Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 12-13 Public Diplomacy Review

"H. G. Wells once famously described Henry James as a hippopotamus trying to pick up a pea."

--Poet Christian Wiman; cited in the Times Literary Supplement (November 8, 2013), p. 7; image from


Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy Meeting Set for 2 December - "The first quarterly meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy since its reinstatement is scheduled for Monday, 2 December 2013 in in Washington, DC at the Capitol Visitor’s Center, Room SVC203-02. The topic of the meeting is “The State of Public Diplomacy,” and will include a review of the audits and scholarly research conducted on public diplomacy and international broadcasting in the last decade. The commission will also be introducing its agenda and work plan for 2014. To receive an invitation, contact the commission’s executive director Katherine Brown, PhD at BrownKA4 [at] state [dot]gov."


The U.S. Department of State Student Internship Program


America’s Muslim cleric confronts questions of loyalty, identity - Hannah Allam, "With his trim, gray-flecked beard, crisply ironed clothes and genteel demeanor, Mohamad Bashar Arafat hardly cuts a controversial figure. Yet his public appearances draw visceral reactions – from hearty welcomes to sneering disdain – depending on how the audience views a Muslim cleric who for a decade has worked with the U.S. State Department as a quiet, informal envoy to the Islamic world. Through public diplomacy programs, Arafat has traveled to at least 26 countries in a role he sees as his patriotic duty as an American and his religious duty as a Muslim imam. His roots in Damascus, where he was born and studied before emigrating in 1989, make for a third facet to that role now as diplomats, congregants and friends ask him, 'What should the U.S. do about Syria?' Detractors, on the other hand, would prefer he keep his answers to himself.

They regard him as, at best, a token and, at worst, a sellout – an apologist for the invasions, occupations and drone strikes that define recent U.S. policy in the Muslim world. At nearly every public event, in the United States and abroad, there are whispers and sometimes even chants: 'FBI imam!' 'Spy!' ... Arafat was introduced to State Department officials in 2002 through a Roman Catholic cardinal friend he’d done interfaith panels with for years. 'The next thing I know, there’s a phone call from the State Department saying, ‘Can we speak with you?’ ' Arafat recalled. In no time, he was giving talks to diplomats who were heading to the Muslim world and advising a then-fledgling State Department program called YES, for youth exchange and study, which brought teenagers from throughout the Muslim world to study in the United States. Arafat’s group helped administrators, students and host families navigate thorny issues such as attending church, wearing the head scarf and dealing with Christmas. A couple of years later, he also began to travel abroad under State Department auspices, through a program for international speakers that’s administered through U.S. embassies. The State Department didn’t respond to queries seeking comment on Arafat’s work. But his visits have received high praise from State Department officials, whose descriptions of his programs are included in once-classified diplomatic cables that were published by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. Cables mentioning Arafat came from embassies throughout the Arab world, but also from Indonesia and Austria, among others. The correspondence also supports Arafat’s recommendations for U.S. funding of education and exchange programs." Image from article, with caption: Mohamad Bashar Arafat stands outside the Muslim Community Center, Nov. 8, 2013 in Silver Spring, MD.

EU: Sec. John Kerry's Forum, Use The Structural Funds To Reduce Taxes Business And Youth Employment Guarantee [Google "translation"] - "It ended Thursday, November 7, the first edition of the Forum organized by the U.S. Department of State (entitled Secretary John Kerry's Forum) on the theme of European Guarantee for Young People (cd Youth Guarantee) program . ... The work of the Forum - organized by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Public Diplomacy office for Europe and EurAsia at the Mission of the United States of America in the European Union in collaboration with the American embassies in Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Spain and Sweden - has emerged is the value expressed by the re-programmable resources for the period 2007 - 2013 that by about 100 billion forecast for the next cycle that will go from 2014 to 2020 considered the more concrete form with which to support the critical employment situation in our country, with special reference to the young and the South."

