"Howsoever costly or hypocritical keeping up appearances sometimes is, and notwithstanding the dangers we incur from not being able to detect another's malign intent, the hiddenness of our thoughts is overall a blessing."
--Raymond Tallis, Emeritus Professor of Geriatic Medicine University of Manchester, "Oh no, you don't," a review of I Know What You're Thinking: Brain imagining and mental privacy, The Times Literary Supplement (May 10, 2013), p. 8; image from
Indo-US collaboration in education identifies eight projects - thehindubusinessline.com: "Indo-US collaboration in the education sector is gradually gaining ground with the two countries identifying eight joint projects worth about $250,000 each and implementation of a series of measures aimed at helping India address its major challenges. On his maiden trip to the US after becoming Union Minister for Human Resources and Development last October, M. M. Pallam Raju said 125 faculties and another 100 teachers in India have been identified who would be coming to the US for training. The two countries have also identified eight joint projects between India and the US under the Obama-Singh initiative with about $250,000 each, the details of which would be announced during the fourth India-US Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi this summer for which the US Secretary of State would travel to India, Raju said.
Yesterday, winding up his two-day trip to Washington, Raju and the accompanying delegation of top Indian officials and academicians, made a trip to the Montgomery Community College. 'We were impressed by the quality of programmes going into the community college when you see the kind of teaching they impart. It was quite an eye opener. We feel that that should be the approach,' he told a group of Indian presspersons. Raju met US Education Secretary Arne Duncan during which he discussed issues relating to improvement of school education, teacher educators, assessment of schools and teachers and community participation in school education. 'He (Duncan) was very appreciative of the challenge ahead of us,' he said. Yesterday, Raju also had a separate meeting with Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine, preparing for next month’s higher education dialogue." Image from
U.S. Policy Toward Iran - Testimony, Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Written Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC - U.S. Department of State: "Outreach to the Iranian People [:] Coupled with our concerns about human rights are our concerns about the well-being of the Iranian people. Every day, we hear from the Iranian people directly through our public diplomacy programs and Farsi-language social media platforms. The Virtual Embassy Tehran, launched in December 2011, has over 2 million hits and our Farsi-language Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube channel have also been enormously successful. The 170 videos on our YouTube channel have more than 1 million views and our Facebook page has over 120,000 fans, 60 percent of whom are inside of Iran and who access our sites even though the Iranian regime blocks the site. ... As the President and the Secretary have said, in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by the contributions of Iranian Americans. We know that the Iranian people come from a great civilization whose accomplishments have earned the respect of the world. That is why in his 2013 Nowruz message, the President emphasized that there is no good reason for Iranians to be denied the opportunities enjoyed by people in other countries."
Jazz, Hip Hop, Broadway Taught in Bangkok, Beyond - Daniel Schearf, voanews.com: "A U.S.-funded arts program is training students in the Middle East and Asia with American style music, theater and dance. The 'Yes Academy' strives to build bridges between the U.S. and countries emerging from conflict. One of their biggest programs is in Iraq. Grammy nominated jazz instructor Gene Aitken has conducted some of the top military bands in Asia and the Middle East. From Thailand he travels to countries emerging from conflict and isolation to bring young people from different religions and cultures together. 'There's one common language and that's the arts,' said Aitken. 'Throughout China, throughout the Middle East, and everything, everybody understands the arts. Everybody wants to be involved either as a participant or as someone who observes. Because, when we go into Iraq, maybe we have a day's notice on when there's going to be a concert. And, the concert halls are packed.' ... YES Academy also runs in Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan and Syria, but Aiken says they work the most with Iraq. Iraq has great orchestras, music and theater schools, as well as eager students, but decades of conflict have deprived teachers of proper training says director John Ferguson. 'We're trying to help re-build the cultural infrastructure there, helping train the teachers, helping train the next generation of teachers, and giving the students some motivation to keep going with their interest in music, dance, and theatre,' Ferguson said. Ferguson says they are not allowed to teach dance in conservative Afghanistan. But, otherwise, across the region, Western performing arts are quite popular because of Hollywood films and a lack of classes and professional teachers."
