Monday, May 20, 2013

May 17-20 Public Diplomacy Review

"Italy, without its art."

--Oscar Wilde on California; Wilde image from


Obama requests 7pc funding boost for Asia-Pacific region - US President Barack Obama is planning to boost spending in Australia and other Pacific and East Asian nations as the US refocuses on the region, and away from traditional hotspots Europe and the Middle East. The request came as Defence Minister Stephen Smith and US ambassador Jeffrey Bleich exchanged diplomatic notes on Thursday in Canberra to formally bring the Australia-US Defence Trade Treaty into effect. The US president is requesting $US1.2 billion ($A1.22 billion) in funding in the fiscal 2014 budget for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development to spend in the region, a 7.1 per cent rise on 2012. ... The US plans to expand its diplomatic and public diplomacy platform in the Asia-Pacific region, with an additional $26.27 million for program and supporting costs. This includes adding 14 new positions in embassies and regional bureau offices, including three in Australia, three in Burma, two in Korea, one in East Timor and one in New Zealand." See also. Image from

The ties that bind - Stephen Loosley, "On a boat in Sydney Harbour during US president George H.W. Bush's 1992 visit to Australia, Melbourne businessman Phil Scanlan came up with an idea that would forge a new link between the two nations at the highest level. Scanlan recognised that Bush was likely to be the last US president drawn from the wartime generation. ... With the passing of this generation, Scanlan saw the need for a deliberate and sustained private effort to complement public diplomacy and keep the US-Australian relationship on the radar of successive administrations and legislators on Capitol Hill. He conceived of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue and acted promptly to build a broad range of political support in both the US and Australia. ... With the support of his American wife Julie, Scanlan worked assiduously to enlist influential people committed to the Australia-US relationship. Twenty-one years later, the dialogue is now the envy of other Western countries, with its unrivalled access to the political and business leaders of the world's most powerful nation. Last year's gathering in Washington attracted about 150 delegates and observers, a political and policy elite from corporate, diplomatic and government circles."

The US Gets More Bad Publicity - To Inform is to Influence: IO, SC, PD, what's in a name?: "Despite this week being widely labeled a bad week, the bad news continues to pour in. This news is coming from outside the US and is only bad because the US states they will now supply weapons to those fighting the Assad regime, the Free Syrian Army (FSA).  Now we have a video of the FSA, the Islamic rebels trying to overthrow the Assad regime, executing captured Syrian soldiers, here and here. There has been a plethora of videos showing atrocities from both sides but this video is being shown at a particularly bad time, with at least three ongoing ‘scandals’ internal to the US government. ... What we need now is for the US government to express outrage at the FSA for executing captured Syrian soldiers. We need the FSA to conduct itself as a proper professional military force and abide by the Laws of Armed Conflict. We not only have to say that to the whole world but we must transmit that message to the entire FSA, since the FSA has only a loose command structure. Mr. President, apologies but you must consider this crisis as well. Oh, and your Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara Sonenshine, is on her way out the door. She’d really be a great assist in this effort, don’t you think? Wait… that would take planning."

Palestinian-Israeli peace not achievable without Hamas-Fatah reconciliation: Turkish PM - "No result can be expected in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process without reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said May 17 in Washington. ... The prime minister said a second international meeting on Syria, branded as the 'Second Geneva,' referring to the key conference organized last year by former U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, could be fruitful to allow the participation of Russia and China in the process. ... Erdoğan emphasized that the use of chemical weapons in Syria had been documented. 'The bombs of jets, the ballistic missiles and chemical weapons are documented. That everyone has accepted it [as a fact] is a matter of public diplomacy,' he said. Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama said after their meeting at the White House May 16 that a democratic process without Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was needed for a democratic transition of the war-torn country."

Public Schedule: Monday,May 20, 2013 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 12:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends a meeting at the White House. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE"

American English’ mobile application launched - Irfan Aligi, "The US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced the release of the free 'American English' mobile application for lower-tech feature phones and Android devices. Developed in partnership with English Education Alliance (E2A) members, biNu and Worldreader, the application provides new audiences worldwide with 'anytime, anywhere' English language learning resources on themobile devices they already own. The free AE biNu app for  feature phones and Android devices can be downloaded at Although, the AE app is not available for iOS devices or Windows phones at this time, it caters to non- smart feature phones such as Nokia 6600, which make up over 80% of this market. The AE biNu app can be downloaded directly by end-users. Expanding access to English language learning is a top public diplomacy goal for the Department of State. English language skills open doors to economic empowerment and educational opportunities for billions of people around the world. The application consolidates U.S. State Department English language learning content in one easy-to-access location. Content includes e-books, audio books, music, quizzes, and the 'Trace Word Soup' vocabulary game. Voice of America news feeds for English learners and a variety of other language, news, and social media content are also available." See also.

Energy and Security: Natural Gas and the Example of Pakistan - Paul Sullivan, "Pakistan ... is having a serious electricity crisis. One of the solutions proposed to me was that a pipeline be built from a neighboring country, Iran, which has a lot of natural gas in order to fuel the power stations of this South Asian state. ... A better option for Pakistan seems to be to import natural gas from a country that will sell it at below international prices. Qatar seems like the best option. There may be some help from China. The U.S. seems like it may be out of this loop for some time given its own budgetary issues. However, U.S. businesses could do a lot for public diplomacy and building relations in the region by working on this situation with Pakistan."

