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Diplomats to Kerry: Choose a career professional as next Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (full text of letter)
The Sweet Spot: Watching You Watching - New York Times:
"A. O. Scott and David Carr discuss privacy, surveillance and how we invite Big Brother into our lives." Image from entry
Letter highlights need for public diplomacy champion at State Department - "A group of influential retired diplomats urged the Obama administration to move carefully in filling a key State Department post focused on growing interactive programs with the citizens of America's allies and adversaries around the world. In a letter to Secretary of State John F. Kerry and National Security Adviser Thomas E. Donilon, 27 former ambassadors and other retired high-level diplomats called for the position of undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs to be filled by 'a career foreign affairs professional, with years of overseas and Washington experience.' A former official familiar with the letter said that its authors were not critical of Tara Sonenshine, a former executive vice president of the U.S. Institute of Peace, who has held the position since April 2012. But with Mrs. Sonenshine slated to step down in mid-July, longtime members of Washington's diplomatic corps were eager to point out that no one in the post over the past 15 years has been 'a career Foreign Service officer,' the former official said. See also: 37 Former Ambassadors Urge Appointment of a Career Diplomat to State Dept’s Public Diplomacy Bureau - Domani Spero, DiploPundit
U.S. Department of State Signs Interagency Film Agreement - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State: "Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine and Acting Chairman Carole Watson of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today signed an Interagency Agreement (IAA) that provides overseas embassies the right to use grant-funded films royalty-free. Under the IAA, NEH will require its 'America’s Media Makers' grant recipients to provide films free of any license fees, resulting in substantial cost savings to the Department. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) will coordinate with NEH-funded filmmakers to obtain films and other media used for diplomatic outreach conducted by embassies and consulates. Past NEH-funded films under the 'America’s Media Makers' grant program include PBS’ Dust Bowl, HBO’s civil rights drama The Loving Story, and American Public Media’s American Routes radio series. NEH’s grant program supports the production of an average of 12 major documentary films and multi-media projects each year."
DocuDiplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: “Nice work by PD Undersec Tara Sonenshine in creating a partnership between the National Endowment for Humanities and the State Dept to share historical documentaries at American spaces around the world. Such smart pd. Somewhere, Murrow looks down with a smile. Good public diplomacy and good luck.”
PD Undersec - Paul Rockower, Levantine: “Speaking of PD Undersec Sonenshine, although it is old news now, the news is that she is leaving her post this summer. That is such a shame. Out of all that have filled the position, I dare say she got it the best. Undersecretary Sonenshine understood that public diplomacy is about listening. Listening to your friends, your partners and your audience that you seek to engage. She got that better than any of her predecessors, and I imagine, any that will follow to fill the position. And she is leaving. Why? I am not privy to such conversations, but I can imagine. Probably strung along over questions of her place in a Kerry State Dept since she was appointed by the previous secretary. Mayhaps. Or maybe she was just tired after the strains of an unloved, overburdened position at State. PD remains the redheaded stepchild of the State Department, in part because it has no business being there. Public diplomacy is the antithesis of diplomacy.” Image from
Activist seeks complete ban on child labour in India - business-standard.com: "An Indian activist, who recently won a top American fellowship as an emerging leader, said she wants a complete ban on child labour in India. 'I plan to urge them (Indian Government), to pass the amendment to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act at the earliest to completely ban child labour, to ensure that children are able to lead a nutritious life free from hunger, to ensure that no birth in the country takes place without a skilled birth attendant, and that we successfully implement these recommendations at the earliest,' Shailey Hingorani said.
Hingorani, who currently works as National Coordinator for Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children based in New Delhi, early this month was felicitated by Tara Sonenshine, the US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. As we honour Hingorani's achievements, we recognise that while individuals can make great contributions, we have to work in partnership to meet the great challenges that face each of us and each of our countries, Soneshine had said." Image from
United States Institute of Peace holds inaugural HH Sheikha Fatima Lectureship - ameinfo.com: "The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) recently launched Her Highness (HH) Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Lectureship with an inaugural event on Thursday, May 9th. HH Sheikha Fatima Lectureship was established by USIP to recognize the role of women as peacebuilders, and will include one lecture per year for the next five years in order to foster a better understanding of the role women can play in the new era of global security and peace building. Kristin Lord, Executive Vice President at USIP, introduced Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of Twofour54 Abu Dhabi, at Thursday's inaugural lecture, 'Messengers of Peace'. The lecture addressed the various ways that women can advance peace through media, public diplomacy and film, and featured remarks by Noura Al Kaabi, who spoke about the importance of education and tolerance; her role as a UAE parliament member; and, about the UAE's progress in elevating the role of women. Joining Noura Al Kaabi, on the panel were, US Department of State Undersecretary Tara Sonenshine, filmmaker Abigail Disney, and Former Special Representative to the United Nations Margot Wallstrom. ... USIP is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. USIP works to save lives, increase the government's ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance our national security."
U.S. Media Advocates Warn Against Repression In South Sudan - United Nations Educational: "Tara Sonenshine may be the Under Secretary of Condition [sic] for Public Diplomacy and Public Matters in the US Department of Condition [sic]. She states that government authorities all over the world should make developing and supporting independent journalism a high priority. It requires work and assets and training and ethics as well as an enabling atmosphere. Just since you need an enabling atmosphere for economic growth or democratic transition, you’ll need an enabling atmosphere for media development, she stated. Its its very own development sector and that we havent always seen it in individuals terms. Sonenshine added that media freedom is not just important its necessary. Details are as fundamental in my experience as water and air because without them, you’re trapped, she stated."
