Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 1-2 Public Diplomacy Review

--Texas bumper sticker; image from


Atlas Corps: The Atlas Corps Fellowship is a 12-18 month professional fellowship offered three times a year for nonprofit leaders from around the world. Fellows serve full-time at Host Organizations located either in the United States or Latin America working on issues that complement their expertise. Fellows develop their leadership skills while sharing best practices and supplement daily knowledge with theoretical topics presented in the Atlas Corps Nonprofit Management Series. Via LH on Facebook


Snowden Reveals the Pathetic State of U.S. Diplomacy - Margot van Loon, usnews.com: "June 30 marked the last day in office for Tara Sonenshine, the now-former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. Although Sonenshine tendered her resignation back in April, the Obama administration has yet to nominate her replacement. For months now, the public diplomacy community has dreaded the leadership crisis that this high-level vacancy will create for U.S. soft power efforts abroad. Past experience certainly justifies these concerns. Recent administrations have carelessly allowed a persistent – and bipartisan – lack of U.S. public diplomacy leadership. In the process, they have neutered their ability to interface with, and influence, foreign publics. For better or worse, the post of undersecretary represents the White House's pointperson in the 'war of ideas.' Its inhabitant directs America's public diplomacy engagement abroad, coordinates tactics to spread U.S. messaging and participates in developing foreign policy regarding perceptions of America among foreign publics. Yet, in the last decade, the position has turned over rapidly, with each short term in office followed by vacancies that dragged out for 271, 127, 172 and 393-day intervals, respectively.

This haphazard pattern has prevented the crafting of a coherent soft power strategy on the part of the U.S. government, much to America's detriment. The furor over NSA leaker Edward Snowden provides a case in point. Snowden's disclosures about extensive electronic surveillance carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies against American citizens and foreign countries have, among other things, created a significant image crisis for the United States abroad – one which America's adversaries have used to great effect. ... American allies in Europe, meanwhile, are aghast over what is perceived – rightly or wrongly – as a breach of diplomatic trust. The irate remarks of European MPs, journalists and bloggers reflect the growing anger of their publics, who believe that their relationship with the U.S. government has been betrayed. In the face of these accusations, the silence from America's instruments of public messaging has been damning. he Snowden affair provides a teachable moment for a great many things, not least of them the need for robust U.S. public diplomacy. Today more than ever, global public opinion matters. The U.S. cannot conduct itself with disregard for how its actions will be perceived by the rest of the world; even public diplomacy at its best cannot fix bad policy. But modern public diplomacy is not at its best. Its funding is inadequate, its coordination of roles and responsibilities needs work and it still struggles to find effective measures to evaluate whether its tactics have been successful. These obstacles, among others, impair America's ability to garner global support for its policies. During her tenure, Sonenshine worked to address these problems, but there is still much more to be done. America needs a new undersecretary for public diplomacy, and soon, not only to push for the resolution of structural problems, but to ensure a coherent strategy and message for all public diplomacy efforts, both in good times and in bad." See also in John Brown's Notes and Essays: "Salaries, Spooks, and Ambassadors"; "How does USG internet snooping jibe with 'internet freedom'?" Image from

How Edward Snowden Could Derail the Global Economy - David Francis, thefiscaltimes.com: NSA leaker "Edward Snowden is at it again. This time, he’s leaking to the Germans. Over the weekend Der Spiegel magazine published a report indicating that the United States has been spying on its European allies, including Germany, France and Italy. Documents provided by Snowden indicate that NSA is collecting data on European communications and planted bugs in EU offices in New York and Washington to detect rifts in the troubled monetary alliance. Reactions from European leaders were swift and harsh. This is especially true in Germany, where the protection of private correspondence is written into its Constitution. ... One can argue about whether Snowden’s revelations have made America less safe. But it’s undisputable that he has caused an erosion of trust between partners and their citizens. This trust is essential in building international trade agreements, as popular support for trade pacts is essential. Without these pacts, international trade dries up and hundreds of billions are removed from the global economy. ... 'Whatever U.S. public diplomacy achieved in Germany in the last four years [since George W. Bush's presidency ended], it's gone, atlantic-community.org’s Wolf [Joerg Wolf, editor of the Berlin-based open think tank atlantic-community.org] said. 'Any positive impact President Obama's trip to Berlin two weeks ago might have had, it's gone.'”