'US FP goal is to influence foreign publics' - Hameed Shaheen, "The United States has announced that one of the foreign policy goal of Washington D.C. is to influence the foreign public. 'The mission of American public diplomacy is to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy (FP) goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and Government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world', says a State Department web-posting. It adds: 'The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs leads America's public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs, and U.S. Government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism. The Under Secretary oversees the bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs, well as the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, and participates in foreign policy development'."

We Should Have Heeded the Warning Signs of Islamist Antisemitism - M. Zuhdi Jasser, The grim reality is that Muslim imams, scholars, and activists demonstrating the courage to publicly take on the antisemitism of Islamist leaders are far too few and have not made their presence known. They have neither the platforms nor the backing which petro-funded Islamist linked movements do around the world. We must support them by heeding the warnings which the horrible history of Islamist antisemitism has shown and take action to prevent its prevalence on every front throughout the world.

The Obama administration cannot even get itself to even use the word 'Islamism,' let alone take a stand against the pervasive antisemitism created by Islamists at home and abroad. Just like Islamist inspired terror, Islamist inspired antisemitism cannot be treated without targeting Islamism. Instead, President Obama’s national security team has engaged Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in the U.S. and oddly seems to consider the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt an ally in the making. Our leaders have to take sides in the battle of ideas against Islamism by reviving our public diplomacy in support of universal human rights, whether popular or not. We need to systematically expose—name and shame—the antisemitic behavior and ideas promulgated by Islamist movements, including all forms of hatred against Jews, conspiracies, and anti-Americanism. Antisemitic ideas are not isolated incidents to be condemned and dismissed. We should expose their root cause, foremost of which among Muslims is Islamism." Image from entry

Confronting Islam . . . . or Not, Part II: Playing Pop Music to Break Down the Walls - "[T]he West has an inane ideology, which it tries to impose upon the world by rhetorical conjuring tricks. But it is a mythical, make-believe ideology which is believed only in the West. The rest of the world knows better. One of the explanations for this ineptitude lies in the prevailing secularism of the West. Because it tells itself that religion is bunk, the West struggles to understand nations and peoples who think very differently about their faith and the truths they believe are ultimate. In the West, there are no ultimate truths–apart from tolerance of all truths, which makes all truths merely relative. Reilly [Robert R. Reilly, 'Public Diplomacy in an Age of Global Terrorism: Lessons from the Past'] concludes with the following questions: 'How do you fashion a public diplomacy strategy based upon the belief that the United States does not represent any permanent truths? As was mentioned earlier regarding the Cold War, a form of absolutism fighting a form of relativism always has the upper hand. Who wants to die to prove that nothing is absolutely true? How exactly is one supposed to promote this idea? By playing pop music, and hoping that the walls come tumbling down? (Ibid., p. 161.)'How, indeed."

Souza Lima; O Fin - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "After a month of touring Brazil, from north to south, Keola, Moana and Jeff are returning home to their beautiful Hawaiian islands. During their American Music Abroad [see] adventure, Keola and co shared the richness and beauty of Hawaiian music and culture with a fascinated Brazilian audience. And they taught the Samba Nation the intricate joy of Hula.

On the tour, Keola often spoke of the 'Spirit of Aloha,' and its deeper meaning. The Spirit of Aloha is the spirit of kindness and compassion, that ephemeral light that we carry in the calabash that holds our souls. All along their journey the ensemble shared their Aloha with so many new Brazilian friends." Image from entry

The fabulous Fulbrights - Laura Paisley, "Nine Trojans [University of Southern California] have been selected for the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship, an annual award that recognizes academic achievement and commitment to cultural engagement. Established in 1946 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright is the largest international fellowship program in the country. Each year, about 2,000 grants are given to support independent study, research and teaching in more than 150 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment, Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and athletics. Forty Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes. Last year, USC was recognized as one of the top producers of Fulbright recipients among U.S. research institutions. The 2013-14 USC Fulbright recipients include: ... Travis Glynn ... [who] wants to work for the foreign service in public diplomacy." Image from entry, with caption: The award will take USC's Fulbright scholars to India, Italy, Laos, Mexico, Portugal, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam."

Fulbright Recipient Reflects on Special Experiences at Seton Hall - Wendy Ekua Quansah - News and Events, Seton Hall University: "There is no better place for Karina Kainth to jumpstart her professional career than in the country of her heritage - India.  The honor student and senior at the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for 2013-2014. Through this prestigious grant, Karina will spend nine months in India teaching English and conducting researching. In addition to research and investigating leads, Karina wrote articles for The Washington Report on Middle- East Affairs, giving her firsthand experience in public diplomacy. ... As a sophomore, Karina traveled to Jordan as a Department of State's critical language scholar.  ... During the summer before her senior year, she also interned at the U.S. Embassy in London where she analyzed U.S.-U.K. coordinated policies surrounding Syria and Iran."

Oxford Conference- Molly Bettie, Public Diplomacy and Student Exchanges: Possibly the first study of the Fulbright Program to be conducted by someone who isn't affiliated with it in any way... - Being at Oxford got me thinking about my thesis chapter (as yet unwritten) on the way that the Fulbright Program alumni feed back into the program (volunteering, writing, funding, lobbying, etc.) and reproduce future generations of Fulbrighters. It's all about elite institutions and elite people--'future leaders.' I've written here before about my struggles with reading Bourdieu, but being at Oxford for the weekend has inspired me to give it another go. There is something fascinating about these people, their view of the world...It's hard for me to articulate it, but I'm going to have to if I want to include it in the thesis. ... [W]hat my whole elite institution angle on the Fulbright Program is all about ... [:] They don't get it. They are elites being given grants to become more elite, and they don't see it that way at all."