Event Recap: U.S. Cultural Diplomacy in Central Asia: Bluegrass with Della Mae - Matthew Wallin, American Security Project: "On Monday, May 13, ASP hosted Della Mae, the Boston/Nashville-based all-female bluegrass band which recently returned from anAmerican Music Abroad tour of
Cultural diplomacy is a public diplomacy tool for long-term relationship building with a long history in the
Radio Liberty Journalists in Moscow to See Justice Done - Helle Dale, The Foundry, Heritage Foundation: "The fired journalists of Radio Liberty’s (RL)
What may be behind White House attempt to remove Victor Ashe from BBG board? - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) only Republican board member, former U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe, may be paying a political price for exposing mismanagement at the federal agency and trying to save U.S. news broadcasts to Russia and China from cuts and fluff journalism. The White House wants to remove Ashe from the bipartisan BBG board, even though he is currently its only Republican member (there should be four). Even with Ashe, the board still lacks a quorum because its interim presiding governor fails to attend meetings. There are also still two unfilled Republican vacancies. ... Ashe may now be paying a political price for trying to make sure that U.S. taxpayers’ money was being well spent on U.S. international broadcasting to advance media freedom, public diplomacy and national security interests with effective news programs for foreign audiences." See also.
BBG employee union blasts IBB executives, praises Victor Ashe - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com
Diplomacy Gaming Concept For The 21st Century – Analysis - Brett Daniel Shehadey, eurasiareview.com: "[I]magine yourself sitting across from an official of another country. Instead of having the standard boring discussion set in the ambiance of the embassy’s 19th century architecture, using protocols only done within the highly ornate and exceedingly structured embassy surroundings, diplomats enter a virtual world of international relations using avatars from thousands of miles away. ... Such a future diplomatic model would be the new international norm among modern states in settling global level disputes. It also provides for greater transparency to the public and access to an official virtual portal that allows the constant contact with the nation’s opposite number. Of course, modern states will still be prepared to fight real wars too, or offer humanitarian aid and assist in stability operations. The key difference is the constant virtual arena in which to vet out human error before it occurs and to encourage cooperation wherever possible. ... Current attempts at virtual diplomacy have little government backing and are limited in scope. They are directed mainly at public diplomacy (PD), not official state-to-state channels. Some governments have attempted to change diplomatic conditions through virtual PD campaigns and the use of social media. But, crucially, the public does not decide to go to war, even in a democracy. Few countries have a public referendum on war-making. The power in most cases rests with a nation’s leaders and a few top aides and there is no direct way to bypass them. PD efforts are a step in the right direction, if handled properly, but the infrastructure is not in place to maximize its potential. Today, despite decades of rapid technological advancement and remarkably sophisticated communications equipment, governments must continue to speak and cooperate with each other through face-to-face interactions under a neglected and outdated exchange framework.
These in-person interactions are bound to change as technology advances life-like full size digital video conferencing technologies and higher bandwidth. Nations will also have the option to employ a greater use of science and diplomacy in both their leisure and their profession. Strategic ludology will not replace personal networking or PD but it can enhance it. ... There have already been a few digital efforts to move beyond today’s Westphalian model of embassy exchange. One of them, “Diplomacy Island,” makes good use of avatars and the virtual physical world. Unfortunately, it lacks a true sophistication of diplomacy gaming—foregoing realistic features such as military attaches and NGOs—and only attracting the interest of a few small countries. 'Statecraft' is a fantastic concept but is geared toward students and limited as a model for practical use. ... A major revolution in diplomatic affairs is needed to channel belligerence and disputes from reality into cyberspace. Once there, those disputes can be analyzed electronically without bloodshed, giving the actors time to pursue collaboration and consensus. The most productive, least harmful decisions would then be translated into real-world policy. ... Diplomacy gaming would act as the catalyst and standard that brings nation-states together and the therapeutic framework would set in place the new norms of transplanting the troubles of life into cyber life. Culture exchange and increased understanding would benefit tremendously. A digital diplomacy revolution would allow host nations to teach and share new gaming and simulations with guest countries, for example. A host state would invite a guest state into a digital diplomacy gaming session and the two would work through a number of issues that the host state has designed." Image from
On Russia, Spies, Soft Power, and Dissertation - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "If you haven't yet heard of the most recent spy story from
Russia: “Foreign Agents” Law Hits Hundreds of NGOs - Human Rights Watch: "Starting in early March 2013 the Russian government launched a nationwide campaign of inspections of nongovernmental organizations, unprecedented in its scale and scope. The inspections were highly extensive, disruptive, invasive, and often intimidating. To date, hundreds of organizations in different regions of
Doing better on EU visibility – lessons for the EEAS Review - Andrew Sherriff, ecdpm-talkingpoints.org: "This blog asks: what has actually been learned from efforts to promote EU visibility in external action? ... [T]he EU has global reach, yet the image of the EU varies hugely in different regions of the world and by different policy communities.
