communicate and use the public relations machinery. 'The new job of diplomats is to adequately inform citizens of the host country or his/her own country about the issues being negotiated,' Mr Chand said. ... He said Fiji needs alert and visionary diplomats especially in the area of conflict prevention and also to tap into new opportunities for trade, commerce, investment and development." See also.

Olympic censors and sensibility in Qatar - Peter Aspden, "Culture wars do not come more richly laden in comedy than this. Since the end of March, an exhibition in the Qatari capital Doha has been celebrating the world’s most enduring sporting event. 'Jump into an Olympic experience!" proclaims a promotional slogan, exhorting us to "discover the spirit of the Ancient Games'. All well and good. But be careful what you jump into. And never set the bar too high. It seems that two statues of nude male athletes were among a collection of art works lent from Greece to form part of the travelling exhibition that in Qatar bears the title 'The Olympics — Past and Present'.

This should have come as no surprise. Nudity was revered in ancient Greece, and evidence shows that athletes competed naked in the Games. But the Doha organisers were unimpressed and decided that the statues could not be shown in their original state. From here, accounts are a little blurred. According to reports in the Greek press, a compromise solution was suggested in which the statues would be covered in a piece of black cloth. 'This was easily dismissed for its ridiculousness,' said the Greek newspaper To Vima, perhaps too easily dismissing the ridiculousness of much cultural diplomacy. Enter Costas Tsavaras, Greece’s deputy minister of culture, on a bridge-building mission between the two countries. On visiting the exhibition, he reportedly found the statues behind a screen. The Furies — let’s keep it mythological — then descended. An ultimatum was issued, and declined. Tsavaras ordered the statues to be sent back to Greece. The rest of the exhibition, including a partially bare-breasted statue of Nike, remained intact and continues until the end of June." Image from article

Beyond Zero Sum Cultural Diplomacy - Max Entman, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University: "In a recent speech at the 2012 Institute for Cultural Diplomacy conference, former Canadian Minister of Foreign Trade Stockwell Day argues that cultural diplomacy can be used to advance certain broad principles that can help alleviate poverty around the world. Day posits that the existence of three essential freedoms - of enterprise, of religion, and of self-determined governance - can dramatically increase the likelihood that a given country will help its citizens out of poverty."

As acting FM, Netanyahu to meet disgruntled staffers: Ministry official says PM will be walking into a ministry badly demoralized by a sense that its functions are slowly being appropriated by other ministries - Herb Keinon, "Regarding budget, Netanyahu is likely to hear frustration that the ministry – which spends some 80 percent of its budget on 'set operating expenses,' including the

costs of embassies and consulates abroad – is left at the end of the day with about NIS 200 million for programs. For instance, its entire hasbara (public diplomacy) budget stands at about NIS 10m." Image from article, with caption: The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem

I Weep - "[S]peaking at a meeting of the National Public Diplomacy Forum at the Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu — who is acting foreign minister — said ... 'Our top public diplomacy mission is to explain that the root of this conflict is not territorial. It is over our very existence in any borders whatsoever. Day in, day out, and hour by hour, they have been preaching [that Israel has no right to exist]. So certainly the lie has taken root, and there is no way to fight a lie except with the truth.' ... Netanyahu’s statement on public diplomacy is thus very welcome. Everyone who cares about Israel, not just Israeli diplomats, must take it to heart. Day in and day out, hour by hour, the truth must be told."

PressTV: Sex Sells - To Inform is to Influence: IO, SC, PD, what's in a name?: "PressTV is widely regarded as a propaganda tool for Iran. ...’s stories drip with gross mischaracterizations, lies and deception which I believe can only fuel the fires of those already filled with anti-US sentiment. ... And now, according to VexNews, PressTV has hired a…  how can I avoid using this word but it seems so obvious…  sexy reporter.  Edwina Storie, who is allegedly a former 'adult entertainment' model, only partially covers her gorgeous blonde hair as she reports on various issues (with a decidedly pro-Iranian or anti-US twist), here.