U.S. criticizes Uganda media attack - Haggai Matsiko, independent.co.ug: "The U.S. on May.21 criticised the raid of two newspapers and closure of two other radio stations saying the disruptions, no matter the justifications offered, risk having a chilling effect on the freedoms of expression and speech enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution. We understand Ugandan security authorities searched and disrupted operations at several of Uganda’s leading media houses in response to the May 7 publication of a letter containing controversial comments by a Ugandan general on presidential succession in Uganda,' the U.S. Mission in Kampala noted. ... The U.S. statement added that United States values press freedom as a key component of democratic governance. U.S Under Secretary Tara D. Sonenshine said in her May 3 op-ed on World Press Freedom Day, journalists play a vital role in open and democratic societies. 'Too many political leaders around the world wrongly equate freedom of the press with a compromise in national security,' Sonenshine noted, 'In some countries, including Uganda, there is often a failure – from government and from citizens – to appreciate that a free and independent press is essential to building a transparent, well-informed, and engaged society.'”
How journalists lifted Africa at PFC in U.S. - ngrguardiannews.com: "Although they were abandoned when it mattered most, yet they proved to be worthy ‘ambassadors’ of the continent. The entry of the ten journalists from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda tagged ‘Africa Rising…’ emerged Best Overall at the Poster Show of the just-concluded Spring 2013 Professional Fellows Congress (PFC) in Washington, D.C., United States of America. A total of 93 entries were submitted for the contest with just five categories of awards on offer: Most Virtually Engaging; Most Thought Provoking; Best New Initiative or Idea; Best Covering Culture, Community, or Society; and the grand prize, Best Overall. The announcement of winners at the farewell session on Saturday, May 11 drew curtains on the four-day assembly. Specifically, the congress, which began on May 8, marked the culmination of the Professional Fellows Programme, which provided targeted professional development and support to emerging leaders working in the fields of Economic Empowerment, Legislative Process and Governance, as well as Media. It was designed to provide participants with a four-to-eight-week practical fellowship experience to broaden their professional expertise. Placed in private, non-profit and government offices across the United States, the Fellows learn about how issues in their respective fields are addressed in the U.S., interact with a broad network of professional colleagues, and develop a more nuanced understanding of Americans and American society. Coordinated by the Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) unit of the U.S. Department of State, the main objective of the programme is 'to increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries…and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations' (Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchanges Act of 1961). But with a total of 220 participants drawn from 44 countries and territories across the world, Media, out of the three thematic engagements, was least represented. ... As a key highlight of the four-day congress, seventh in the series, the Poster Show
has been designed as an opportunity for fellows to share their professional work and interests with other fellows and the State Department. ... Indeed, Africa was given a global mileage at the Show that lasted for three hours on Friday, May 10. The expansive ballroom on the second floor of the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, South Potomac Avenue, Arlington, Virginia suddenly became a bazaar as presenters explained the intrinsic elements of the posters to viewers comprising fellows, State Department staff and invited guests. ... Another significant segment of the Congress was the ‘Regional Briefing Panel Discussion with Questions and Answers’ featuring all Deputy Assistant Secretaries (Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs) of the six regions of the world represented at the congress. ... [Michael] Pelletier [Deputy Assistant Secretary at U.S. Department of State] was first to speak and he reiterated ... actions that drive the relationship between the U.S. and the continent of Africa. ... Responding, however, to question on perceived altercation in the information flow between the U.S. and Nigeria which has lately led to what this reporter termed ‘discordant tune’ on certain issues, with emphasis on the ‘controversial President Obama’s proposed visit to Nigeria’, Pelletier said, 'this issue of discordant tune to my mind is the question of really getting down to the real information, and real primary source of information. First of all, in terms of the President’s travel schedule, there is no information from the White House, what you are reading is rumour. When you want to know where the President is going, you contact the White House through its interactive website to find out the real news. And it is important not to make judgment or expectation based on media report.' ... On the refusal of the U.S. government to declare Boko Haram Movement Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) in spite of the threat the activities of the group pose to global peace and security, Pelletier said, 'We have named three of the leaders of Boko Haram movement as being responsible for all attacks that have taken place in the country since 2009, and we are working with Nigerian government very much to address the violence Boko Haram has caused.' " Image from entry
America Blames Nigerian Govt Officials For Boko Haram Insurgency! - NewsAdmin, thestreetjournal.org: "While many Nigerians continue to wonder why the President of the United States again chose not to visit the country during his tour of three African countries, a report released in the United States on Monday blamed Nigerian government officials over the Boko Haram insurgency that has shaken the country for some years now. The damning revelation was contained in the International Religious Freedom Report for 2012. ... Below is a full text of the summary of the report: Executive Summary [:] ... The Department of State, our missions abroad, and especially the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, leverage the various tools of the U.S. government to promote and protect religious liberty around the world. Led in these efforts by the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, we use bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, public diplomacy, reporting, CPC designations, and foreign assistance programming to assist members of religious minorities, increase societal respect for religious freedom, highlight abuses, and monitor and combat anti-Semitism."
U.S. Policy and Programs in Support of International Religious Freedom - Fact Sheet, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State: "The Department of State, our missions abroad, and especially the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, leverage the various tools of the U.S. Government to promote and protect religious liberty around the world. Led in these efforts by the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Suzan Johnson Cook and the new Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ira Forman, we use bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, public diplomacy, reporting, Countries of Particular Concern designations, and foreign assistance programming to urge greater respect for religious freedom for all, assist members of religious minorities, increase societal respect for religious freedom, highlight abuses, and monitor and combat anti-Semitism."
Imams Visit Auschwitz, Nazi Death Camp, Pray For Holocaust Victims - Jaweed Kaleem, Huffington Post: "Muslim leaders from across the globe paid tribute Holocaust victims this week during a visit to Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp, where they prayed at the Wall of Death for those who were killed by genocide and suffered under violent anti-Semitism.
The imams, who hailed from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bosnia, Palestine, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey and the United States, performed Islamic prayers while facing Mecca as part of a Holocaust awareness visit organized in part by the International Religious Freedom office of the U.S. State Department. ... The visit, which runs through Friday, is scheduled to include a tour of
US: John Kerry names Ira Forman as new Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism - Yossi Lempkowicz, European Jewish Press: "US Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday the appointment of Ira Forman as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. ...