Andrew Pochter’s death a setback for public diplomacy in the Middle East - globalpost.com: Andrew Pochter ... [was] the smiling, shaggy-haired college student who was stabbed to death in the historic Egyptian city of Alexandria on Friday. ... Pochter’s death, while certainly a personal tragedy for all those who knew him, also reflects a broader loss for the United States and the troubled Middle East. As ongoing violence in the region threatens to dissuade interested, energetic students from traveling to countries like Egypt, both places stand to lose some of their most valuable ambassadors in bridging the two cultures and promoting genuine understanding. Especially today, as Cairo and Washington struggle to work through complicated foreign policy positions and diplomatic misunderstandings, this more informal version of public diplomacy is irreplaceable. Although the State Department has worked to expand public outreach in recent years, particularly through increased use of social media, face-to-face interactions are still an important piece of the puzzle.

Of course, this is the idea behind the Fulbright Program, Peace Corps, and AMIDEAST, the organization Pochter was interning for in Egypt. As the daughter of a retired Foreign Service Officer, I grew up learning what Pochter clearly inherently understood: in order to truly comprehend and appreciate a country, there is no substitute for being there and exploring as much as you can. ... Although the number of US students who choose to spend time abroad has increased over the past two decades, the Middle East continues to attract comparatively few. According to the Institute of International Education, Israel is the only Middle Eastern country to be included in the top 20 study abroad destinations for American students in recent years. And in spite of the prestigious offerings at the American University of Cairo, including its highly competitive Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) program, the number of American students studying abroad in Egypt declined by 43 percent between the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years. Tragedies like Pochter’s death surely will not help improve those numbers. ... Public diplomacy does not succeed or fail based purely on initiatives undertaken by State Department officials in a formal capacity; it is carried out both by them and all kinds of Americans who live and work overseas." Pochter image from

Marketing America: Pulling back the curtain on “21st century statecraft” - Mark J. Davidson: accjjournal.com: "When US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Japan in April, the US Embassy in Tokyo made sure the Japanese public got plenty of face-time with him: he led a roundtable with young entrepreneurs and students, he gave a press conference, he delivered his first major policy speech outside of the United States and he even surprised families out for a Sunday stroll by dropping by Zojoji Temple for some sight-seeing. This made for great press. But these activities were not really about optics; rather, they were part of a long-term strategic effort to use public diplomacy (PD) to advance American interests and strengthen the vital US-Japan relationship – including the enormously important business and economic ties between our two countries. PD has been popularized by the term 'soft power', but with all due respect to Harvard professor Joseph Nye, its coiner, I’ve never been fond of the phrase. It is too easily misinterpreted to mean activities that are 'nice' or 'cute' but which are somehow neither strategic nor 'hard'. Make no mistake: PD is an essential component of our national power, and is central to achieving America’s interests around the world. PD practitioners seek to understand, engage, inform, and influence foreign publics in the pursuit of US national interests. While PD’s impact may not be as easily quantifiable as the number of tanks a country possesses or the size of its GDP, it is every bit as important for national security. A fundamental premise of 'Twenty-First Century Statecraft', a policy framework articulated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is that a nation’s ability to engage and persuade citizens of other countries is a critical component of national power. President Obama’s National Security Strategy incorporates this insight: '[We] must foster even deeper connections between Americans and peoples around the globe. Our long-term security will not come from our ability to instill fear in other peoples, but through our capacity to speak to their hopes.'
So how, exactly, do we conduct public diplomacy in Japan?