Evolution Of Embassy Construction Shows The Terrorists Won [includes interview with Richard Arndt] - Brian Hardzinski, Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis:  "Earlier this year an independent review by veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen slammed the U.S. State Department for inadequate security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before the September 11, 2012 attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. 'The styles of public diplomacy are now constrained by our fear,' says Richard Arndt, a veteran U.S. diplomat and the author of The First Resort of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy in the  Twentieth Century. 'Which after all is what terrorists try to produce, and which they've amply succeeded in.' Arndt says as the United States reestablished diplomatic relations with European countries after World War II, the goal was to build the most beautiful embassies possible. 'There was a time when we said ‘We've got to get our best architects to do them to exhibit the open, free nature of American life.’,” Arndt says. 'It was called the ‘American Style’ of architecture.' INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS [:] On his definition of 'cultural diplomacy': It should be educational and cultural diplomacy. It's I would say probably 60 or 70 percent education. Most of that is the Fulbright Program. That is the exchange between nations, and by and large from university to university, of students and professors and researchers and so forth. Culture sometimes falls into the division of what I call 'arts diplomacy' in order to break us out of that definition. So when we say 'cultural diplomacy' we mean all of that area of human intellect and human activity which do not fall into political and economics. On 19th Century authors as some of the first American diplomats [:] When the Americans came on the scene very, very late, we were very good at it. Why? Because we'd never done it. That is to say we'd never done it through government. But from the beginning, Americans reached out starting with the missionaries. Starting with the citizen diplomats. You recall that we had no professional diplomats until 1924. They were all friends of friends of the president - political appointments if you like, but when we're talking about people like James Russell Lowell and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Bret Harte and W.D. Howells and people like that serving as ambassadors or consuls overseas you understand that we were sending our best out to do something. On recruiting diplomats from the academy after the start of World War II [:] By January '42 we were looking for cultural attaches mainly for Latin America, but also for China, for Spain, for Turkey, and a Delhi and a few other countries. Every single person hired was off a campus. Guess why? Because they spoke the language. It's as simple as that. They spoke the necessary language to get them going. So they were all academics in the first days. After that, then of course the struggle of the propagandists to take over the cultural field for themselves and make it part of their program, which is now called Public Diplomacy. It was a long one, but it still is a tug-of-war between people who want to project long-range truths and those who want to project short-term useful truths."

Exchange Visitor Program-Fees and Charges: A Rule by the State Department on 05/14/2013 - "Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12866 [:] ... [T] he Department is of the opinion that the Exchange Visitor Program is a foreign affairs function of the United States Government and that rules governing the conduct of this function are generally exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 12866. However, the Department has nevertheless reviewed this final rule to ensure its consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles set forth in that Executive Order. The Department has examined the economic benefits, costs, and transfers associated with this rule, and declares that educational and cultural exchanges are both cornerstones of U.S. public diplomacy and an integral component of U.S. foreign policy. The benefits of these exchanges to the United States and its people are invaluable and cannot be monetized; in the same way, even one exchange visitor having a bad experience or, worse, being mistreated, will result in embarrassment and incalculable harm to the foreign policy of the United States. Therefore, the Department is of the opinion that the benefits of this rulemaking outweigh its costs.”

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Program to Raise Awareness of Global Language Loss - "The United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization estimates that of the more than 7,000 languages in the world, nearly half of them are in danger of becoming extinct by the end of this century. The Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival program 'One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage' will focus attention on this urgent issue of global language loss by bringing together communities from around the world that are fighting to save their native tongues and cultural traditions. ... Major support for 'One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage'

is provided by the Dr. Frederik Paulsen Foundation, the Microsoft Local Language Program, the Embassy of Colombia in Washington, D.C., the Ministry of Culture of Colombia, the Caro y Cuervo Institute, the U.S. State Department Fund for Innovation in Public Diplomacy, the United States Embassy in Bolivia, the Inter-American Foundation, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the University of Hawaii System and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs." Image from

9th Annual NATO Summer School, Czech Republic - The Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) offers its 9th annual summer school in cooperation with NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division on the topic of “NATO’s Security Challenges.” The summer school will take place July 7 – 12, 2013 in Měřín, Czech Republic.

EU Readies €5m PR Agency Budget For Southeast Asia Business Push - Arun Sudhaman,  "The EU is to spend as much as €5m on PR firms to support the extension of its 'Gateway' business programme into Southeast Asia. The EU Gateway initiative currently focuses on Japan and Korea, aiming to help European companies develop their business in the two countries. Since 1994, the programme has supported the efforts of 3,000 companies, via a package of package of coaching, strategic and logistical services, along with financial support. Accordingly, the EU is now considering a pilot project that will test a similar approach in Southeast Asia. The new tender follows a €2.5m search for PR firms to strengthen the EU's ‘public diplomacy and outreach’ in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, which is currently ongoing. The pilot project will focus on Singapore as business hub from which to create links with emerging markets in the region, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Burma and Indonesia."

Round Table Discussion with Ambassadors - "The European Union Delegation to Armenia invites you to participate in a Round Table Discussion with the EU Delegation and EU Member State Ambassadors on the occasion of Europe Day. This is a unique opportunity to meet Ambassadors from European Union countries and have a face-to-face conversation and find first-hand answers to your questions. ... The following topics will be discussed: Non-discrimination [;] European values [;] Culture [;] Youth and Mobility [;] Public Diplomacy and Social Media."