The State Department said Special Envoy Forman’s first act will be to join a group of imams to visit the site of the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz." Image from article, with caption: Ira Forman, who was appointed the new Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism has led President Obama’s reelection campaign in the Jewish community.
Olympians Use Sports To Make A Difference - Amy Rosewater, teamusa.org: "For the first time since the U.S. Department of State has held a Global Diaspora Forum in Washington, D.C., sports were a part of the overall discussion. Based on the response from the panel today, which featured [Michelle] Kwan, Ihedigbo [James Ihedigbo of the Baltimore Ravens] and U.S. Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi, there’s a good chance sports will remain on the docket. ... The goal of the forum was to provide a platform for prominent American figures to share their stories of diaspora, which is the mass migration of a group of people from the homeland, and to share suggestions to help others to connect with the countries of their heritage.
According to the State Department, representatives from 35 states and more than 100 countries attended the forum, which attracted nearly 600 registrants. Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist and five-time world champion figure skater, shared her stories growing up as a Chinese American. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong. Keflezighi, a three-time Olympian, talked about his youth in Eritrea and becoming a star marathoner in the United States. And Ihedigbo, born in Massachusetts to Nigerian immigrants, told about the HOPE Africa Foundation, which he founded in 2008 to support education efforts in Africa. ... Kwan, 32 and recently married, is seven years removed from her competitive skating career. Today she is a senior advisor for public diplomacy and public affairs for the Department of State. She also serves on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and is on the Board of Directors of Special Olympics International." Image from article, with caption: Michelle Kwan (center) and Mebrahtom Keflezighi (right) pose with James Ihedigb of the Baltimore Ravens.
Advice to Secretary Kerry: Talking is Not the Same as Communicating - Adam Clayton Powell III, PD News–CPD Blog, USC center Public Diplomacy: "WASHINGTON – The ability to talk is not the same as the ability to communicate. That was the advice from USC’s Nicholas Cull at a public diplomacy conference here. Asked what advice he would give to the new Secretary of State, Cull said he would first ask a question: 'What’s possible? Am I going to waste my time talking [about projects that can never see the light of day]?' Cull said Kerry needs to reverse a basic U.S. policy that is almost fifteen years old."
Border Theories and the Realities of Daily Public Exchanges in North America - Manuel Chavez: isn.ethz.ch: "Despite being friendly neighbors, the three North American countries engage in complex and interdependent activities that go beyond institutional and official contexts
such as trade, energy, environment and security; in fact, the richness of the interaction is due to the intensity of social, cultural and familial relations as constantly presented by the media. ... [A]s nations interact actively with their neighbors across common borders, conflicts, misunderstandings and stereotypes can be reduced as governments use the media to influence positive public opinion with a model called public diplomacy." Image from entry
U.S. Broadcasting Affected by Obama Administration Culture of Intimidation - Helle Dale,
blog.heritage.org: "The Obama Administration’s 'culture of intimidation,' as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) has called it, has affected the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). In a power grab that is as outrageous as it is brazen, the Obama Administration is proposing to replace the only remaining Republican and one of the few members of the BBG who cares enough to take an active role on the BBG, Victor Ashe.
The consequence, for one thing, will be a severe imbalance on the bipartisan board in favor of the Democrats. Secondly, employees of Voice of America and the other
The Executive Arm of the Invisible Government - Burkeley Hermann, nationofchange.org: "Usually when propaganda is talked about it is either emanating from the corporate mass media, covert operations or otherwise. But with the recent changes to the Smith–Mundt Act, which specifies which global audiences will receive US propaganda officially called 'public diplomacy,' the dissemination ban on distributing this information domestically was eliminated. Those outlets affected by this act and other similar ones must be discussed. The reason for this, is that information from such government outlets is either white or gray propaganda. ... I would like to see the grey propaganda outlets included in the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Defense Media Activity that are set up for sinister purposes to help the power elite abolished along with all of the white propaganda outlets integrated into the US government. However, I do not think that will happen. Rather, I believe that it is better to build a new consciousness against these organizations, pushing for freedom of speech and press, working to build existing alternative news media in whatever way works for you."
Manufacturing the Manufacturing of Consent - Patrick Iber, patrickiber.blogspot.com: Review of books that pertains in part to public diplomacy, propaganda and the United States Information Agency.
Spanish book festival LéaLA aims to further cultural communication: The sponsors of the largest Spanish-language literary fest in the U.S. have ambitious plans to expand the ties between Southern California and Mexico - Reed Johnson, latimes.com: "Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a large delegation of Mexican dignitaries, will be at the L.A. Convention Center on Friday morning to help launch the third annual 'LéaLA Feria del Libro en Español de Los Ángeles.' The literary festival, which extends through Sunday, showcases Spanish-language books across many genres and includes children's activities and theatrical and musical presentations as well as readings and discussions.
An audience that could reach 100,000 will be exposed to hundreds of authors (mostly Spanish-language, but a few English-language), and scores of publishers." Image from article, with caption: Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, who died a year ago, will be honored at LéaLA Feria del Libro en Español de Los Ángeles.
A Matter of Diplomacy - Chandra. Fernando Educational Consultant, USAlankaweb.com: "From the time of his appointment at the height of the conflict, Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya has worked tirelessly to create an environment of goodwill and openness, hospitality, and warmth in all his dealings with US officials, the American public, and his own countrymen and women. He and his hard working staff have had to deal with constant disruptions and a never-ending stream of negative publicity inflicted by the Pro-LTTE Diaspora. ... Ambassador Wickramasuriya, from the beginning organized numerous meetings and events, to present his government’s plans for reconciliation after a long-standing conflict. One such event was a gathering of about 100 Sri Lankan American professionals from across the US that met with members of Congress and their aides in a series of one-on-one meetings on Capitol Hill. It was a dynamic project, which proved to be very successful. The US officials were glad to receive another point of view of the conflict other than the propaganda of the Pro-LTTE elements. I have never seen such an effective exercise in public diplomacy. It was certainly the first time such an event was held by the Washington Embassy. When the Foreign Minister came to meet the US Secretary of State in Washington, Ambassador Wickramasuriya and his staff arranged several meetings with congressional leaders, and business and civic leaders. Among the highlights of the trip was an eloquent speech that the Minister delivered at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Relations to an audience of academics and US officials. ... The Ambassador has addressed groups of young American professionals, college students, and entrepreneurs interested in investing in Sri Lanka. He has promoted tourism, orchestrated business forums between the two countries, and organized numerous trade delegations to Sri Lanka. He has set in motion, various bilateral initiatives between the US and Sri Lanka."