That means there needs to be contextual and audience adaption if EU visibility is to gain traction and a crucial role for EU Delegations. This is more than simply the public diplomacy projects, but also the EU Head of Delegation (and visiting EU political leaders) interacting and engaging with the media on the political issues of the day." Image from article, with caption: Photo by European Parliament.
Bureaucratic maze hampers multicultural policy - Shin Hyon-hee, koreaherald.com: "Economic prosperity, an aging population and stark gender imbalance have combined to turn Korea into a major destination for Asian migrants. ... To better manage the gushing inflow of foreigners, experts call for more vigorous, open discussions over immigrant policy and a multicultural Korea, as well as reinforced public diplomacy and know-how exchanges with other countries. Kim Woo-sang, a former president of the Korea Foundation and former professor at Yonsei University, picked open intellectual communication and knowledge and experience sharing as key to a successful immigration policy.
'Accommodation and integration of intercultural differences into national, regional, and global communities is no less serious policy challenge many of us are facing in different parts of the globe,' he told a multiculture forum hosted by the state public diplomacy institute late last year." Image from article, with caption: A choir of children with multicultural backgrounds performs at the 32nd Sejong Cultural Award held in Seoul on Monday to commemorate the creation of the Korean writing system, Hangeul, and promote Korean culture.
India-Africa Festival Opens in Johannesburg - India Times: "The festival will mark the completion of the "Indiafrica: A Shared Future" programme's second edition of competitions. With a Facebook community of over 206,000, the programme has seen over 5,000 young people from 36 African countries and India participate in its competitions. Four teams each from Africa and India will compete for two grand prizes - all expenses paid trips for one African and one Indian winner to Davos in January 2014 during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting to interact with global business leaders, investors and media at the proposed Indiafrica Youth Hub in Davos.
An exhibition of the winning poster designs themed 'What freedom means to you' will be open May 17-24. The exhibition will also feature posters from the 'Gandhi at Tahrir Square' poster design contest organised jointly by the Indian embassy in Cairo and the programme. The WITS Business School, University of Witwatersrand, will host the finals of the second Indiafrica Business Venture Competition May 16. Four Indians will be travelling to Johannesburg to present their business plans to industrialists from India and Africa. A selection of films, to mark 100 years of Indian cinema, will be screened at different campuses. There will also be workshops on storytelling and animation films followed by interactive sessions with filmmakers and photographers from India. 'Indiafrica: A Shared Future', is a unique people-to-people and youth outreach programme that uses contests, fellowships, collaborative projects, internships, events and cultural exchanges as platforms to bring the young people of India and Africa closer.Designed and managed by IdeaWorks Design and Strategy, the initiative is supported by the Public Diplomacy Division of the external affairs ministry. Brand South Africa is the country partner for the Johannesburg festival, which is supported by the Indian High Commission in South Africa." Image from article
To Study or Not to Study: The Value of a Master’s Degree for International Education Professionals - Heidi Bohn and Sora Friedman, blog.nafsa.org: "Dr. Sora Friedman is an associate professor and chair of international education at SIT Graduate Institute, where she teaches courses in international educational policy, design and delivery of IE programs, theory and practice of IE, and research methods for both on-campus and low-residency programs. She has worked in the field of international education for 29 years, focusing on the administration of adult exchanges in public diplomacy, international training programs, high-school exchanges, and international policy advocacy."