Nation building through Eurovision - Dr Eurovision's Blog: "As the Irish showed in the 1990s, Eurovision gives host countries the chance to say something to the world and on their own terms. The publicity gained from winning and staging the contest could not be bought. What’s interesting is that with Georgia, it is mere participation in this event which is important to them. It’s not just smaller, lesser known countries which use Eurovision as a promotional opportunity. Some use it as an exercise in public diplomacy. Greece, on its knees financially and yet still continues to participate in Eurovision. Failure to take part would effectively present an image of the country as a poor relative of the EBU. Last night the Greeks performed their song at the Euro Café here in Malmö. Before doing so they performed the Turkish entry from 2004 before announcing “Turkey should be here in Eurovision”. This is hugely significant and a reflection of the progress the Greeks and Turks have made in terms of their relationship. Eurovision offers an opportunity to further international relations and I think this is what makes it just that little bit more than a TV show."

BRICS: let’s talk about labour - Musab Younis, "By the time the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) heads of state met in Durban last month, this unlikely but durable association of emerging economies had already established a Think Tank Council, Business Council, and Academic Forum. New areas of cooperation were being promised on everything from public diplomacy and anti-corruption to tourism and sports. Wider civil society participation, for the first time officially sanctioned by the participating governments, is expected at the next BRICS Summit in Brazil. Yet in the twelve-page eThekwini Declaration produced at the Durban Summit and in virtually all of the dozens of articles on the topic which have been produced since, one word is conspicuous by its absence: labour."

China and Japan need to cool it over insignificant islands - James J Przystup, Phillip C Saunders, YaleGlobal: "Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's February meeting with US President Barack Obama reportedly focused on issues related to North Korea, Japanese-Chinese relations and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The two leaders almost certainly discussed the confrontation between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, administered by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan. The seemingly inconsequential islands have become dynamite in Asia-Pacific relations, and dangerous and escalating rhetoric and exchanges could lead to detonation. A path toward de-escalation is needed.The sovereignty dispute cannot be resolved in this heavily charged atmosphere, especially given the complication of Taiwan's competing claim over the islands. The immediate policy challenge is to minimise risks of accidents and miscalculation in a narrow geographic area. Assuming both China and Japan share an interest in avoiding conflict, we offer the following prescriptions, some easier to implement than others. All require restraint and mutual accommodation. ... [Among the prescriptions:] Mutual agreement on a public diplomacy ceasefire: Tokyo and Beijing have made their respective positions abundantly clear. The two sides are now talking past each other, instead addressing their respective domestic audiences and pleading their respective cases to international actors appalled at the prospect of China and Japan risking military conflict over tiny rocks. Repetition only serves to inflame domestic opinion and strengthen the other side's resolve. A ceasefire in public exchanges could calm tensions and give quiet diplomacy a chance."

Foreign Ministry: Azerbaijan and Egypt have strong ties in many spheres - "Relations between Baku and Cairo have been established since the first years of independence, since the recognition of Azerbaijan's independence by Egypt, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev said in an interview with Egyptian NileInternational TV channel. 'We have strong cultural and historical ties and we have a lot in common that unites our nations,' Abdullayev said. He said there is huge potential for the development of relations between Egypt and Azerbaijan not only in official political relations, but in the humanitarian sphere. 'We have to do much in terms of bilateral relations, but it is important that there is common understanding how our relations develop, and political will of both sides to develop them. We can also use public diplomacy in order to bring our relations to higher level,' Abdullayev said."

Jewish Mosh: How Do You Say Hardcore in Hebrew? - Josh Leifer, "The afternoon looked like any other day at the port in northern Tel Aviv. The sun shone brightly over the glistening Mediterranean. Buses with smiling square-lettered advertisements filled the parking lot. Large, balding men strode around the promenade speaking gruffly into cell-phones. But something strange, something foreign, something utterly un-Israeli was occurring on the far side of the harbor. In front of the blocky nightclub buildings massed thousands of youths clad in various forms of black garments emblazoned with spiky and aggressive looking band logos. Swishy hair on tank top sporting, tanned, and toned young men. Platinum blonde with the dark roots showing through on scantily clad equally tanned and toned young women. The port of Tel Aviv had been transported to Orange County, California. Or to any other place where the fans of metal-core, a genre that borrows both from death metal and hardcore punk, gather for raucous revelry. ... The backgrounds of the young adults gathered outside of Hanger 11 reflected the mainstream character of the music they were queuing up to hear. They were largely middle class, from smaller cities like Hadera, Rishon Le’Zion, and Netanya, not members of the hip, Tel Aviv cultural elite. Many had spent their entire monthly soldier’s salaries to pay for the tickets. Some had even requested a special dispensation for a day of leave from the army in order to attend the show. They spoke in a Hebrew idiom inflected not by the songs of pioneers or religious melodies but by American television shows and globalized pop-music, their modern Hebrew slang peppered with short English phrases and song lyrics. They dressed in a uniform of American brands – Levi’s Jeans, Vans shoes, and Ray Ban sunglasses. This is the generation that voted overwhelmingly for Yair Lapid. These are Israelis who, as Haaretz editor Aluf Benn writes,  'love their Israeli identity and the Israel Defense Forces, but who live their lives to an American soundtrack… These are people who don’t love Arabs and aren’t interested in any ‘New Middle East,’ and want peace mainly so that Israel will be accepted by the West; the types who rant about Israel’s lousy public diplomacy being the reason the world hates us Their greatest fear is not a nuclear Iran or an emboldened Hamas but rejection by the West.'"