Past differences hamper US-Russian efforts to help Syria - "Public diplomacy analysts say a difference in perceptions dating back to the Cold War era could hamper U.S. and Russian efforts to deal with the ongoing civil war in Syria. Heritage Foundation senior fellow Helle Dale said there is a 'love-hate' relationship between the United States and Russia that is 'quite complicated.' On VOA's Encounter program, Dale said she agrees with an Obama administration official who told her that Cold War-era differences between the two countries are straining relations today. 'This official said we work along the assumption that the Cold War is over. We are past that here in the United States. The Russians - they behave as though it’s still on,' she said. Dale said these apparent differences are affecting U.S.-Russian efforts to organize a possible peace conference for Syria in June."
5 obstacles to peace in Syria - Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti: "Ten months after the bloodshed in Syria was formally recognized as a civil war by the Red Cross, Moscow and Washington are finally working together to end it, at least in terms of public diplomacy. The plan is to hold a conference – tentatively scheduled for June – where the Syrian regime and the opposition would negotiate, work out a transitional government and reroute the war into a political settlement.
But a similar plan was actually approved by both sides and a handful of international players at a conference in Geneva last year – and died in gunfire within weeks because nobody stuck to it. Will it really work better this time? RIA Novosti contacted leading Russian experts on the Middle East who spelled out five problems that stand between Syria and peace. - The regime fears a purge ... - The mujahedeen want no compromise ... - The moderates are weak and fractured ... - Iran and Hezbollah need Assad ... - How will passions be cooled?" Image from article, with caption: The intensity and nature of the violence in Syria has become, in one analyst’s words, “medieval.”
Russia's "popularity" in the West - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: [T]he 2012 Transatlantic Trends survey ... emphasiz[es] the declining popularity of Russia in the West. ... So should the Russians (or any others) simply give up on the attempt to change these deeply-ingrained attitudes and negative perceptions? That would be wrong. But pumping money into supposed public diplomacy projects such as Russia Today or covert PR campaigns ... wouldn't help much either.
On the contrary, credibility and trust must lie in the foundation of such efforts. And although cultural diplomacy and education can play an important role in bringing about trust, sprinkling unfriendly foreign policies with pretty cultural performances or educational centers - such as China's Confucius Institutes that the piece refers to - is not the answer, either. ... [W]hat countries need to be working on, especially the likes of Russia and China, which are currently posing a perceived 'threat' to the West ... [is] [l]ong-term, sustained public diplomacy of deed." Image from article, with caption: Chart from Key Findings of the 2012 Transatlantic Trends Survey. See also.
When the “Sleeping Dragon” Dreams - Di Wu, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: By injecting the touch of humanity and softness into Chinese anticipations of the future, the 'Chinese dream' tries to deliver a message that we (including Chinese, Americans, and others) are similar dream seekers. But the Chinese obviously have a different dream than the U.S. with its Western values. The American dream is about valuing individual dreams, while the Chinese dream is about building the nation. We are the same yet we are different. How does this message translate into Chinese nation branding and public diplomacy? It may not be the intention of the Chinese government to communicate their dream to the international community, but it will eventually become one of the pillars defining Chinese public diplomacy activities overseas since it guides the domestic agenda. ... It is ... not a good idea to echo the 'American dream' since it has ready taken roots in people’s minds. The 'American dream' is an immigration dream about acceptance and freedom. The Chinese version obviously has a totally different story. In terms of nation branding, isn’t it better to create one unique term that better represents the Chinese nation?"
What are the Main Factors Limiting the Power of the United States in World Politics? - Guy Walford, e-ir.info: "The effects of the rise of China on US economic power are therefore twofold; not only is the emergence of China providing the US with an economic rival around the globe, limiting US influence, but the huge American currency reserve that China has amassed gives China a large amount of power over the US. The US increasingly has to take into account Chinese interests when acting abroad – and this necessarily hinders their influence, and thus power. ... China’s increase in soft power is not entirely coincidental, and simply based on their economic breakthrough. China has recently sought a much greater interest in developing their public diplomacy, in order to harness greater soft power, and develop a more positive world image (Wang, 2005:258). In a broad attempt to get the rest of the world to accept China’s rise to power, they have begun to involve considerable resources into developing their soft power – for instance by training thousands of Chinese language teachers at Confucius institutes around the globe (Wang, 2005:264). China is making impressive steps to integrate itself in to the world as a peaceful, diplomatic front-runner, and its concentration on soft power in recent years is eating into America’s ability to strongly influence the rest of the world with its culture."
The 14 New Faces On The 2013 Forbes Most Powerful Women List - Kelly Appleton, forbes.com: "[N]otable newcomers from across the Pacific include Peng Liyuan (No. 54), the second wife of new leader Xi Jinping, and who’s lauded as China’s most public first lady since Madame Mao. Peng is part of the recently reinstated Public Diplomacy Association, an organization tasked with making China’s policies, and people, more appealing abroad. So far, she’s been a success: in March, she toured alongside her husband on his first presidential trip abroad to Russia and Africa and was credited with humanizing the Communist regime."