My staff and I in Tokyo and our five consulates throughout the country work hard to create ways for the US government to speak directly with and to the Japanese people. At the same time, we devise opportunities for non-official US and Japanese citizens to meet, talk, learn, and build mutual understanding. As in any public affairs enterprise, we engage in direct advocacy. Our press operation aggressively seeks to shape media and public narratives on topics ranging from our security alliance to trade policy to America’s multicultural society. Like marketers anywhere, we set our sights on 'closing the sale' – molding public opinion in ways favorable to our interests – and carefully choose appropriate media, messengers, and timing. ... But our job is more than just selling American policy. We know the kind of mutual understanding that makes bilateral ties strong for the long run depends on apolitical, people-to-people relations. We thus make sure future leaders get to know one another. For over 60 years, the Fulbright Program has supported the two-way flow of students and scholars between the United States and Japan. ... We also support an array of other exchanges in the arts, sports, and business. Even as we maintain these tried-and-true programs, we also embrace new engagement opportunities offered by technology. We seek to engage in conversations where the people are – and in Japan, people are increasingly on Twitter, Line, nico nico douga, and other social media platforms. We’ve sought to create a new paradigm melding traditional cultural diplomacy with virtual engagement. ... But PD is not about winning a popularity contest. It’s about advancing America’s interests now and over the long term. Looking forward in Japan, we see some signs for concern. First and foremost, we regard the rapid decline in Japanese students studying in the United States as a strategic threat to both nations’ interests. ... In response, the Embassy has launched a multi-faceted campaign to get more Japanese into American education. We’ve expanded student counseling services nationwide, sponsored US college fairs, sent more Embassy officials and private sector Americans to speak at Japanese high schools and universities, enhanced support for English teaching, and created a youth-oriented Japanese-language social media platform (ConnectUSA.jp). We also helped set up a bi-national Education Task Force (ETF), with experts from government, academia, and the private sector from both countries, to propose new incentives for bilateral student exchange.  ... Most significant, Ambassador Roos established the TOMODACHI Initiative. This ground-breaking public-private partnership was created to help Tohoku recover from the triple disaster of March 2011 through investing in that region’s young people. But TOMODACHI is now broadening its focus to engender new generations of Japanese and American leaders committed to the bilateral partnership. To date, private companies and individual donors have contributed over $20 million to TOMODACHI, enabling thousands of Americans and Japanese to learn from one another and study in each other’s countries. ... The multi-faceted, complex partnership between the world’s #1 and #3 economies ranges from cooperation in peace and security to trade and investment, space exploration and scientific research, and international humanitarian assistance. Moving forward depends on persuasively articulating America’s ideals and goals and creating globally minded people able to work together to achieve them. Public diplomacy is and will remain at the heart of America’s 'Twenty-First Century Statecraft' in Japan. Mark J. Davidson is Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Tokyo." Image from

Public Affairs Roundtable: A world of difference - Gideon Fidelzeid, prweekus.com: "Melanne Verveer has a unique and valuable view of global affairs, gleaned from her time as director at the State Department's Office for Global Women's Issues. Currently director of

the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, she spoke to PRWeek managing editor Gideon Fidelzeid about women's role in government, the importance of nonprofit relationships, and the legacy of Hillary Clinton, for whom Verveer served as chief of staff. ... Verveer [:] ... For the most part in Europe, Asia, and much of Africa, the US is considered that great positive force and there's an interest in being partners with us. Our real challenge is in the Middle East, particularly in places such Pakistan. It would take a lot of public affairs people to figure out how the US can move from the bottom in terms of our perception in Pakistan. It's also an example of why Secretary Clinton has put in so much effort in the world of public diplomacy. She would travel and do town meetings. Yes, it was important for her to be face-to-face with leaders and foreign ministers, but if it ended in that room and there was nothing beyond that, what would the message of America be to the vast numbers of people in the country whose opinion of us does matter? An enormous percentage of her efforts were spent in discussions with students, with women, with regular folks who were selected to come together with her. Winning the hearts and minds of the people of the world can be extremely difficult. There are so many who interpret us to their own people in a way where we wouldn't be able to recognize ourselves. And there are no easy answers. In fact, one of the hardest jobs at the State Department is the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy." Image from

Situation report - foreignpolicy.com: "Situation Report clarifies - In am item Friday we reported that State's outgoing Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine was headed to The George Washington University this fall, we also mistakenly referred to Georgetown University. Sonenshine is in fact headed to The George Washington University only. Apologies for the confusion. #weknowbetter."