Peace Now's Slapping Israel Around - "From this report: [‘]In a reply to a Supreme Court petition by the Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now, the government said it had taken steps in recent weeks to authorize retroactively four West Bank outposts built without official permission. 'The intention to legalize outposts as new settlements is no less than a slap in the face of Secretary Kerry's new process and is blatant reassurance to settler interests,' Peace Now said in a statement. ...Last week, Peace Now and Israeli media reports said Netanyahu has been quietly curbing some settlement activity by freezing tenders for new housing projects, in an apparent effort to help the U.S. drive to renew peace talks. [‘] a) the Oslo Accords do not deny Israel the privilege of continuing the construction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.  Indeed, 'settlements' are not a cause of the conflict. b) if the court is satisfied legalities are in order, Peace Now is judicially wrong. [A] nd note this headline:  Israel to 'legalise' wildcat settler outposts: NGO [.] ]T]the outposts are not strictly ‘illegal’ but rather unauthorized as a result of bureaucratic and political considerations, in the main. c) if a ‘slap in the face’ is problematic, Peace Now has been slapping Israel around for three decades, ever weakening its public diplomacy. d) even if a ‘Palestinian state’ be established, Heavens forbid, the idea that Jews cannot live there and build homes there is morally abhorrent - I'd call it apartheid - and illegal.”

Iran plan to end ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar - "Iran UN envoy calls for halting violence against Muslims in Myanmar, offering proposals to end the ethnic cleansing. In the meeting with the UN ambassadors of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members in New York, Mohammad Khazaei expressed his concerns about the ongoing violence and human right abuses against Muslims in Myanmar. ... Iran Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the UN urged the use of all means including drafting a special resolution on Burma in the UN Human Rights Council and considering various uses of public diplomacy instruments including media campaigns for international awareness about the situation in the Myanmar."

The Rise of Social Media: A New Frontier of Diplomacy #6 Continued...: Maximizing Social Media for Indonesian Diplomacy - indah nuria Savitri, my purple world: "Opportunities to engage people directly and to have dialogue with them do, in fact, exist to social media. The ability to carefully manage and maintain responsiveness to users’ interests is crucial. Therefore, strategies for using social media as part of public diplomacy efforts should focus on creating engagement that will encourage interaction and foster interests in long-term period. The great potentials of the use of social media is yet to be optimized in promoting Indonesia’s economy and cultural diplomacy. As social media’s greatest contribution to public diplomacy occurs when it creates potential for continued engagement and dialogue, the need for understanding target audiences and conveying information in a long–lasting and user-friendly ways is imperative."

Indian, Nigerian teams win Africa business contest - "An Indian team comprising IITians and a Nigerian team promoting low-cost farm products have triumphed at an India-Africa business competition . ... India's Life Catalyst Technologies and Nigeria's Jorsey Ashbel Farms won the 2nd Indiafrica Business Venture Competition held as part of the ongoing IndiAfrica Festival ... , a statement from the organisers said Saturday. Four teams from India, two from Nigeria and one each from South Africa and Kenya made their final presentations before a grand jury comprising professionals from Africa and India at the University of the Witwatersrand. ... Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, and WITS Business School, Johannesburg, were the institutional partners for the competition organised by the IdeaWorks as part of their 'Indiafrica: A Shared Future' programme with financial support from the public diplomacy division of the India's external affairs ministry."

[Google translation:] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'public diplomacy Conference Group' Advisory Council held To promote Korea in the World ', the academic group Public Diplomacy (Scholars Group for Public Diplomacy) to inquire - "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the first academic group (in Scholars Group for Public Diplomacy) 'public diplomacy' Advisory Council held the world in South Korea effectively to promote discussed ways of 'public diplomacy' academic group, which was launched last 1.29 domestic universities that are served on the 16 the phosphorus foreign scholars appointed public diplomacy refused honors (Honorary Envoy for Public Diplomacy) ※ configure the primary public Foreign Affairs of the Academic Advisory Group Outline Date and Location: 2013.5.14 (Tue) 10:00 to 13:30 the Lotte Hotel a total of 22 participants (people)."

Tourism partnership aims to attract an extra 9 million visitors a year - "VisitBritain’s GREAT activity for 2013/14 will seek to maintain the awareness and image boost created by London 2012. ... 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.- 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."

Is tourism the world's most destructive enterprise? - Elizabeth Becker. YaleGlobal, posted at "[F]ew would have guessed that Deng Xiaoping would be among tourism's early proponents. In late 1978, as he was preparing to consolidate power in China, Deng gave five "direction talks" on the central role tourism might play in China's reform movement. For Deng, tourism was a natural to earn China much-needed foreign cash - he predicted $10 billion a year by the new millennium, and China reached that goal in 1996. He viewed tourism as an effective way to flip negative impressions of China. While he didn't use the phrase 'public diplomacy', he set into place a system to create a state-controlled tourism sector that includes government-trained tourist guides extolling the joys of the open market and China. Deng even calculated that if China brought tourism to Tibet it could influence international opinion, ensuring that Tibet remained in China's orbit. He also rightly warned that pollution from rapid industrialisation could despoil the beautiful spots that would attract tourists."