LA Times Crossword Answers 10 Nov 13, Sunday - "105. Old Voice of America org. USIA [.]The United States Information Agency (USIA) was established under President Eisenhower in 1953, and continued operating until 1999. It's mission was 'public diplomacy', another term for propaganda broadcast

over radio airwaves. The intent from day one was to avoid having the broadcasts identified as propaganda, and speaking as a former listener to the USIA’s Voice of America (VOA) over in Europe, there were a lot of fun programs that had one coming back to hear more, but we all knew it was propaganda quite frankly ..." Image from entry

Freaky Friday foreign policy reboot - Susan Harris Rimmer - "Our standing is new – Australia is used to working as middle or pivotal power, and trying to 'punch above our weight'. Now the Abbott Government finds itself on the United Nations Security Council until next December and the host of the Group of 20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane in November 2014. Australia is the 12th largest economy in the world, out of 193. That is not the middle. Not even close. These are forums where real power is wielded, and new global orders are shaped. The ALP has thrust greatness upon the Coalition in foreign policy terms. Our diplomatic style has remained fairly pragmatic but perhaps out of touch with this new power standing. When we don't send a minister to climate negotiations, or our minister does not attend his final press briefing at the G20 Summit, these days we look arrogant rather than amateur. Messages meant for our domestic election campaigns affect our neighbours such as Indonesia and Malaysia in a manner that is taken far more seriously since the Asian Century white paper and the US pivot to Asia-Pacific. DFAT has a particularly strong Secretary in Peter Varghese at present, but the pollies representing us overseas need to lift their game across the board, because the region is watching closely. Our public diplomacy strategies are nowhere near as sophisticated or resourced as they need to be for a country with our role and comparative economic outlook. ... Tony Abbott ... needs to ... pick some Prime Ministerial priorities in the international sphere – the G20 Summit being the most urgent - and leave the rest to the Ministers in charge so that coherence around our public diplomacy messages and action on our stated priorities can begin to build up."

Iran Launches Flashy Nuclear Website | The Iran Primer - "Tehran has a launched sophisticated new website,, to convince the world – in English – that its nuclear energy program is both peaceful and necessary for modern development, despite Iran’s vast oil and gas resources.

The Islamic Republic’s ambitious public diplomacy campaign confronts the most controversial issues head on in an attempt, it claims, to be transparent." Image from entry

Into the Fray: My billion-dollar budget: If I were PM (cont.) - Martin Sherman, "Readers will recall that I have criticized the abysmal performance of Israeli public diplomacy (PD) and its failure to present its case assertively and articulately to the world. I likened the effects of this failure to those of the HIV virus that destroys the nation’s immune system, leaving it unable to resist any outside pressures no matter how outlandish or outrageous. Given the gravity of the threat, I prescribed that, as prime minister, my first order of business would be to assign adequate resources to address the dangers precipitated by this failure. To this end I stipulated that up to $1 billion should be allotted for the war on the PD front, and demonstrated that this sum was eminently within Israel’s ability to raise, comprising less than 0.5 percent of GDP and under 1 percent of the state budget. ... This then has been the cumulative impact of years of dereliction and neglect of Israeli PD: The total inability to resist external pressures however pernicious – and the capitulation of some of the most stalwart advocates of resistance. ... In approaching the construction of my $1b. “battle formation” for the PD war, several principles would apply, including: • It would be organizationally separate from the Foreign Ministry and under my direct control as PM – similar to the National Security Council – in the form of a national authority for the conduct of strategic diplomacy. • It would interface with Zionist NGOs and help finance their pro-Israel activities, enhance their impact and expand their reach – as a counterweight to the massive funding that post- and anti-Zionist NGOs receive from foreign governments. • Its activities would be assertively offensive, geared to uncompromisingly attacking and exposing the mendacious and malicious nature of Israel’s adversaries – a necessary condition for international understanding of Israel’s policy imperatives. • Its staff would not be professional diplomats but articulate and committed intellectual ideologues, neither bound by the constraints of diplomatic protocol nor versed in the niceties of diplomatic etiquette but rather adept in the mechanism of mass media, cyberspace and social networks (see my 'Intellectual warriors, not slicker diplomats'). • Their task would not be to interact with foreign counterparts but to wage diplomatic warfare, at home and abroad, with a $1b. budget at their disposal to saturate the Web with polished, professional Zionist content – on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and by means of fullpage 'infomercials' in the leading printed media. ... Don’t underestimate the impact that an annual $1b. PD offensive could have over the four years of my incumbency on editors, opinion-makers and other politically engaged publics."