By car from Shanghai to Hamburg [Google translation] - hgerman.china.org.cn: "On 26 May starts the 'New Silk Road Rally 2013' in Shanghai. Then Chinese car lovers will go in 56 days through eight countries along the Silk Road to Hamburg. Initiator and organizer of the rally, Liu Guosheng, founder of travel company CTH China Tours Hamburg GmbH Beijing Review has spoken to him about the event. ... [Q:] From whichever side you get support for the organization? [A:] The city governments of Hamburg and Shanghai both
lay great importance to the event. You will find that our rally on diplomatic context of international friendship is. Lars Anke, head of the Hamburg Liaison Office in Shanghai, and his deputy, Pan Hua take care of the preparation of this project and have provided us with many valuable suggestions. There were also a lot of support from the leaders of the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the Shanghai Public Diplomacy Association." Image from entry
Ties ‘facing public opinion challenge’: India, China agree to set up a media forum to address misconceptions - thehindu.com: "In the joint statement issued in New Delhi on Tuesday after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, India and China acknowledged the increasingly influential role played by media in both countries in driving the relations. Both countries, the statement said, had agreed to set up a 'High-Level Media Forum' to enhance media exchanges. The idea behind the forum, Indian and Chinese officials say, is to try and address misperceptions. ... On Monday, several Chinese State media commentaries issued to coincide with Mr. Li’s visit argued that public diplomacy was one of the biggest challenges facing the relationship, whether in dealing with the boundary dispute or addressing 'ill-conceived preconceptions' in both countries. '[The border] is a complex issue, and it will be difficult to resolve, especially in the spotlight of public nationalism in both countries,' argued Hua Junduo, a former Ambassador to India, in a commentary published in the official China Daily. The Global Times, too, struck an unusually sober tone — perhaps to coincide with the Premier’s visit — in an editorial on Monday, acknowledging that 'ill-conceived preconceptions' in China had led to a lack of understanding about India. It said China needed to do more to boost ties with India, including in terms of public diplomacy initiatives."
Talks at what cost? - thefridaytimes.com: "No amount of public diplomacy will take India-Pakistan relations to normalcy in the absence of a new approach towards the causes of an extremely hostile Indian public opinion of Pakistan."
Bulgaria’s socialist party asks President to stop all appointments of ambassadors - focus-fen.net: "The Council on foreign policy and public diplomacy with the National Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) insists for President Rosen Plevneliev to stop all appointments of ambassadors of the Republic of Bulgaria abroad. 'It is politically incorrect to make such moves few days before the establishment of a new government,' the press office of the BSP said.
'The appointment ambassadors, proposed by the interim government proposed by the president, contradicts the major principle of balance between the institutions,' the position of the BSP says further."
Cultural diplomacy discussed: TURKSOY organized a panel discussion Wednesday on cultural diplomacy and new initiatives in international relations - worldbulletin.net: "Panel discussion titled 'Cultural diplomacy and new initiatives in international relations' was held at International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) in cooperation with Eurasia Economic Relations Association (EkoAvrasya) and Ankara Political and Economic Studies Center (ASEM) on Wednesday. Deputy Secretary General of TURKSOY Firat Purtas pointed out the organization conducts many cultural activities in a number of countries and added TURKSOY was exactly an organization of cultural diplomacy. 'Cultural diplomacy helps countries express themselves more clearly and understand the others better,' said Purtas adding 'That is how they establish confidence and the interaction starts between countries.'"
Africa: On the Occasion of Africa Day: Turkey's vision of Africa - Bekir BOZDAĞ, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey - allafrica.com: Bozdağ: "We have moved beyond the Policy of Opening Towards Africa and in this year, the fourth period has begun. The new period is called as 'Africa Partnership Policy'. The goals of our Africa Partnership Policy are as following: to contribute to the establishment of peace and stability in Africa continent, to assist African countries in their political, economic and social development; in this aim to provide outright support in fields of politics, economy, trade, humanitarian aid, re-construction, security, public diplomacy and mediation; to contribute to the development of African resources for the benefit of African people; to improve bilateral relations on the basis of equal partnership and mutual benefits."
Climate change threatens Gulf monarchies' survival - dw.de: "Qatar-based author Mari Luomi says the Persian Gulf monarchies will have to change to be sustainable in the era of climate change. But reaping the benefits of the fossil fuel economy has blinded most of them to that. ... [Q:] Why are Qatar and Abu Dhabi the states that have been branding themselves as 'green?
[Mari Luomi:] These states have small national populations and high oil and gas export revenues per capita, which leaves them with an ampler margin to spend on diversification, branding, public diplomacy and image." Image from article
Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher - Rabbi Alana Suskin, peacenow.org: Alpher: "The Netanyahu government is pathologically preoccupied with the need to improve Israel's image, yet without dealing with the root cause of its growing international isolation. Just last week we say how it countered the decision by British physicist Stephen Hawking to boycott next month's Jerusalem Conference because of the Palestinian issue: by reminding Hawking, as if that were relevant, how dependent he is personally on Israeli high-tech inventions. In general, Israeli 'hasbara' or public diplomacy seems to think it can rectify Israel's image by reciting the country's many high-tech, agricultural and intellectual accomplishments. The guiding principle appears to be: talk about anything but the occupation and its disastrous consequences for all concerned, while hastening settlement construction that makes the situation even more intractable. (Not that I condone Hawking's boycott; it is ill-informed and counter-productive.)"
Why is no Israeli minister in charge of relations with Diaspora Jews? The broken-up Diaspora affairs portfolio, traditionally manned by governmental neophytes, has had its responsibilities split up between hard-right hawks. Peacenik Jews of the world, don't hold your breath for any change - Anshel Pfeffer, haaretz.com: "There is no hasbara minister in this government, but the function still officially exists within the polyglot ministry awarded to Netanyahu's loyal acolyte, former Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, the minister of strategic and intelligence affairs responsible for international relations.