The VexNews report goes on to show a 'don’t do as I do, do as I say approach to reporting: [']The VEXNEWS Investigations Unit can exclusively reveal the religiously fanatical Iranian regime’s reporter has had an extensive history of glamour modelling and behaviour inconsistent with the regime’s strict requirements.['] This hypocritical move by Iran can be directly contrasted with Public Diplomacy broadcasts of the BBC, VOA, RFE, RFA and so on. The reporters, editors and staff that I have interviewed, have worked with and have met are true consummate professionals and… nothing personal guys… …not that attractive." Edwina Storie image from entry

Indonesian apparel attracts Moroccan consumers - "Indonesian Muslim apparel has attracted Moroccan consumers and visitors in an exhibition on Indonesia`s handicraft products held in Rabat, Morocco, April 29 - May 5, an Indonesian official said. Coordinator of the Indonesian Advertisement Agencies Association (PPI) in Morocco Kusnadi El-Ghezwa told ANTARA here on Sunday that European and African consumers recognized the quality of Indonesian Muslim apparel in the exhibition. ... On Africa-Indonesia relations, Foreign Ministry information and public diplomacy chief Abdurrahman M. Fachir said that there were no hurdles. 'We don`t have political problems with African countries, but it will be a big task as to how to translate these good relations into concrete cooperation,' Abdurrahman said."

Ontario’s minority Liberals take budget plans public in bid to stave off trip to polls - Sonya Bell, "In sharp contrast to the secrecy that surrounds a typical government budget, the Ontario Liberals have been spilling the spring spending beans on a very public stage. Premier Kathleen Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa held a trio of surprisingly detailed announcements over the last week, unveiling the new spending they will propose for home care, municipal infrastructure and youth unemployment when the government tables its budget on Thursday. ... 'I’ve never seen anything like this here,' said John Duffy, a principal at StrategyCorp. 'It’s much more like what you’d see at a municipal council, where it’s very transparent and where the effort is to put proposals on the table out in public and see if you can get consensus on them sufficient to pass them.' Duffy, who worked on the Wynne leadership campaign, said this 'exercise in public diplomacy' is consistent with Wynne’s political style."

The Global Great Game (4+1) and Dialogue through Nongovernmental Actors - Raffaele Marchetti, "International coalitions both at the level of intergovernmental dialogue and at the level of government-to-people public diplomacy heavily rely on mobilizing ideals. In the context of globalization in which so many uncontrollable avenues of interaction are available, soft power is proving key in influencing the course of action in the mid and long term."

Space: The new frontier for public diplomacy? - Kelly McCray, public diplomacy student, Syracuse University, "This weekend I attended the Conference on Diversity in International Affairs in Washington, DC. The conference was organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Global Access Pipeline and the International Career Advancement Program. The conference brought together practitioners from a variety of different international affairs careers, at a variety of different levels with a variety of different backgrounds. Charles F. Bolden Jr., the Administrator at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was invited to speak about international cooperation at NASA. In addition to giving some insight about the wonders of space, Administrator Bolden discussed the workings of public diplomacy in space. He compared the international space station to a microcosm of the United Nations, and emphasized the importance of partnerships in guaranteeing the greatest potential for success in space explorations. Despite national allegiances, conflicting interests and other issues that may arise, every country represented at the international space station must collaborate and work together to obtain, disseminate and archive data and materials.

AYF calls on USC to cancel Turkish Vice-Consul invitation - "The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) has raised concern regarding the University of Southern California (USC) Center for Public Diplomacy’s decision to invite Tolga Arslan, Turkish Vice-Consul, to speak at the Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars (APDS) Conference on Friday, May 3, Asbarez reported. 'The conference is held annually and has four panels this year focusing on Public Diplomacy’s Domestic Dimensions, Public Diplomacy in Conflict Zones, and Diasporas and Consular Diplomacy. Togla Arslan has been invited to speak on the subject of Diasporas and Consular Diplomacy in order to share his public diplomacy strategies and the most effective ways of engaging with their diasporas. Arslan is not only a representative of a government that actively denies the Armenian Genocide, but he also actively works with organizations in the Diaspora that advocate for the denial of genocide.

This concern should not only be a concern to the Armenian community and to human rights advocates, but to the USC faculty and students as well. Inviting a representative of a government that does not engage in just practices in diplomacy reflects negatively upon the department and its credibility,' the AYF says. 'It is important that those attending this conference are educated and aware of the ongoing human rights violations by the Turkish government. USC should not allow representatives of foreign governments that have one of the worst human rights violation records to influence our education in the United States. It is important that we be critical and that we speak out when we see individuals like Arslan, through his government, attempting to influence our educational system.' The Armenian Youth Federation calls on the USC Center for Public Diplomacy to retract its invitation to Tolga Arslan, and to be truly critical of the representatives that they invite for future panels." Image from entry

Boston University set to host the 66th Annual WAPOR Conference [scroll down link for item] - "The Boston University College of Communication will be hosting the 66th annual World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR) Conference from May 14-16. ... Prior to the start of the WAPOR Conference, there will be a pre-conference called 'Public Diplomacy, International Broadcasting, and Public Opinion: New Media, New Tools, New Challenges'. This will take place on Tuesday, May 14. This pre-conference will serve as a meeting place for academics, polling professionals, and public diplomacy and international broadcasting practitioners to share their perspectives, formulate new ideas, and identify areas where further research is needed."