Century China Western Returned Scholars Association was established enterprises “going out” strategy - "Western Returned Scholars Association and the Chinese overseas talent Entrepreneur Development Foundation jointly announced on the 8th, as the Western Returned Scholars Association 100th anniversary series of activities, the twelfth Session of Chinese enterprises “going out” strategy forum will be held on December 8 was held in the Great Hall. Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Western Returned Scholars Association to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the General Assembly in his speech pointed out that the face of the new situation and new tasks, Western Returned Scholars Association · Chinese students studying to play the masses, high intellectual, the united front of the characteristics and advantages, based on domestic and overseas, and strive to become a talent pool to serve the country abroad, offer advice and suggestions of the think tank, to carry out public diplomacy force, the Party and the overseas students as a bridge between the party and government to do the work of assistants overseas students, the majority of students studying from home, the majority of students studying closely unite around the Party."

Edward Luttwak Explains Why China Should Be Nice to People - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "Edward Luttwak always writes interesting stuff – a couple of my favourites are his Strategy and The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. I’ve just come across his 2012 book on The Rise of the China vs the Logic of Strategy. I don’t think that this is one of his best but there are a couple of public diplomacy angles that deserve comment. The argument is that if China thinks that using its rapid economic rise to fuel its military build-up will increase its influence in the world it’s wrong. In order to increase its influence China should minimize the expansion of its military forces and revert to a policy of peaceful development. ... Luttwak expects China to keep on annoying the neighbours and for an anti-China coalition to emerge. The second half of the book is a country by country examination of how this is happening. ... [I]f we want to think about China’s public diplomacy we have to keep the structural dimension in focus. Whatever CCTV or the Confucius Institutes say about China they are operating in an environment structured by the reality of China’s increasing weight in the world. While communication and psychology matter in public diplomacy they’re not the whole story."

Public Affairs 101: Here's how Channel-4 Callum Macrae should be handled - Daya Gamage, "The Asian Tribune remembers only a single Sri Lankan overseas diplomat very effectively used his skills in public affairs, public diplomacy and strategic communication to negate the message of anti-Sri Lankan documentary

“No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” produced by Callum Macrae for the British Channel-4 [:] Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union P.M. Amza. Amza image from entry

Has Austria become a case for the psychoanalyst? - Valentin Schipfer, What does a nation stand for? A question almost as hard to answer as the most fundamental question about the meaning of life. On behalf of Austria’s Federal Ministry of Economy the policy consultant Simon Anholt from Great Britain dared to tackle this question in a project called, Nation Brand Austria for 750.000,- Euros. Since 2011, the beginning of this project, he underlined that it would be nothing like the creation of just another logo or another advertising campaign. Anholt, the godfather of the term Nation Brand and the creator of the Nation Brand Index, instead was focused on a comprehensive communication strategy. ... More than two decades later Austria’s image is still lagging behind the present. Now the Federal Ministry of Economy wanted to give it another try. Mr.Anholt was assigned with initiating Austria’s quest for a competitive identity. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Innovation and the Federal Chancellery also took part in the project. The country expects to attract more investors, companies and talents from this self-discovery process.