For the First Time in 65 Years, BBG Content Will Be “Legally” Available in the U.S. - Press release, bbgstrategy.com: "The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act goes into effect tomorrow, July 2 – lifting the ban on domestic dissemination of BBG content. But BBG broadcasters still cannot create content intended for U.S. audiences… BBG Logo 108 x 75As reported in January, the longtime ban on the distribution of BBG content in the U.S., is finally ending — taking effect tomorrow [July 2] Originally passed in 1948, the Smith-Mundt Act, as it commonly known, contained a provision that prevented domestic dissemination of content that was produced with U.S. diplomacy funds and intended for global audiences. In January, the Act was modified to allow for the domestic distribution of BBG content upon request. The agency still cannot actively pursue distribution deals or create content intended for U.S. audiences. The change now allows BBG content, created in 61 languages, to be made available to diaspora audiences throughout the country, ranging from Sudanese broadcasters in Minnesota to Cuban community broadcasters in Miami. Previously, requests from those broadcasters for BBG content were denied – although many acquired the content nonetheless via the internet." See also John Brown, "Kafka, the BBG, and U.S. Public Diplomacy," Notes and Essays

Broadcasting Board of Governors – Information War Lost – Dysfunctional, Defunct and Not Getting Any Better – Failure Compounded - The Federalist, usgbroadcasts.com: "Clearly, the IBB is trying to promote the domestic dissemination of its program content as a triumph. The reality is it’s the agency’s last stand. And it may be one of relatively short duration – sort of like a Fourth of July sparkler in a downpour. As a result, the inability of the agency to have resonance with a meaningful percentage of global publics is headed for compounding that failure among the domestic American public."

U.S. International Broadcasting “Defunct”—Congress Finally Steps In - Helle Dale, heritage.org: "Congress has finally shown a willingness to engage in oversight of this important, struggling tool of U.S. public diplomacy. Such congressional engagement is critically important for a more effective use of U.S. taxpayer dollars—and more effective broadcasting of news and American values to people around the world."

Mission impossible: should Voice of America do news or public diplomacy? - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: "Gary Thomas, a former Voice of America (VOA) journalist, published a significant analysis and opinion article in Columbia Journalism Review about the current state of U.S. international broadcasting and VOA. He is asking whether government broadcasting is or can be relevant. While one may agree or disagree with some of his observations and conclusions, Mr. Thomas is right about the management of the agency — its bureaucratic arm, the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). It is among the worst in the federal government as demonstrated by the federal Office of Personnel Management in numerous employee surveys. ... In his article, Gary Thomas wrote: 'The core problem afflicting the BBG and its various entities is institutional schizophrenia. It is simultaneously a news organization trying to be a government agency, and a government agency trying to be a news outlet.' He also noted that 'VOA earned credibility around the world on the basis of its honest journalism, even when its stories conflicted with US policy.' That credibility, according to Thomas is being threatened by IBB bureaucracy and VOA executives imported from CNN. ... READ MORE: Mission impossible by Gary Thomas, Columbia Journalism Review, July 1, 2013."

U.S. officials accused of practicing censorship are now in charge of distributing news to Americans - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: As of today [July [2]], officials of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) – the management and administrative arm of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency in charge of U.S. international broadcasting – can legally market and distribute Voice of America (VOA) and Radio and TV Marti news reports and programs to Americans. The same officials have been accused of practicing internal and external censorship, damaging the quality of VOA news, and being the worst managers in the federal government. They will now be in charge of feeding news, not just to foreign audiences, but also to Americans. International Broadcasting Bureau officials have been hiding from members of their bipartisan BBG oversight board and from American public news reports critical of their performance. The latest example of what can be seen as their censorship is an article in

Columbia Journalism Review, which they failed to include in the BBG Media Highlights, a press roundup compiled under supervision of IBB officials. These officials cannot be trusted and should be replaced. ... Gary Thomas’ article in Columbia Journalism Review is one of the most significant recent analyses of what is wrong with Voice of America news under the current management and what is wrong with the Broadcasting Board of Governors and its International Broadcasting Bureau. Unless the current IBB management is soon replaced, American journalists and broadcasters using Voice of America news and other programs should definitely become familiar with some of these issues outlined in the Columbia Journalism Review article." Image from entry

CUSIB Welcomes Congressional Hearing: “Broadcasting Board of Governors: An Agency ‘Defunct’,” Disappointed in Witness Testimony - cusib.org: "CUSIB Welcomes

Congressional Hearing: 'Broadcasting Board of Governors: An Agency ‘Defunct’,' Disappointed in Witness Testimony." Image from entry

Who at VOA refused to answer questions for Gary Thomas’ Columbia Journalism Review article, dismissed him in a Soviet-style fashion? - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: "VOA executives have created an atmosphere unfriendly to journalists and news reporting, both within Voice of America and in dealing with outside journalists."