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: May 13th: Culture, Globalization and “Green Dragons” in Boston - Benjudkins, Kung Fu Tea: "A number of news stories this week revolve around the cultural and diplomatic value of the traditional Chinese martial arts.  The first of these examines China’s very successful use of Kung Fu (and the Shaolin arts in particular) as tool of public diplomacy. Its not uncommon to find local business associations, or a branch of the Confucius Institute, sponsoring such displays in the west.

What we often forget is that the martial arts are also very much part of China’s public diplomacy when dealing with its eastern neighbors as well. The People’s Daily recently ran a good article on the subject.  It followed the progress of a Shaolin exhibition team from Henan as they performed during a ten day tour across Vietnam.  As one might expect, the monks were a big hit, but so was Chinese martial culture." Image from entry, with caption: Luc Bendza in front of a statue of Bruce Lee in Shanghai. Bendza immigrated to China to study Kung Fu over 30 years ago and is now a fixture in the local film industry.

public diplomacy [Google translation from Chinese] - "The title public diplomacy Chinese how to turn turn precision Correct and beautiful public diplomacy: Public (public) diplomacy I would like is that it references the dictionary and where the public should be done adjective. interpreted as ~ International ~ very commonly used ~ ~ Diplomacy of the public according to their the meaning of words turned to diplomacy together explanation as to international diplomacy to public diplomacy following URL listed in bold should be specialized terminology citizen diplomacy - OK, please refer to public policy texts in"

Public Diplomacy in Virtual Worlds - Micki  Krimmel, "The definition for public diplomacy is difficult to pin down, ranging from US-centric propaganda to a broader cultural awareness. The USC Center for Public Diplomacy hosts a wiki all about it. The games in this contest were asked to address public diplomacy in one or more of the following ways:   For U.S. games, as extensions of the U.S. brand and their role in shaping how the world sees the U.S. (for non-U.S. games their role as extensions of identity, image and brand of their respective country);   As online venues (or virtual worlds) in which people from different cultures come together and shape or form ideas about each other and their respective cultures;   The unique role that 'localization' plays in public diplomacy (How does framing a game for a community outside the game's country of origin play a role in its impact?);   Game Design: As public policy play tools that can be used to educate (not train) people about how different cultures work and/or function (e.g. Roleplay Kofi Annan or the President of Russia, etc.). ... The finalists ranged from virtual cultural exchange programs to strategy games about the Israel and Palestinian conflict or international water rights."

Summit diplomacy - carlacds, Diplomacy Old and New 2012a A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University: "[W]e have examples of public diplomacy that date back to the fifth century AD."

Now cometh crunch time - A Curmudgeon Back Home...for now (aka Sponge Bear/Kaminoge 物語): Enthusiastically jaded observations and occasional rants by an expatriate: "In less than a week I'll be taking my final Mandarin Chinese exam. ... It's safe to say I'm suffering from some serious exam anxiety. If I may rant, the way languages are taught at FSI [State Department Foreign Service Institute] remind of Taiwanese driving schools - at the latter, students aren't taught how to drive, they only learn what is needed to pass the unrealistic driving tests and thus get their driver's licenses (and then go out and kill themselves, and others, on the road). As for the exams themselves, they're structured more for political, economic or public diplomacy officers. I'm going to be a consular officer, where the biggest part of my job will be interviewing Chinese applicants and determining whether or not they're eligible for American visas. The test, however, will be asking me to give reports in Mandarin on topics such as gun control, nuclear weapons proliferation, human rights and so on. Which is most unfortunate because I actually didn't do too badly in the few consular classes I had in the Mandarin program."

Under the Shadows of the Levant: A Syrian Question - RuliHarahap, "About RuliHarahap[:] Political Science major in college and currently works in the digital content and mobile content industry. He’s been active in the PR industry since 2007 and has worked with both Corporate and Political/Government clients to handle both corporate and public diplomacy as well as crisis management. His interests include International Relations and Security Studies, Political Science, Military Science."

Wu, Yu-Shan - "Yu-Shan Wu is a full-time researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). ... Her research interests include emerging-country public diplomacy and the social implications of China-Africa relations." Blog Updates - "This page provides further updates to the main site pages of, with breaking news, brief analyses or extended versions of Twitter posts. The home site is currently under construction. Political scientist specializing in and/or commenting on International Relations, Global Media, Public Diplomacy, Strategic Studies and Irish Foreign Policy."


President Obama exercises a fluid grip on the levers of power - Philip Rucker and Peter Wallsten, Washington Post: In practice, Obama followed Bush’s lead when it came to executive power in fighting terrorism and other areas.

See also John Brown, "After the honeymoon: Electing Barack Obama president won't be enough to improve America's standing in the world," (Thursday 26 June 2008). Image from

Obama’s turn inward poses risk for U.S. interests abroad - Fred Hiatt,
During the Cold War, too, Americans fought bitterly over the size of the defense budget, the wisdom of interventions and the morality of supporting unsavory but friendly dictators. Over the decades the country made terrible mistakes overseas. But U.S. engagement and influence also helped to gradually open the world to more democracy and more prosperity. To reduce such engagement — to concentrate on “nation-building at home,” as Obama has put it — may seem the practical, hard-headed choice. But eventually the country always re-learns the lesson that as states such as Syria or Libya spin out of control, the danger is hard to contain.