Part 1 of 2: International Broadcasting in the Era of Social Media - "On March 8, I attended the conference 'International Broadcasting in the Era of Social Media” at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles, co-sponsored by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.  There was so much that happened . ... This conference attracted a number of influential speakers on the panels and the audience was full of journalism- and public diplomacy-minded folks who were eager to hear what social media strategies the international media giants use.  (There was also a follow up event on April 1 in Washington DC, co-sponsored by The USC Center on Public Diplomacy and The Public Diplomacy Council, at the American Foreign Service Association.)"

‘US will recognise victors of credible polls’ - Bruce Wharton, "Ambassador David Bruce Wharton presented his credentials as US Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe on November 15, 2012. Until his nomination by

President Obama in May 2012, Ambassador Wharton, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counsellor, served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of African Affairs at the Department of State." Wharton image from entry

Tucson’s Israel 65 Festival – in pictures - "More than 4,000 people attended the Israel 65 Festival on Sunday, April 21, enjoying food, games, the shuk marketplace, music and dance.

Special guests included Dana Erlich, consul for public diplomacy, Consulate General of Israel, Los Angeles." Image from entry, with caption: A parade led by the University of Arizona marching band kicks off the festival.

The Horizon Framework: Bringing time into the assessment of counterinsurgency warfare - Christian Bayer Tygesen and Kristian Knus Larsen, "Kristian Knus Larsen has a M.Sc. in Political Science from Copenhagen University. He is writing his PhD dissertation on the use of performance measurements in war. Kristian has assisted in the review of NATOs Public Diplomacy Evaluation Framework Guide."

Can an Orange Peel Become a Rose? - Carol Glassman, "Catalina Lemaitre, founder of Calamarie (eco handmade art), had both the vision and experience to apply the synergy necessary to develop someone’s trash into treasure. With a background in public diplomacy and economic development for the State Department combined with a

love of art and history, a trip to her native Columbia to research starting a nonprofit arts organization brought her face-to-face with finding a way to realize uniting her passions: the environment, economic development and empowerment of women, art and the preservation of traditional art forms." Lemaitre image from entry

Returning Faculty Member Focused on Global PR - Mariam Karimi, Purdue University: "Brian Lamb School of Communication professor Krishnamurthy Sriramesh is concerned about how the culture of the eastern world is perceived and is working to shift cultural understandings. Sriramesh, who just finished his first year back at Purdue

as a full professor, is recognized for his scholarship on global public relations and has been working to reduce ethnocentricity in the public relations body of knowledge. ... Sriramesh is currently teaching largely graduate classes, but he hopes to teach undergraduate classes as well, including global public relations, public diplomacy and PR, and anything related to corporate social responsibility." Sriramesh image from entry

Ambassador Karen Hughes to address Lubbock Women's Club, community Tickets cost $45 - "The Lubbock Women’s Club Historical Foundation and The Ernestine Payne Welborn Endowment Community Speaker Series will host Ambassador Karen Hughes as a speaker this week for the annual speaker series. ... Hughes currently serves as the worldwide vice chair for Burson-Marsteller, where she counsels corporate, nonprofit and political leaders and provides strategic communications, corporate positioning and messaging advice, according to a release from The Lubbock Women’s Club. She previously served as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs."

2013 Freedom Flame: Allen West and Richard Scaife - "As financier, philanthropist and publisher for over 50 years, Dick Scaife has played significant roles in both the intellectual and cultural communities. ... Mr. Scaife served six years as a member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (USIA). He was a member of the Presidential Commission on Broadcasting to Cuba."

Gen. David Petraeus joins faculty at USC - Kevin Roderick, "Petraeus’ appointment includes affiliations with the USC School of

Social Work, including the program in military social work; USC Price; the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, including the program in public diplomacy." Petraeus image from entry

On the Move: 3 May 2013 - "Seigenthaler Public Relations announced today its has promoted Philip R. McGowan to vice president of clients services and Justin H. Wilson to director of client services. ... Before joining SPR in 2010, Wilson was a senior coordinator for the Political Affairs and Federation Relations Department of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. He also was the head of internal communication for the Office of the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State."