As Anholt states in one of his first books “Competitive Identity” the public needs to be lured away from its comfort-zone of current perceptions towards something more unfamiliar and more ambitious. Over the course of two years Simon Anholt invited a finely balanced group of persons of the public life to so-called 'conversazioni'. Similar to a psychoanalyst he held 40 meetings behind closed doors together with more than 270 stakeholders from politics, economy, art and culture, education, media and civil society. They elaborated how Austria could place itself as an international brand. It turns out that the answers are found in the past. It concluded that the country should continue to be positioned as “bridge builder”. Between 1989 and the extension of the European Union in 2004 Austria established itself as a hub between Eastern and Western countries. According to Mr. Anholt’s findings this is not sufficient anymore. Austria should expand its intermediary role to Central Asia and North Africa. ... The concept further suggests the instalment of three new structures: a Nation Brand Agency which probably will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Economy; a secretariat for public diplomacy under the head of the Ministry of Foreign Policy and the web portal (which currently just forwards you to the website of the Federal Chancellery)." Image from entry, with caption: Felix Austria by Thomas Draschan, 2011

European Union Film Festival, Nov. 14 – Dec. 1 - "Established in 1976, the European Union Delegation to Canada is a fully-fledged diplomatic mission and maintains an open dialogue with different sectors of the Canadian society by engaging in various public diplomacy activities designed to enhance the knowledge and understanding of the European Union as well as EU-Canada relations among Canadians."

Why Miley Cyrus Smoking Pot Onstage Was Actually An Act of Cultural Diplomacy - Julia Emmanuele, "Miley Cyrus has taken her 'Just Being Miley Tour of Antics' abroad this weekend when she appeared at the MTV European Music Awards ceremony, which was held in Amsterdam. While she was accepting an award for her 'Wrecking Ball' video, she appeared to pull a joint from her purse and light it up onstage. When MTV re-aired the awards in the U.S., they cut her speech short, which seemed to confirm that Cyrus had indeed smoked pot onstage. But before we jump to conclusions about Cyrus or judge her latest behavior, we should consider the fact that Cyrus was a tourist in Amsterdam, a place where marijuana is both legal and a significant part of the culture.

Perhaps instead of simply trying to shock the world yet again, Cyrus was actually trying to be a respectful visitor and abide by the laws and customs of her host country. After all, Americans abroad don't have the best reputations, so it's possible she was just trying to make a good impression. We've come up with five other possible performances that Cyrus could have staged as part of her goal to be a respectful tourist, based on things that are illegal in the United States, but legal elsewhere in the world. ... So, before you judge, consider thanking Cyrus instead for simply trying to do her part to improve American relations abroad. And if she's ever looking for new performance ideas, we're always here to help." Cyrus image from entry

U.S.- Mexico Public Diplomacy: A Conversation with Ambassador Arturo Surakhan - "November 13, 2013 12:00PM – 1:00PM Venue: USC; ASC 207 (Geoffrey Cowan Forum)

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s former Ambassador to the United States, will be in residence as the 2013-14 CPD Distinguished Fellow. He will be speaking on a history of perceptions and realities in the Mexico-US relationship, and the implications for public diplomacy engagement." Uncaptioned image from entry

The Road to 100,000: A Music Video as Strategic Communication - Gabriel Bernadett-Shapiro, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[D]ue to changes in the structures of communication systems, small teams working around issue-based advocacy campaigns no longer face the hardship of limited exposure that hamstrung their efficacy in the pre-social media era. Citizen public diplomats unchained from governments or institutions are now only limited by their own creativity, resources, and time when conducting an advocacy campaign."

Morning Mirror - “'Heading to al-Jazeera America for a bracing discussion on public diplomacy for The Stream. About to execute the rare blazer-sweater TV combo.' – The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman to MSNBC’s ultra-feminine and jumpy Chris Hayes. Hayes, never one to shy away from conversing with a Boy Bander, remarked, 'High degree of difficulty as I’ve learned the hard way.' Ackerman replied, 'Goal is to sartorially reassure viewers of my wisdom.' Yes, Ack, please reassure us of your brilliance."