Apparently Steinitz is taking this very seriously and has already announced that he will lead the campaign against 'delegitimization' of Israel around the world. The first sign of this was his attempt Sunday to take a tiny part in presenting the Mohammed al-Dura report, which disputed a French report from 2000 that appeared to show the death of a Palestinian boy. ... [T]he Diaspora affairs minister is not responsible for the fight for Israel's legitimacy, an issue which deeply involves Jews around the world. ... So the responsibility for Israel's connection with Jews resides nowhere, and everywhere, split between half a dozen government departments and agencies. One thing that all the ministers with any involvement in Diaspora affairs have in common is that all of them – Bennett, Elkin, Landver, Steinitz (and Lieberman, when he's around) -- come from the hard-right ideological wing of the government. If peacenik Diaspora Jews are waiting for a government minister who believes in a two-state solution to address them, they are in for a long wait." Image from article, with caption: The responsibility for Israel's connection with Jews is split between half a dozen departments and agencies. On the al-Dura report, see more at
'Israel Under Fire' Slogan Harmed Israeli Tourism - tourism-review.com: "Israel’s head of Tourism Ministry's marketing team stated that the term 'Israel Under Fire', which was coined and frequently used by Israeli government officials during 'Operation Pillar of Defense' in November 2012, has had disastrous consequences on Israeli tourism, effects that are still being felt today.
Oren Drori publicly addressed the widespread use and propagation of the term 'Israel Under Fire' at a recent conference on public diplomacy at Haifa University in Israel. He stated that the term had caused serious and potentially long lasting damage to Israeli Tourism, effects that may continue to be felt for many months to come." Image from article
Thanks to Kuperwasser al-Dura report, truth is on its way - Philippe Karsenty, Jerusalem Post: "One day or another, Israel will face another lie, another blood libel or other false accusations during military operations. Israel was not prepared for this war, and Israel lost. Since the creation of the State of Israel, Arabs, with the complicity of some Western countries, have tried to destroy this tiny nation by open warfare. They failed. Then they tried terrorism. In the end, that also failed. So, they turned to media war – and here, unfortunately, they succeeded. The result is that now, the wars Israel wins on the ground, while respecting international laws and treaties, are lost on the media battlefield, and then in the diplomatic arena. The official Israeli [Kuperwasser al-Dura] report, which was issued on Sunday, shows a turning point in the Israeli authorities’ state of mind: they decided to fight for their good name. This is good news, and will be effective only if they are able to analyze their mistakes and draw conclusions in order not to repeat past mistakes."
Olmert: W. Bank policies behind bad int'l press: Former PM says public diplomacy hurt by presence in territories, "while millions of Palestinians live there without equal rights" - Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post: "The government is at fault for its own negative image in the international press because of its policies in the West Bank, former prime minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday.
'I think it is inarguable that Israel’s main problem isn’t public diplomacy; it’s first of all a policy problem,' Olmert said. 'We won’t be able to convince the world we’re right unless our reality changes.'" Olmert image from article
Helping the shills/trolls - davidicke.com: "Hasbara refers to the propaganda efforts to improve Israel's image abroad, to justify its actions, and defend it in world opinion. It is a public diplomacy effort undertaken by Israeli government officers, or individuals in target countries (public or private efforts; group or individual efforts). Israel portrays itself as fighting on two fronts: against the Palestinians/Arabs and world opinion. The latter is dealt with hasbara. The premise of hasbara is that Israel's problems are a matter of better propaganda, and not one of an underlying unjust situation."
The culpability of Zionist leaders: The struggle for Israel’s national conscience, waged by its leaders to avoid accountability and block international support for Palestinian refugees’ right of return, has reached a critical juncture - Adel Safty, Gulf News: "[I]it was the group of Israeli scholars, collectively known as the new historians (Benny Morris, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev and others) who, some 30 years ago, examined Israeli cabinet and army documents and reached ... conclusions about the responsibility of Israeli leaders for the expulsion and the refugee problem.
'Above all, let me reiterate,' wrote Morris: 'The refugee problem was caused by attacks by Jewish forces on Arab villages and towns and by the inhabitants’ fear of such attacks, compounded by expulsions, atrocities and rumours of atrocities and by the crucial Israeli Cabinet decision in June 1948 to bar a refugee return.' Last week, on the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, Shay Hazkani published a lengthy article, examining the role played by the first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, in the creation of the propagandistic rational to shield Israel from responsibility for the refugee problem. He states that most historians who examined the evidence argue that Ben-Gurion knew about the expulsion of Palestinians and authorised it when asked. He was also instrumental in the creation of a national consensus supportive of the propaganda euphemistically called public diplomacy. ... Twenty years later, Morris reached the same conclusion." Image from article
Kennedy’s insistence on right of return prompted Ben-Gurion to rewrite history: They fled ‘of their own free will’ - Philip Weiss "Incredible piece of reporting on the Nakba at 'Haaretz' from Shay Hazkani, and meaningful at many levels. It shows what the scholar Victor Kattan has documented, that several
Beyond Conflicts, the Arab World’s Other Challenges - Philip Seib, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Two years after the 'Arab Spring,' people are finding that change can be difficult to manage. ... During this time of uncertainty, people are likely to be looking for ways to take on more responsibility for their own lives. Public diplomacy programs can foster entrepreneurship, expand educational opportunities, improve grass roots journalism, and address other issues that are more within the purview of individual citizens rather than governments. But nothing will be easy."
HCM City voters worried about rising crime - VietNamNet Bridge: "Regarding the East Sea, HCM City people suggested the state to take more drastic moves, step up public diplomacy, firmly maintain maritime sovereignty, enhance budget for national security, promote marine economic development and give more support for fishermen. The maritime patrol force should be organized in time to protect property and life for fishermen."