Bringing drones out of the shadows: Even ex-Obama administration officials are expressing qualms about targeted killings - Editorial, latimes.com: Though estimates vary, it seems that hundreds of civilians also have died in drone strikes, a source of anti-American outrage in Pakistan and Yemen. That drones are more precise than manned jet bomber is small consolation for the families of those victims. For all their technological novelty, drones are weapons, and their use raises the perennial question of when and under what safeguards deadly force should be used to protect the national interest. More than a decade after the 9/11 attacks that provided the ultimate authority for the drone campaign, it's time to take stock of whether that policy still makes sense.
Eric Holder is Not a Patriot - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Historians of the future, if they are not imprisoned for saying so, will trace the end of America’s democratic experiment to the fearful days immediately after 9/11, what Bruce Springsteen called the days of the
empty sky, when frightened, small men named Bush and Cheney made the first decisions to abandon the Constitution in the name of freedom and created a new version of the security state with the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, secret prisons and sanctioned torture by the US government. They proceeded carefully, making sure that lawyers in their employ sanctioned each dark act, much as kings in old Europe used the church to justify their own actions. Those same historians will remark from exile on the irony that such horrendous policies were not only upheld by Obama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and professor of Constitutional law, but added to until we came to the place we sadly occupy today: the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, publicly stating that the American Government may murder one of its own citizens when it wishes to do so, and that the requirements of due process enshrined in the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, itself drawn from the Magna Carta that was the first reflowering of basic human rights since the Greeks, can be satisfied simply by a decision by that same President. Image from
Obama administration hopes Putin will deliver Assad - Editorial Board, Washington Post: Mr. Kerry is right that the ideal endgame for Syria is a negotiated settlement. But the administration’s rush to enlist Russia and the Assad regime in talks before acting to change the balance of forces on the ground means this initiative, like those before it, is more likely to provide excuses for U.S. passivity than an end to Syria’s carnage.
Needed: A Turkish-American Plan for Syria: The Erdogan-Obama meeting is a chance to shape the post-Assad era - Morton Abramowitz and Eric Edelman, Wall Street Journal: Washington must take a leading role to keep Syria together. The U.S. has great resources and coalition-convening power, but it lacks influence with the various forces of the opposition and has limited knowledge of the elements in Syria that can best shape a post-Assad government. Democratic Turkey's help on this front will be paramount.
- electronicintifada.net: For anyone who still believed in the impartiality of the BBC’s coverage of
Israel’s occupation, the last few weeks, since the appointment of pro-Israeli apologists to its top jobs, must have proved an eye-opening shock. On 17 April, the day after the BBC announced the appointment of the openly pro-Israel former editor of The Times, James Harding, as the organization’s director of news and current affairs, it screened a program called Israel: Facing the Future. This was shown on BBC Two on Israel’s so-called Independence Day, and was presented by John Ware, a journalist with a history of attacking Palestinian-supporting charities and Muslim organizations on the BBC’s Panorama program. Ware’s most recent hour-long offering was strongly rooted in the Zionist narrative of the geo-political perils of Israel – that of the plucky little country, unthreatening and wishing to live in peace, but being forced to brave a constant battle against aggressive Arab neighbors and terrorist groups out to destroy it. Ware’s constant references to “Jihadists,” “Islamists” and the Arabs at Israel’s “hostile borders” threatening to “destroy” “the world’s only Jewish state” were the framework on which Israel: Facing the Future was built. To add effect, every such reference was made against a backdrop of menacing, vaguely Arab music. This view of Israel is, of course, a propagandized one, which promotes myths over facts and attempts to ally a Western audience with Israel in the “war on Muslim terror.”
Hawking's Boycott and Israeli Propaganda Tactics - Shir Hever, therealnews.com: Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist from Cambridge University, has cancelled his visit to Israel, which was scheduled to take place in June of this year. Hawking was supposed to speak at the Israeli Presidential Conference, a public relations event for promoting Israel's prestige through high-level visitors. Hawking explained the reason for cancelling his visit: "This is his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there."