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – management of U.S. international broadcasting needs to change - BBG Watcher, freemediaonline.org: "Speaking at the conclusion of today’s [Une 26] House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–FL) called for replacing the agency’s management in charge of international broadcasts and other news programs. She said that managers who do not understand what U.S. international broadcasting mission is should be changed.

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen read the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ mission statement which says that the agency’s purpose is 'To inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.' She put emphasis on 'support for freedom and democracy.'” Uncaptioned image from entry

Pacific urged to take steering wheel in face of US China rivalry - rnzi.com: "So what does the United States’ pivot to the Asia Pacific mean for regional dynamics? Dr Gerard Finin watches the region from the East-West Centre in Honolulu. He says the Pacific Islands display a range of attitudes to the US. 'GERARD FINN: For some, the US is a dependable ally in times of crisis or perhaps a long lost friend. For others, who recall the Cold War era and our subsequent reduced engagement, the sentiment may, under all of the politeness, be that of a fair-weather friend.' Dr Finin says the United States’ underfunded embassies, one-off public diplomacy exercises and ad hoc meetings in the region aren’t good enough. He also says the current alphabet soup of regional bodies may not be adequate for these dynamic times."

Lost In America! - 100migratory.wordpress.com: "The public diplomacy theme for the Swedish embassy in the US 2013 was 'Globalization and Migration'."

Americans give $274 million to aid Israeli settlements - new report - Adri Nieuwhof, electronicintifada.net: "Right-wing organizations have become an important part of the Israeli government’s propaganda 'machine,' a new report has found. The ruling coalition formed in Israel earlier this year has established a ministry for 'public diplomacy,' with the aim of stepping up cooperation between the state and nominally independent groups supporting Zionism.

A report published today by the Alternative Information Center in Jerusalem documents how the ministry’s establishment follows a decade-long trend whereby the government has increasingly assigned tasks to certain organizations. One of the best examples of this cooperation involves the settler group Elad. Also known as the Ir David Foundation, Elad has been given formal responsibility for managing the Kingdom of David park in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Elad’s efforts to prove that the remnants of an ancient Jewish kingdom can be found there have been used as a pretext for expelling Palestinians so that settlers can take over the area. While some of Elad’s work has been funded directly by the Israeli government in recent years, it does not publish full details of its funding. Similar organizations have relied on support from extremists in the US, according to the Alternative Information Center." Image from entry

Diplomats in Flip-Flops - Kasia Opydo, lejournalinternational.fr: "[A] result of the strike in the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: the diplomats wear flip-flops at work, hold the correspondence and don’t give the visas and passports. Officially it’s about money. They claim that their incomes are too low and they don’t get enough money for the maintenance of the embassy.

Moreover, they accuse the government of dismantling the diplomacy. According to the protest’s organizers, more and more tasks normally done by the diplomats are taken by the Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs and the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. At the same time, the Prime Minister didn’t appoint the Minister of Foreign Affairs since the elections. Avigdor Lieberman, who had been occupying this position since December, is accused of fraud, and Netanyahu is waiting until the judge exonerates Lieberman, leader of one of the Coalition parties." Uncaptioned image from article

Lifting of sanctions will take a few years – former Iranian official: An interview of Irdiplomacy.ir with Dr. Abbas Maleki, a former Iranian deputy foreign minister - Maleki: "If the foreign policy of Mr. Rohani acts faster and does not wait until the transfer of power, and also uses the expert forces of the Foreign Ministry, and takes public diplomacy seriously, it can act, in my opinion, more efficiently than the presidencies of Mr. Hashemi and Mr. Khatami. Mr. Rohani’s different approach can be the better use of two social forces in other societies, which has, hitherto, been ignored; first the legislators in other countries, especially in the US Congress, and second, the media and the producers of media content, who are the university professors and experts."

With A New Emir, Will Qatar Keep Its Outsized Role? - Sean Carberry, delmarvapublicradio.net: "Qatar is also doing something unusual when it comes to leadership. The 61-year-old emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, stepped down last week and handed power to his 33-year-old son, Sheik Tamim. 'Qatar likes to be the first mover,' says Shadi Hamid, research director with Brookings Center in Doha. He says the country likes to challenge the status quo and do things other Arab countries, and in particular the Gulf monarchies, won't do. Under Hamad

and his foreign minister, Sheik Hamid bin Jasem, Qatar has assumed the role of chief mediator in the Arab world, Hamid notes. It brokered a deal, known as the Doha Agreement, in 2008 that helped avert another civil war in Lebanon. And it's been trying to broker peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The wealthy nation also spends billions of petrodollars around the world on aid, development and public diplomacy projects." Image from article, with caption: Qatar's former emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is shown last week in the capital, Doha, shortly before he stepped down on June 25 in favor of his 33-year-old son. Such voluntary abdications are exceedingly rare in the Gulf.