Culture Posts: Who is the Public in Public Diplomacy? - R.S. Zaharna, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Over the past decade there has been a near universal surge of interest in public diplomacy. Yet, as more nations venture into the PD realm it is becoming increasingly clear that understandings of PD concepts and practices are anything but universal. One area where different views are emerging is the role of the public. Who is the 'public' in public diplomacy? Not long ago the answer was so obvious that the question was not even asked. Today, we need to ask such basic questions. It is not just that nations may see public diplomacy differently. It is also likely that their publics see it differently as well. ... In several Asian and African countries, the domestic as well as diaspora publics assume a prominent and even foundational role in the nation’s PD initiatives. ... The most important, or privilege relation is the domestic public.
The domestic public is followed by the diaspora, then the close regional or affinity publics, then the geographical or ideological distant publics to ultimately the generic global public. The foreign public is the most distant public. From this perspective, as Ellen Huijgh described it: 'Successful public diplomacy begins at home.' ... An expanded vision of 'the public' may be one of the keys to developing a more effective, global approach to public diplomacy." Image from entry
Why a 'World Leader Twitter Directory'? - Piccola Bee, yenidiplomasi.com: "We are entering an exciting new phase of human relations. Due to significant advances in the Internet and ‘Social Media,’ such as Twitter, governments and government representatives from across the globe can now communicate more fully and directly with one another and their constituents, without being mis- or re-interpreted by third parties in the media. This ‘Brave New Era of Diplomatic Dialogue’ is now most commonly referred to as #eGovernment and #DigitalDiplomacy. Further, and perhaps more importantly, citizens can also directly and dynamically interact with their representatives at all levels of government.
Third, citizens – We The Tweeple — can also more easily engage in what is formally referred to as ‘Citizen Diplomacy’, i.e. communicating with one another across cultures, nations, and geography. That is to say, Social Media facilitates more robust and direct two-way dialogues between more of us and among more of us than has been previously possible. Indeed, in its own way, the New Social Media, have the potential of restoring a more direct form of Democracy such as the one that existed in the Agora of Ancient Greece. Just like any tool, however, the emerging ‘Social Media,’ are only as useful as we choose to make them. The New Social Media, and how we use of them, has the potential of improving transparency of governments, of enhancing democracy, and of improving human understanding across cultures through dialogue and discovery. ... I simply and sincerely hope the information contained within the 'World Leader Twitter and Web Directory' is useful to my fellow citizens wishing to more fully engage in public diplomacy on our precious planet. Useful Links:
World Leader Twitter and Web Directory: http://worldleadertwitterdirectory.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/world-leader-twitter-web-directoryv252.pdf
World Leader Twitter Directory Spreadsheets: http://worldleadertwitterdirectory.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/worldleadertwitterwebspreadsheets5.xlsx
World Leader Twitter Directory on Google Drive: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag46wjpztZ4ddDhWeGZXblVFMHA4Mjc0QXduUzU4bHc&usp=sharing" Image from entry
The Global Great Game and Dialogue through Nongovernmental Actors - Raffaele Marchetti, resetdoc.org: "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."
A Den of Iniquity - BooMan, - boomantribune.com: "Mr. Waller is currently the provost of The Institute of World Politics. ... According to its mission statement, the school develops leaders in the intelligence, national security, and diplomatic communities, while teaching the ethical exercise of statecraft. The curriculum emphasizes more arcane elements of statecraft, including: counterintelligence; counterpropaganda; economic statecraft and warfare; information operations; political warfare; and public diplomacy."
[C]raigslist Founder Craig Newmark and TheRahr Foundation Launch the "VeteransCharity Challenge" on CrowdRise to RaiseFunds for Veterans, Military Family Groups - crowdsourcing.org:
"In honor of Memorial Day, craigslist founder Craig Newmark and The Rahr Foundation launched the 'Veterans Charity Challenge' to raise funds for nonprofit organizations benefiting veterans and their military families. ... Launched in March 2011, craigconnects is Craig Newmark 's personal,Web-based initiative to support philanthropy and public service. The initiative spotlights individuals, organizations, and agencies working for veterans and military families, open government, public diplomacy, back-to-basics journalism, consumer protection, and technology for the common good."
Youth Development - sesfar.com: "SESFAR’S Youth Leadership Project is an ambitious initiative of public diplomacy, sports diplomacy, cross-cultural exchange, in-country grassroots projects and international cooperation. The project consists of three phases which include • Youth leadership and development training • Youth recreational sport programming • Youth tolerance training."
A State-Approved, State Department Post - Ariana Guy, William and Mary: "We visited the Department of State the same day we went to Health and Human Services; but I didn’t write about them in the same blog because I have absolutely no concept of space and time. Just kidding! Actually, the following information had to be approved by State Department officials, which took a while; but makes this blog even cooler, in my opinion. Prepare yourselves for a state-approved, internationally-accepted piece of writing … if you can. ... After learning about the Operations Center, we experienced a wonderful presentation from a State Department panel organized by the Chief of Staff of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Sarah King with Adnan Kifayat, Deputy Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Heather Lanigan, Office of Middle East Transitions, and Jason Starr ’06, Iran Officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
Around the Secretary of State’s conference table, the panel discussed the impressive cultural exchange programs organized through the Department of State that include nearly 100,000 participants each year, as well as the important global connections the US fosters via public diplomacy. We at the W and M DCSI were particularly interested in State Department policies on the 'frontier' of public diplomacy—programs that seek to engage with the public in nations such as Iran and Venezuela. The panel was candid, enlightening, and extremely insightful towards the W and M DCSI’s goal to elucidate the complex inner workings of US security policy." Guy image from entry
Promotion, Trade and Public Diplomacy Officer at the Embassy - vesti-novine.com: "The Embassy of Sweden in Belgrade is one of about 100 Swedish embassies and consulates in the world. One main task which permeates all work at the Embassy, is supporting the Serbian accession to the EU. This work includes promoting Swedish interests and contributing to increased trade and cultural exchange between Sweden and Serbia. Public diplomacy is becoming an ever more important tool in the Embassy work. An active and well-handled presence in social media is a precondition for positive results."