Sinister propaganda, gross violations - As’ad Abdul Rahman, Gulf News: What concerns the jurists on the Russell Tribunal the most is the new culture of violence being perpetrated by the religious schools and the extreme-right Rabbinic Council teaching Israeli youth "to purify the land of Israel from any Palestinian presence."
HRW: Attempt of Azerbaijani authorities to utilize Eurovision for propaganda purposes fails - panorama.am: Wenzel Michalski, the head of the Human Rights Watch German office drew his attention to the strengthening of the protest wave in Azerbaijan. He said that the regime's attempts to use the "Eurovision" in their propaganda received the opposite effect. "The international media has focused its attention on the violation of human rights and the arbitrariness of the authorities in this country," he said.
How A Poet Gets Crushed By Propaganda - dish.andrewsullivan: One historical example: In the early 1960s, Kim Chul was one of the foremost poets in
North Korea. He was renowned for his lyric poetry and wrote often about love. The people even dubbed him “the Pushkin of Korea.” But no matter how beautiful, his poems could not be published unless they promoted Party ideology. One such poem, “A Military Jacket Button,” depicts a soldier returning home after the Korean War. He takes in his arms a motherless baby. The baby wakes up and sucks on a button on the soldier’s military uniform, mistaking it for his mother’s nipple. It is a poignant elegy about the misery of the Korean War. … [Kim Chul] depicts the Koreans as a war-weary people, and the Korean War as a tragedy for the nation. The work was considered seditious in its realism, and banned.
Propaganda: Power and Persuasion: Exhibition at the British Library 17 May - 17 September 2013 - What's On: Propaganda is all around us. It is used to fight wars and fight disease, build unity and create division. Whether monumental or commonplace, sincere or insidious, propaganda is often surprising, sometimes horrific and occasionally humorous. While it’s never neutral, it can be difficult to define and identify. Propaganda: Power and Persuasion is the first exhibition to explore international state propaganda from the 20th and 21st centuries.
From the eye-opening to the mind-boggling, from the beautiful to the surprising, posters, films, cartoons, sounds and texts reveal the myriad ways that states try to influence and persuade their citizens. Exploring a thought-provoking range of exhibits, you will find yourselves looking anew at the messages, methods, and media used by different states - discovering how they use propaganda through time and across cultures for both power and persuasion. Image from entry, with caption: The White-Haired Girl Chinese film poster (1950); see also
Propaganda Geek Art by Aaron Wood - Jim Napier, screeninvasion.com: Below a sample from a collection of propaganda geek art by
Here is a bit from the interview by OTLGaming: [Q:]Your Propaganda series of designs capture the feel of WWII propaganda posters perfectly, where did you get the idea to do these? Do you plan to do anymore? [A:] I got the idea from the “war” that goes on over on Google+. People over there generally dislike Facebook, Twitter, anything Apple, etc. I felt that if they wanted to make it a virtual war, I’d make up some propaganda to go with it. I definitely plan on making more. Always have something in the works! [Q:] Many of your designs have a retro familiarity to them, mixing modern themes (i.e. movies, commercial brands, etc) with visuals from the past, where did this idea come from? [A:] People seem to love anything retro these days. When I chose the war theme, the old propaganda posters of WWII just seemed to fit as a jumping off point.
Zombie Apocalypse Propaganda Posters - Artist Ron Guyatt created propaganda posters to help support our fight against the looming zombie apocalypse. The posters educate the population to the need to military response to the threat - See more at. Among the posters:
How Europeans stereotype one another, in one chart - Max Fisher, Washington Post. Via MP on Facebook
Потанцуем?!))) [Shall we Dance?]
NEWS FROM SWEDEN
Suède : Il tente d’avoir une relation sexuelle avec un nid de guêpes et décède - quoidenews.fr: Suède, lundi un homme a été retrouvé mort après avoir tenté d’avoir une relation sexuelle avec un nid de guêpes.
L’homme âgé de 35 ans a été retrouvé mort non loin de sa ferme, piqué 146 fois dont 46 fois au niveau des organes génitaux. D’après le rapport d’autopsie, « l’homme aurait introduit son sexe dans un nid de guêpes » avant de se faire mortellement piqué par les insectes. Image from article