<朴 presidential affairs throughout the second half of the schedule clearing checks> (Total)[Google translation for the Korean] - yonhapnews.co.kr: "Park, Sung - Min reporter = four days after a state visit to China, Park Geun-hye back on the 1st day after the president returned home affairs throughout the second half went to check on. ... Meanwhile, the [South Korean's] President's visit to China and related to the night, The Blue House 'mass (大众) diplomacy was to launch a stand.

Blue House officials met with reporters in the afternoon, 'The night of the visit, the President sees as a new diplomatic paradigm' and 'public Diplomat Mercy (public diplomacy), also known as public diplomacy, the words which express them, but we want to interpret it as public diplomacy,' he [a South Korean official?] said. The official 'public diplomacy partners besides the peoples government, public diplomacy, says that with,' he said, 'to speak the local language makes Chinese people closer affinity to the history of philosophy, such as China, but China's culture and history with the regulations also reflected in the more popular worldwide and a luncheon with the First Lady of China by foreign interests much more synergy'd like to think that,' he said." Image from article

Chinese 'power microbloggers' to visit S. Korea this week - Yonhap, globalpost.com: "A group of Chinese public figures with a strong presence online will visit South Korea this week at Seoul's invitation as part of its efforts to boost bilateral communication and exchanges between the two countries' citizenries, the foreign ministry said Monday. The ministry, in cooperation with China's investment holding firm Tencent Holdings Ltd., will invite 10 Chinese celebrities, who boast of a strong presence on social networking services, for six days from Tuesday, as part of the Seoul government's drive to strengthen public diplomacy."

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: July 1, 2013: New Documentaries, “Enter the Dragon” Turns 40 and Ip Man Comes out on Top - BenJudkins,chinesemartialstudies.com: "1. The Traditional Chinese Martial Arts as a tool of public diplomacy. It is no secret that the Chinese government occasionally uses the widespread interest in the traditional fighting arts as a tool to build a positive national image and bonds of trust with groups outside of the Chinese mainland. These sorts of efforts are euphemistically referred to as 'public diplomacy.' As a political scientist who studies International Relations I am always interested in these sorts of informal diplomatic efforts which revolve around attempts to cultivate and harness 'soft power.'

Often these sorts of efforts can be abstract and nebulous, but a recent news story indicates that 'Kung Fu Diplomacy' is about to get a lot more concrete. The Chinese government has just announced a new program which will offer martial arts training in a variety of styles to both foreign diplomatic personal and their families while they are stationed in the PRC. They are also placing instructors in foreign embassies so that when these individuals return to their home countries (or are transferred to their next overseas posting) they will be able to continue with their training. This is a great mechanism for reaching out to and building potentially long term relationships with the diplomatic elite of numerous countries. Its still technically 'Public Diplomacy,' but of a very focused type." Image from, with caption: Mural showing two guards with swords at the opening to a 1500 year old Norther Qi dynasty tomb in Shuozhou City, Shanxi Province.

Government to Take Political Decision on Delayed Contracts - Mildred Nambi, Uganda Picks: "Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has disclosed that Government will take political decisions to implement projects of national strategic importance, instead of relying on lengthy and sometimes endless or controversial procurement processes, to get them rolling. He said the contract for construction of the Karuma hydropower facility had delayed after facing such challenges, until a political decision was made following talks between President Yoweri Museveni and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping in South Africa this year. ... Mbabazi, on a one-week working visit to China at the invitation of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was meeting representatives of China Hydraulic and Hydroelectric Construction (Sinohydro) Group Ltd, the state-owned firm that won the contract, at their headquarters in Beijing. ... During the Beijing meeting, Sinohydro Chairman Fan Jixiang said under corporate social responsibility they would put up two new hospitals and a primary school in Kiryandongo, the project site host district. He noted that they sought economic profits and managed business with public diplomacy."