For Obama’s Global Vision, Daunting Problems - Mark Landler and Mark Mazzetti, New York Times: From the grinding civil war in Syria and the extremist threat in Yemen to the toxic American relationship with Pakistan and the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan with no clear sense of what comes afterward, there are a multitude of hurdles to Mr. Obama’s goal of taking America off “perpetual war footing.”
One of the most daunting is a sprawling wartime bureaucracy that, after nearly a dozen years, has amassed great influence and has powerful supporters on Capitol Hill. It will be difficult to roll back what has been a gradual militarization of American foreign policy, even in an era of budget cuts for the Pentagon. Another problem with this new focus is that the administration cut the budget of the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development by 6 percent, to $47.78 billion, from $51 billion in the current year, reflecting the broader budget squeeze. The impact of those cuts is even greater since there are increases of $1.5 billion for additional security personnel and upgrades to embassies and other diplomatic buildings. Still, to the extent Mr. Obama’s vision is realized, it would radically reorder the power centers in Washington: emboldening the State Department, gradually refocusing the C.I.A. on traditional intelligence gathering, and handing primary responsibility for lethal operations to the Pentagon. Image from
Drone program had largely run its course: By the time President Obama announced the new limits, the campaign had been scaled back sharply, because of criticism and waning targets - Ken Dilanian, latimes.com: Concern has been expressed by notable U.S. figures, including former Gen. Stanley McChrystal and former CIA Director Michael Hayden, that the program's strategic value was waning. Its success in killing mid-level terrorists is now outweighed by the hatred it evokes in Muslim countries, they and others say.
A new response in the war on terror: President Obama's speech on drone strikes and Guantanamo suggests movement in the right direction - Editorial, latimes.com: The need for what he called "strong oversight of all lethal action" was one theme of the president's address Thursday at National Defense University. Drones have undermined American diplomacy, and Guantanamo haunts America's global standing today in part because Obama for too long has shied away from a confrontation with Congress over what has become an emblem of overreaction and abuse. His newly muscular language is welcome; even better would be comparably strong action.
Obama’s Gitmo Problem - Joe Nocera, New York Times: The president could have shut down the prison if he had really been determined to do so.
The covert commander in chief - David Ignatius, Washington Post: It bothers Obama that he inherited a red-hot rhetorical war on terror from George W. Bush, one framed on loose rules and policy assumptions about a long (i.e., endless) war. He’s taken down the rhetoric and tightened the rules — wise on both fronts.
Commander in Doubt: Nowhere in Obama's speech did he mention the abiding threat: WMD - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The reality is that the terrorist threat is also likely to last for decades, and it may increase as technology advances. The single most striking fact of Mr. Obama's speech is that he never mentioned weapons of mass destruction. Yet WMD in the hands of terrorists is the greatest threat of all, and no one should doubt that al Qaeda or Hezbollah or Iran's Revolutionary Guards would use them.
Though the anti-antiterror critics will never admit it, the U.S. has done very well balancing security and freedom since 9/11. It is precisely this success that is giving Mr. Obama an opening to claim victory. He risks squandering it by suggesting that we can now safely return to the policies and complacency that led to 9/11. Image from
Tell Me How This Ends - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: We can only properly answer the question — should we be arming the Syrian rebels? — if we first answer what kind of Syria do we want to see emerge and what will it take, beyond arms, to get there?
Syrian Electronic Army: pro-government propaganda, or just trolling for lulz? Hacker group is efficient, but it may not be effective - Adrianne Jeffries, theverge.com: Much of the SEA’s recent activity has consisted of low-skill attacks on Twitter accounts and badly-made websites. However, researchers believe the group is capable of much more.
Testing time for Syria’s rebels - David Ignatius, Washington Post: It’s a rule of thumb in Middle East conflicts that whenever peace talks are announced, each side steps up the fighting so it can grab as much territory as possible before the cease-fire lines are drawn. This struggle for position is happening now in Syria, in the run-up to planned negotiations in Geneva next month that will be co-sponsored by the United States and Russia.
Ambassador Thomas Pickering: There is no equal - Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post: Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering personifies the State Department mentality that so many conservatives find objectionable. Pickering’s call for U.S. capitulation to Iran is now being echoed across the Washington wag world
Obama Defies Critics With State Dept. Choice - Peter Baker, New York Times: President Obama defied Republican critics on Thursday by nominating to a high-ranking State Department job an official involved in editing controversial talking points about the attack last year in Libya. Mr. Obama sent the Senate his choice of Victoria Nuland, a former spokeswoman for the State Department, as assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs. Ms. Nuland had long been in line for the position, but some had questioned whether the nomination would go forward after drafts of the talking points became public.
Pentagon responds to GAO report on propaganda - usatoday.com: The GAO cites "weaknesses" in how the Pentagon judges the effectiveness of the programs.
Facebook Promotes Palestinian Propaganda in Jerusalem - Danielle Avel, The Jewish Voice: Internet companies are forcing a biased Palestinian narrative onto users – first Yahoo artificially divided Jerusalem into Israeli and Palestinian sections, then Google made headlines by creating a Palestinian state, and now Facebook is promoting “East Jerusalem.” The term “East Jerusalem” often refers to the make-believe capital of a currently non-existent country called “Palestine.” The usage of “East Jerusalem” is not some slight slip. With it, Facebook has made a foreign policy declaration denying the reality that all of Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish State of Israel.
British Library Propaganda exhibition lacks persuasion - metro.co.uk: A colloquial definition of propaganda usually implies a somewhat dangerously one-sided intent. In the exhibit, though, it is more broadly applied to any information used to promote a particular cause or point of view.
This is a thought-provoking show but it is frustratingly slippery at defining what propaganda is. Image from entry, with caption: This hand-printed silk crepe handkerchief bears a map of the City of London and Westminster showing ‘famous buildings bombed or burned out’ by air raids in 1940-41.
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"You can't fight terrorism by trying to kill everybody."
--Richard Barrett, a former United Nations coordinator on counter-terrorism