The Clinton Legacy: How Will History Judge the Soft-Power Secretary of State? - Michael Hirsh, In his first term, Obama faced the daunting task of winding down two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He needed to contend with the reduction in U.S. leverage and prestige following the strategic mistakes and economic collapse of the Bush years. As a result, the administration was keen on emphasizing the “soft” diplomacy of U.S. image building and values promotion over “hard,” or coercive, diplomacy, which necessitates direct involvement in conflicts. Despite her frustrations with a White House that often did not heed her advice, Clinton elevated this effort to levels unseen in previous administrations.

Indeed, her most lasting legacy will likely be the way that she thrust soft diplomacy to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. By speaking out about Internet freedom, women’s rights, public health, and economic issues everywhere she went, Clinton sought to transcend traditional government-to-government contacts. She set out to create -- or at least dramatically expand in scope -- a new kind of people-to-people diplomacy, one designed to extend Washington’s influence in an Internet-driven world in which popular uprisings, such as the Arab Spring, could quickly uproot the traditional relationships between governments. Via LJB. Clinton image from

An Assault on Joseph Nye, Part Three: Keeping It Real - James Thomas Snyder, Only a very rich and powerful country like the United States can afford to be “soft” – that is, giving, charitable and big. Our allies enjoy American generosity and, quite contrary to their public portrayal, work hard to match it in their own ways. But our adversaries, at least at the government level, are not influenced by our generosity or charity. They do not understand it because they simply cannot, under any circumstances, afford to give something away without an equally valuable quid pro quo.

How foreign voices influence American wars - Danny Hayes, Washington Post: Recent research raises the intriguing possibility that Americans’ views about U.S. foreign policy can be influenced not just by the president and members of Congress – the elites from whom the public typically takes its cues – but also by the leaders of other nations and the United Nations. That might sound bizarre. Would Americans, often portrayed as parochial and insular (freedom fries, people), really take direction about U.S. foreign policy from the accented pronouncements of foreigners? Mon dieu! But a new book Influence from Abroad: Foreign Voices, the Media, and U.S. Public Opinion, says yes. Under some circumstances, international actors can influence whether Americans support U.S. military interventions.

Cause for hope -- and fear -- in Pakistan: Can new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif succeed? That will depend largely on whether he has the strength of will to resist the military and to confront radical Islamists - Peter Tomsen, There is reason for hope in Nawaz Sharif's victory in the recent Pakistani elections. Sharif, who has twice served as Pakistan's prime minister, has said he wants to build a more robust democracy, revive the country's shattered economy and end the military's 40-year domination of its politics. He has also promised to improve relations with India and take on the radical Islamist terrorism that has tormented Pakistan. The United States should assist him in every way possible to achieve those goals.

Syria Today: Pressure and Propaganda --- From the UN to Israel to Russia - James Miller, While the vast majority of the documented crimes implicate the regime, there maybe be growing trends that the most radical rebel groups are engaging in increasingly radical behavior.

Guardian’s Milne diligently promotes Assad propaganda -

The ridiculous propaganda of Anne Barnard on Syria - The Angry Arab News Service

China launches fifth TV propaganda on Tibet self-immolations - China Central Television (CCTV), China’s state television broadcast service, aired on May 16 evening a prime time news feature blaming what it calls the “Dalai clique” and foreign media for encouraging a spate of self-immolations in Tibet under its rule. The documentary is also to be aired in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian to the global audience. The documentary claims that the self-immolations that had taken place in Tibet were guided by a manual on the subject written by one Lhamo Je. It describes him as a two-term former member in the parliament of the “Dalai clique” and claims that he still has an important position in its "educational system."

Vietnamese activists on trial for 'propaganda' - Vietnam put two young activists on trial Thursday for spreading anti-state propaganda, in a case rights groups criticised as part of the regime's efforts to silence its critics. University student Nguyen Phuong Uyen, in her early 20s, and computer technician Dinh Nguyen Kha, 25, are accused of distributing anti-government leaflets, their lawyer Ha Huy Son said.

The west's hidden propaganda machine: Overt public manipulation is disavowed in the west, unlike in North Korea, but citizens are still 'nudged' – increasingly by social media - Eliane Glaser, Propaganda is obvious, crude and naive, but it's also subliminal, underhand and insidious. Its paradoxical definition is more than just a semantic curiosity. It represents our inability to get to grips with how we are influenced, and by whom.

Propaganda: Lies and distortion - Nick Higham, BBC News: Propaganda has a bad name. It is what repressive regimes use to glorify their leaders, motivate their citizens and demonise their enemies. It is about lies and distortion, manipulation and misrepresentation. But it is also, according to the British Library, about alerting people to the risks of disease, about making sure children learn how to cross the road safely and about building a perfectly legitimate sense of common purpose among the citizens of a democracy.

The library's new exhibition, Propaganda: Power and Persuasion, takes a broad definition of its subject. Ian Cooke, the exhibition's co-curator, defines it as any communication designed to change the way we think or to alter our behaviour. In one display case is a typewritten memo from newspaper baron Lord Northcliffe, a leading British propagandist of World War I, whose rules for successful propaganda include "What can be done by open means must not be done by occult means", "Lies are the least effective form of propaganda" and "Propaganda that looks like propaganda is third-rate propaganda." Image from entry

London’s top ten propaganda locations - Among them: 9. Bush House: Orwell was inspired to create both ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’s Ministry of Truth canteen and the terrifying Room 101 when working at for the BBC at Bush House in the 1940s. Home to the World Service throughout the cold war, the Aldwych block went on to achieve many anti-Soviet propaganda triumphs including successfully broadcasting details of the Chelsea Flower show into the USSR’s tyrannical political prison camps in 1948 and a 1988 radio phone-in to Russia featuring PM Margaret Thatcher that proved so popular it blew the fuses at Covent Garden telephone exchange.