Varun Soni to speak at Service of Celebration - Sierra Barnes, "Varun Soni, dean of religious life at the University of Southern California, will serve as the speaker at this year’s Service of Celebration, held

as part of William and Mary's Commencement weekend. ... Soni -- who is also an adjunct professor at the USC School of Religion, a university fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Public Diplomacy, and a former teacher in the Law and Society Program at UC Santa Barbara -- is the first Hindu to hold the position of dean of religious life at a university in America." Soni image from entry

Job vacancies Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), April 2013 - "Job vacancies Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Public Affairs and Communications Directorate (PAC)Position: Head of OECD Washington Centre Location: United States of America ( The ), Washington Closing Date: Monday, 13 May 2013 [.] ... The selected person will have exceptional leadership, management, communications, public diplomacy and analytical skills. She/he will have an excellent understanding of policy issues and implementation in different contexts. Knowledge of OECD work would be an advantage. The Head of OECD Washington Centre will be located in Washington. He/She will report to the Director of the Public Affairs and Communications Directorate (PAC) in Paris but will liaise closely with the Office of the Secretary-General. Main Responsibilities Public Diplomacy, liaison and representation [:] Support and advance the Strategic Orientations of the Secretary-General. Develop and implement public diplomacy and media strategies to promote the OECD in key constituencies in the United States and Canada as part of the OECD’s broader global outreach effort. ... Professional Background. At least ten years’ experience in national and international communications affairs or public policy issues, public diplomacy and public affairs."


A crisis for Iraq — and the Middle East - Editorial Board, Washington Post: The resumption of sectarian war in Iraq alongside that of Syria would be devastating for the Middle East — and for the interests of the United States. The fragile gains of the Iraq war — a nation at peace with its neighbors and a partner of the United States — would be wiped out, and committed U.S. enemies such as al-Qaeda and Hezbollah would surge. The situation demands, as former ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker put it, “a sustained, high-level diplomatic effort by the United States” in Iraq. But it also makes intervention aimed at ending the war in Syria that much more urgent.

Erasing the stain of Guantanamo: President Obama shares culpability in the failure to close the prison, and it's up to him to take action now - Editorial, Obama has refused to expend political capital on closing Guantanamo.

CIA buys trouble in Afghanistan: How can cash payoffs to a corrupt leader further U.S. interests there? - Sarah Chayes, CIA

has covertly paid off key foreign leaders, with little if any coordination with other U.S. decision-makers and little understanding of the repercussions. Such activities amount to an independent foreign policy, lacking connection to any concerted plan, and too often conflict with the U.S. government's wider priorities. It is time, in this as in other domains, to inject some accountability and oversight into CIA operations. Image from

Syria Is Not Iraq - Bill Keller, New York Times: Our reluctance to arm the Syrian rebels or defend the civilians being slaughtered in their homes has convinced the Assad regime (and the world) that we are not serious.

A Homemade Style of Terror: Jihadists Push New Tactics - Scott Shane, New York Times: Aware that intensified American counterterrorism efforts have made an ambitious Sept. 11-style plot a long shot, Al Qaeda propagandists for several years have called on their devotees in the United States to carry out smaller-scale solo attacks and provided the online education to teach them how.

Israel steps up to the plate - Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: As for the Middle East, when a U.S. president is this passive and unwilling to act in accord with its words, the West and the Sunni states can take comfort in knowing that Israel is there to rein in the mullahs and their surrogates.

Send In the Contractors [review of Beyond War: Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East By David Rohde] - Peter Beinart, New York Times: The lesson that Rohde teaches — about how America’s feeble civilian institutions kept it from achieving its epic post-9/11 ambitions — is important. But over a decade later, the more basic lesson is that America’s ambitions in the Middle East should have been less epic to begin with.

Bolivian President Expels USAID For Alleged “Political Interference” - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: The USAID fact sheet also indicates that in the last 50 years, USAID has spent nearly $2 billion in Bolivia on education, health, agriculture, food security, alternative development, economic development, and environment programs.

New Program Funded To Measure Media Impact And Audience Engagement: USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center to house new global hub for media metrics research - PRNewswire: How do we measure the impact of media and journalism on the world around us? In what ways does news engage diverse audiences? And when do stories have the power to connect individuals and inspire change? An ambitious new project aimed at measuring the social impact of media is being launched by the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The Lear Center Media Impact Project is supported by grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Announced today, the $3.25 million in funding over the next two-and-a-half years will establish the Lear Center as a hub for best practices, innovation and thought leadership in media metrics.

No doubt Tsarnaevs inspired by Caucasus Emirate propaganda, expert says - Voice of Russia: After investigators revealed the identities of the Tsarnaev brothers, the two suspected Boston Marathon bombers, one of whom died in a police shootout, many eyes in America turned for the first time to Russia’s North Caucasus region. They want to understand the culture and the acts of radicalism that have occurred there that may have influenced suspected terror bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother. Host Andrew Hiller spoke with Dr. Gordon Hahn, a non-resident senior associate at the Russia and Eurasia Program with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to discuss the culture, politics and psychology of the North Caucasus region.