Smartphone app for passport, visa, haj services soon - Indrani Bagchi, TNN: "India's starchy foreign office is getting ready to enter the 'app' world. From mid-July, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) will launch a smartphone app for all its citizen-centric services like passports, haj and visa/consular services. The app, which will be available on both Android and iOS devices, will help Indians access all services that the foreign ministry's website offers. A tap on your smartphone or tablet is all it will take."

GlobalPost and OHI host Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar's capital: The pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate spoke Thursday to a group of 20 top young journalists participating in the 'Burma Telling Its Own Story' reporting fellowship - globalpost.com: "Coming straight from the opening of a fateful parliamentary session where constitutional reform and press freedom laws topped the agenda, the pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate spoke Thursday to a group of 20 top young journalists brought together by GlobalPost in partnership with the Open Hands Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to public diplomacy.

'The Lady,' as she is commonly referred to here, viewed some of the work of the 20 journalists — eleven from Myanmar and nine from the United States — who have set out together as one team on a reporting journey through a changing Myanmar. She spoke on the importance of press freedom, and the need for the young reporters to recognize the opportunity — and the responsibility — they have covering a country trying to find its way along a path toward democracy." Image from article, with caption: Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks with young journalists at an event co-hosted by GlobalPost and Open Hands Initiative in Naypyidaw on June 27, 2013

*Digitaldiplomacy’ synergy : Canada’s Ambassador to the Netherlands* - James Lambert,
Canada’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, diplomacydigital.blogspot.com: "The integration of social media to our digital presence has proven to be a useful addition to our public diplomacy toolkit by allowing us to increase the visibility of the Embassy’s activities.

Followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook form a captive audience that receives information without having to search for it and the content sharing allows us to connect and exchange with previously non-reachable publics. We have also been keen to share the Embassy’s lessons-learned with diplomatic colleagues and The Hague’s thriving academic and think-thank communities. The arrival of a media specifically dedicated to diplomatic and political news, information and events in the Netherlands will surely be a valuable addition to our digital approach. Because media are not only used to communicate, they are also wonderful sources of information." Image from entry

The Iron Brand: Margaret Thatcher and Public Diplomacy - Nick Cull, palgrave-journals.com: "What then is the bottom line? That Thatcher shaped and was shaped by PD is a testament to the significance of both. That her death is in its own way PD – forming the image of Britain overseas as surely as last year's Diamond Jubilee or the London Olympics – is also undeniable. That her demise has been accompanied by a debate over her legacy does not diminish its contribution to Britain's image, in fact it serves to refine that image and remind the world that Britain remains a country in which people expect to have a say and people with the deepest distain for what was being said defend the people's right to say it. Hopefully Margaret Thatcher would have approved."

Soap Power - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "When I was first studying in Morocco, I learned about Soap Power. I would go to school from 9-12am to study Arabic. Then I would return for lunch with my host family in the casbah of Rabat. It was always a three hour affair. One hour of eating, one hour of Mexican soap operas dubbed into Arabic, and one hour of nap. It was amazing I ever made it back to class in the afternoon. ... The thought that spurred this blog was a piece was the neo-Ottoman soaps that are all the rage in the Arab world.  Public diplomacy is about telling stories, and soap operas do tell stories well.  I would be curious to see the effect of Taiwanese soaps on China.  Also curious to study Mexico soap industry as a source of soft power in the Americas and otherwise.  Besides, what did good ol' Will write if it wasn't soap operas."

Celebration of 60th anniversary of sister city relationship between St Petersburg and Turku - Politics Inn: " Vladimir Putin participated in events honouring the 60th anniversary of the sister city relationship between St Petersburg and Turku. In addition, a ceremony was held at one of Turku’s central squares, where a plate with Mr Putin’s name was laid in recognition of his efforts to protect the Baltic Sea environment.