Danger and Separation From Families Changing Job of U.S. Diplomats - Reuters, The State Department says there are about 1,100 U.S. foreign service officers now at posts abroad where they are unaccompanied or there are limits on who can accompany them - usually meaning no children. That is a five-fold increase in unaccompanied American diplomats over the past decade, and represents about 14 percent of U.S. foreign service officers serving overseas. The change began with "civilian surges" into the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan to help with stabilization and reconstruction. Over 400 unaccompanied diplomats are in those countries. The risks to diplomats are not all external. A 2007 State Department survey said 17 percent of employees who had served in dangerous posts indicated some symptoms similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder. The department, following the military's lead, has set up a program to help diagnose and treat PTSD in its employees.

Obama To Congress: Provide More Funds For Security At U.S. Embassies - Jennifer Bendery, Huffington Post: President Barack Obama called on Congress Thursday to "support and fully fund" his budget request for security at U.S. embassies, a move that puts the focus back on lawmakers and the role they can play in averting another attack like the one last year on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

Taxing Times for Obama - Maureen Dowd, Obama would never pull what Hillary pulled with her longtime aide Huma Abedin. Abedin was allowed, after the birth of her and Anthony Weiner’s son, to work part time as a top adviser in the State Department for $135,000 while also working as a consultant for private clients, some of whom had to be interested in her influence in the government. As Politico reported, the arrangement was similar to the way many of Hillary’s aides were paid while she was a senator: “They were compensated partly through work on her government staff, and partly through her political action committee.” And others would later land lucrative gigs at Clinton-friendly organizations.


Bus drivers top obese workers list; doctors tip lighter - Amy Langfield, USA Today: Transportation workers have a 36% obesity rate, the highest rate among 14 occupation groups measured by Gallup based on interviews with more than 139,000 American workers from Jan. 2 to Sept. 10, 2012.

For manufacturing and production workers, 30% are obese, followed by 28% of installation or repair workers and 26% of office workers. On the lighter end of the scale, 14% of physicians were obese, followed by 20% of business owners and 21 percent of teachers. Image from article

Hey, ladies, have we got a hunky guy ad for you - Bruce Horovitz, USA Today: The ad world's hottest trend: hot hunks. That's right, sexy guys — not gals — featured in racy TV spots. It's hunk-a-rama time in new or recent advertising from some of the nation's biggest brands. On Monday, one more will enter the fray — Diet Dr Pepper — in a 30-second commercial with a new, shirtless hunk who, with a wink, lays claim to being the hottest of all of his hunk predecessors.

Wearing nothing but tight denims, newcomer actor Josh Button emerges from the ocean onto the sand and boasts that he is "really, really, really, really — really good looking." The ad was created by the Los Angeles office of the ad agency Deutsch. Behind all the heat: cool. It's become culturally cool to feature hunky guys in ads, something even Kraft is doing with its Zesty line of salad dressing. After all, women still do most of the shopping — and advertisers are targeting them with these racy TV spots. It's all about getting folks to first notice the ad from among all the media clutter, and then share the ad via social media. Image from article, with caption: courtesy Dr. Pepper

The Health Toll of Immigration - Sabrina Tavernise, Becoming an American can be bad for your health. A growing body of mortality research on immigrants has shown that the longer they live in this country, the worse their rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

And while their American-born children may have more money, they tend to live shorter lives than the parents. The pattern goes against any notion that moving to America improves every aspect of life. It also demonstrates that at least in terms of health, worries about assimilation for the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants are mistaken. In fact, it is happening all too quickly. Image from article

Bug-phobic dread the looming swarm of Brood II cicadas - Darryl Fears [sic],Washington Post: The night started with one tiny click near the bedroom window.Then came another, and another, until a great oak beside Lori Milani’s South Arlington apartment was alive with an almost deafening roar of cicadas. “It sounded like a human being murdered,” Milani said, recalling her anxious reaction to the emergence of cicadas in 2004, when she shut herself inside for five weeks to avoid them. “I was really afraid they would come into the apartment.” For people like Milani, a graphic artist who struggles with her fear of bugs, the coming swarm of cicadas  — which were spotted as nearby as Fredericksburg last week — elicits a single response: Dread.

During the swarm of Brood X nine years ago, the largest of more than a dozen cicada populations that emerge in different years, Milani stocked up on rice and noodles, filled her freezer and became a recluse. Her summer communications design classes at Northern Virginia Community College that year? Dropped. “I think I’ve always had ... a huge fear of bugs, any kind of bugs,” said Milani, who would get no more specific than to say she is in her 20s and who started a blog, Cicadaphobia, to connect with others who share her feelings. “They just creep me out. I find them disgusting, anything with many legs. I don’t eat crab; I don’t eat shrimp. The cicadas are so huge, and there are so many of them.” Flying bugs such as cicadas are especially fearsome to people with entomophobia because they can be anywhere and come from any direction. Scientific evidence has linked the disorder to genes, said Sally Winston, co-director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland. Image from article, with caption:  Brood II is making its once every 17-year appearance above ground. Don’t blame the cicadas for the racket, they’re just looking for love.


A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries - Max Fisher, Washington Post


--Via FW on Facebook


--By Linda Arts, via ES on Facebook

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