Farnsworth Discusses Election on National Media - Brynn Boyer, "Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, delivered a lecture to foreign service officers at the

U.S. State Department entitled, 'International News about the US: Challenges for Public Diplomacy,' on Nov. 1. The talk was drawn from his new co-authored book, 'The Global President: International Media and the US Government.'” Boyer image from entry

RSVPs open for new events - Wednesday, November 13 - "Brown bag lunch with Allison Hart [;] Co-hosted by the SAIS International Organizations Career Club [;] Ms. Hart, a SAIS alumna, is Special Advisor in NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, where she is part of a team working to develop the division’s outreach strategies and coordinate implementation. She is the lead officer for outreach to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Ms. Hart will meet will discuss her career path and experience at NATO."


What About US? - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: America’s interests today lie in an airtight interim nuclear deal with Iran that also opens the way for addressing a whole set of other issues between Washington and Tehran. “Just because regional actors see diplomacy with Iran as a zero-sum game — vanquish or be vanquished — doesn’t mean America should,” said Karim Sadjadpour, the expert on Iran at the Carnegie Endowment.

The U.S. leaves comrades behind in Afghanistan - Editorial Board, Washington Post: 1,648 interpreters have received Afghan special immigrant visas out of the 8,750 allocated by Congress. Many interpreters are waiting in the pipeline, and plenty of visas are waiting to be granted.

Clearly something has gone wrong here. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, a decorated war veteran, ought to step in and order the situation fixed immediately for Afghan interpreters who can demonstrate faithful service to the United States. Image from

'Kerry, You're Spreading Palestinian Propaganda': Alan Baker, head of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, sends strongly worded rebuke to US Secretary of State John Kerry - Tova Dvorin, - Alan Baker, the head of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, has sent a strongly worded rebuke to US Secretary of State John Kerry after Kerry's public statements supporting Palestinian Arab incitement.

The letter attacked Kerry's statements that Jewish building in Judea and Samaria is "illegitimate," saying that the label is "a factual and legal mistake." Image from

U.S. popularity in Germany on a steep decline in wake of spy scandal: To most Germans, Snowden is a hero: Matthew Schofield , A new poll by German public television (ARD) indicates that only 35 percent of Germans still see the United States as a good partner. That figure has fallen 14 points since just this past July when about half of all Germans saw America as a partner they could trust. The new poll, done Thursday, also indicates that 61 percent of Germans now see the United States as an untrustworthy partner. The poll reflects the deep unhappiness in Germany over the spy scandal, which has seen outrage consistently build from the summer. The upside of the poll might be that the United States is still seen as more trustworthy a partner than Russia, but only just. Russia, which, remember, did impose communism on half this nation in the wake of World War II, was seen in the poll as an untrustworthy partner by 74 percent of Germans. Via MC on Facebook

Wave of propaganda in China - Jayadeva Ranade, Disconcerted by the publication over the past two years of a growing number of articles espousing “liberal” themes, which at times seemed to challenge the authority of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the new CCP leadership took a deliberate decision this January to rein in and discipline the media. The campaign is being driven by the CCP’s propaganda department, which controls and supervises the media and has the authority to guide and shape the party’s narrative. Significantly, the campaign to overhaul, reform and discipline the media coincides with CCP’s severe “mass-line” campaign that focuses on restoring adherence to its ideology, traditions, values and discipline.

For Lakhan Lal Mehrotra, the new Indian high commissioner in Colombo, the initiation into the rough and tumble of Indo - Sri Lankan diplomacy came sooner than expected. Barely weeks after taking over from the aggressive and high-profile J.N. Dixit, Mehrotra was realising what it means to be in the hottest seat in India's diplomatic arena. In this case, it was like literally walking into the Tigers' den. Even as the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued their protracted peace talks, an already - nervous New Delhi found itself the target of the communiques issued by the Sri Lankan Government in Colombo at the end of each day's negotiations. Clearly, the LTTE was determined to use the peace talks as a forum for propaganda against India and the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF).


From: Brie Dyas, "9 Lessons From Our Grandparents On Living Stylishly (PHOTOS)," Huffington Post


Among them:

From: Get Star Style: The Most Iconic Swimsuits Ever


--Botticelli image, "The Birth of Venus,"  from

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