The President of Russia was also presented with a Turku city medal. The medal is given to political and public figures for their services to the city, as well as the heads of foreign nations who make a major input into developing relations between their nation and Finland on arrival to Turku. ... Speech at 60th anniversary celebrations of St Petersburg and Turku’s relationship as sister cities - PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: ... When Turku and Leningrad established a sister city relationship in 1953, they were among the first to implement the public diplomacy model in practice. In the 1990s, I was very lucky to be able to develop relations between our cities. ... I want to thank our Finnish partners from the bottom of my heart for their warm welcome, kindness and hospitality. This is a pleasant and important event for St Petersburg and Turku, and I want to congratulate both cities on the 60th anniversary since the establishment of a sister city relationship." Uncaptioned Image from entry

Culture Posts: Domestic Stakeholders in Public Diplomacy, Lessons from Brazil - R.S. Zaharna, PD News–CPD Blog, USC center on Public Diplomacy: "Perhaps the most important insight from ... Brazil’s experience is what a changing view of the public means for public diplomacy. Public diplomacy is still presented as a state-based, state-initiated activity. States are still focused on other states as their primary PD rivals.  Publics are rapidly emerging potential PD rivals for states. Strategic public stakeholders have the communication strategies and tools to challenge governments – and compete with them in the PD arena. Publics have turned the tables from state-initiated public diplomacy to state-responsive public diplomacy. States must respond, and that response will have strategic value in the international arena.  The challenges to the state from strategic stakeholders represent a second wake up call for public diplomacy. States need to move quickly in developing effective response strategies as part of their PD repertoire. The benign, relationship-building approach to public diplomacy was the new public diplomacy. The future of public diplomacy takes the relational and networking strategies to the next level of navigating non-cooperative, rival PD networks."

Communications and Policy Officer - laojobsvacancy.com: "Job Description: The jobholder will lead on the Embassy’s public diplomacy and communications activities and events to promote and support British interests in Laos."


Obama message to Africa: The president is using his visit to demonstrate that the U.S. has not forgotten about the continent and its many problems - Editorial, latimes.com: The continent's many problems can engender despair. Obama's trip suggests an alternative: Patient attention and support from the United States can help bring an end to conflicts and destructive social policies.

Africa, empowered - Michael Gerson, Washington Post: Obama has lacked a creative, signature Africa initiative of his own. Until his speech in Cape Town, South Africa. Depending on its implementation and future scale, Power Africa — aimed at doubling access to electricity across the continent — could be a major strategic and moral advance.

State Department has a dearth of diplomats to award for dissent - washingtontimes.com: Guy Taylor, The Washington Times: The association for foreign service officers has an annual award it gives to U.S. diplomats who have stood up to the powers that be at the State Department — but the organization is struggling to find anyone worthy of the honor. The American Foreign Service Association’s prestigious “dissent” awards are supposed to recognize diplomats who buck orthodoxy, and might seem to be a gold mine of opportunity in a department under fire for diplomatic security failures in Benghazi, Libya, and other suspected management problems. Now, for the fifth time in seven years, the association has found no one worthy of the Herter Award, which is supposed to go to a senior-level foreign service employee who has shown “intellectual courage to challenge the system from within, to question the status quo and take a stand, no matter the sensitivity of the issue or the consequences of their actions.” Since 2007, 42 cables have been sent through the channel, compared with 38 during the seven previous years. But there’s a catch: “The quality of messages in the last few years has not been what it was in previous years,” said one senior State Department official familiar with the dissent channel. The senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the cables, said that during the past six years some cables “have been very, very good, but in many cases they suffer in that they provide a dissent on an existing policy without providing alternative recommendations to the policy.”

How to pretend you're Canadian when you travel - Karla Cripps, CNN: "[D]o today's Americans still feel the need to jack the Canadian flag while traveling abroad? I wouldn't have thought so. After all, these days it's the Chinese who are being called 'the new ugly Americans.' Yet according to Canadian flight booking website FlightNetwork.com, pretending to be Canadian by wearing that glorious red maple leaf still gets Americans better service when they're abroad, provided they're able to act the part, too.

In honor of Canada Day on July 1 -- remember that date if you want to have a hope in h-e-double-hockey-sticks of fooling anyone -- the Ontario-based site brought in a body language expert to provide tongue-in-cheek advice on how Americans and Brits can try to fake their Canadian-ness."
Image from entry, with caption: They're really from Texas.


College default rates higher than grad rates - Mary Beth Marklein, Jodi Upton and Sandhya Kambhampati, USA Today: More than 260 colleges and universities in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have students who are more likely to default on their loans than full-time freshmen are to graduate, an analysis of federal data shows. Hundreds of thousands of students are enrolled at the 265 schools, nearly half of which are operated by for-profit colleges, a USA Today analysis shows. About one-third of the schools they attended were are public community colleges.


Video: The Italian Gesture - New York Times

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