CBS Stands Behind Anti-Israel Propaganda - Joseph Puder, On April 22, 2012, CBS’s 60 Minutes aired a segment titled Christians in the Holy Land. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, called it “a hatchet job.” The piece by Bob Simon was full of inaccuracies and false allegations about the state of Israel and its mistreatment of Christians.

The sheer irony is in the very airing of the piece. The fact that it focused on Israel and not on the Muslim world is in itself a telling story. In the face of glaring persecution of Christians in the Arab and Muslim Middle East (including the Christians under the jurisdiction of Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank), CBS’s allegations against Israel, where Christians do enjoy full civil rights and religious freedom, are offensive. It exposed CBS’s cowardice. Instead of challenging Muslim aggression against Christians and Christianity, CBS chose to express its anti-Israel disposition. Image from entry

China Is Censoring Jokes About Its Propaganda Machine's Penis-Shaped HQ - Alexander Abad Santos, The People's Daily is the main state-owned newspaper of China's communist party, and everyone was pretty psyched about the paper's new Beijing headquarters. The building is massive, imposing, and, uh, currently shaped like a colossal penis.

Now, as construction workers try to finish the engineering, the country's censors are working overtime to stop Chinese people on social media from laughing at the expense of the very paper in charge of controlling the country's message. Image from entry

North Korea's Propaganda Magazine: More Weirdness From The Kim Regime -
The North’s English-language propaganda magazine, Korea Today, is a combination of historical context and travel guide but still predominantly features not-so-discreet propaganda.

There are aggressive and threatening quotes, which are sandwiched between colorful pages of Kim Jong-Il’s old stamp collection. Image from article

“Man of Steel”: Pentagon propaganda flick: The new "Superman" features F-35 fighter jets that haven't even been approved to fly - Sean McElwee, The new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will fly its first mission on June 14, 2013, but it won’t be over Afghanistan, Syria or Yemen. It’ll be over the mythical town of Smallville, in the upcoming Man of Steel.

In reality, the F-35 may never fly. The program is currently grounded, due to flight difficulties, after the government poured $400 billion into it. Reuters reports that the final cost of the program might be, sit down… $1.5 trillion dollars. It’s an open secret in Hollywood that before the MPAA reviews many movies, the Pentagon does. David Robb documents the practice in his book Operation Hollywood. Whenever movie producers want to use Pentagon equipment: helicopters, bases, submarines, etc. they send a request to the Pentagon, along with five copies of the script. The Pentagon replies with proposed changes to the script, which the producer must either accept, or forgo the equipment (which disinclines studios to finance the film, since it entails extra costs). Then, while the movie is shot, a “minder” hangs along, to ensure the director sticks to the script. Final approval comes from Pentagon brass who pre-screen and censor the film. Man of Steel image from entry

From Dr. Seuss to Disney, a Surprising History of Propaganda - Brian Clark Howard, The below infographic

looks at some of this colorful history of propaganda, from campaigns by the church to Hitler, arguably the most notorious propagandist (with his henchmen). Some of the info listed is perhaps debatable.

ANNOUNCEMENT (via Linked in)

The Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies (Berlin, Germany): Forthcoming Academic Programs
The Center for Cultural Diplomacy Studies (of the ICD Academy for Cultural Diplomacy) offers educational programs in partnership with leading institutions and organizations. Educational programs include Certificate Programs, Study Abroad Programs, Distance Learning Programs, and Postgraduate Programs.

The CCDS is currently accepting applications for the following programs:
• Distance Learning Programs in Cultural Diplomacy (May 6th – 31st, June 3rd – 28th, 2013)
• MA in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy (Fall Semester – Berlin, October 2nd, 2013)
• MA in International Economics and Cultural Diplomacy (Fall Semester – Berlin, October 2nd, 2013)
• Study Abroad Programs in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy (Summer Semester: Berlin, June 17th – August 16th, 2013)
• Certificate Programs in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy (Summer Programs: Berlin, July 1st – July 31st; Berlin August 1st – August 30th, 2013)
• ICD Academy for Cultural Diplomacy: May Session (Berlin, May 17th- 22nd , 2013)
For more information, please visit; image from


The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy will also be hosting "The International Symposia on Cultural Diplomacy 2013," which will consist of 10 concurrent events on varying topics of Cultural Diplomacy to be held throughout the world during the months of May, June, and July of 2013.
To learn more about the event series, visit the website at:

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