Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 26 Public Diplomacy Review

"About 43 percent of college letter grades in 2011 were A’s, up from 31 percent in 1988 and 15 percent in 1960, a 2011 study found. Over roughly the same span, the average amount of studying by people enrolled in college declined almost 50 percent, a 2011 study, found, from 25hours per week to 13 hours."

--Jonathan Zimmerman, "The real scandal behind the Yale course Web site," Washington Post; see/hear also; image on Facebook via LOS


Bonus Quote of the Day - "[Comment by: terjeanderson Mod Chris • 2 days ago]: [U.S. Ambassador to Japan] Kennedy's dolphin tweet [see]

wasn't her free-lancing - it was approved by higher ups in the State Department as an public diplomacy expression of an existing US policy. You may not agree with the approach, but that wasn't Caroline Kennedy's mistake - it was fully vetted with 'career foreign service' officers in the embassy and at Foggy Bottom." Image from

Ambassador Hale heads to…Saudi Arabia… to discuss cabinet….in Lebanon/Returned prisoners from ISIL on wide European role - The Mideastwire Blog: Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region: "The US ambassador is publicly touting a trip to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to intervene on the cabinet formation in… lebanon. I am excited to know when I get back next month who is now running public diplomacy affairs at the US embassy… Does this make sense to draw attention to this very strange role for a US ambassador in Lebanon? I mean beyond the obvious problem of the entire Saudi role in Syria and Lebanon…. and the US position etc etc."

Howard Solomon - Facebook: "Bluegrass tonight at Spaso [residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Russia] by American diplomat and Russian accompaniest [sic]."

Image from entry

Longing for a Better Russia - Flogger, "In November of 2008, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy announced the launch of a new partnership in a press conference. A 10 partner project under the name of 'Alliance of Youth Movements' sponsored by Howcast and facilitated by State Department, aimed at identifying youth-oriented political groups who could employ social media in their organizing, and then cultivate those groups to build insurgent movements. The summit of AYM had brought together Old style media outlets, such as MTV, NBC, CNN and new ones, such as Google and Facebook. The AYM had created an online How-to hub, where communities of like-minded youth learned, shared and discussed how to change the world by building powerful grassroots movements. It was a space, where loggers learned how to create grass roots movements using social networking sites, how to smart mob, how to circumvent an Internet proxy, etc. This was an alliance of government agencies and NGOs producing training videos to seed emergent movements around the world. On the backdrop of this picture, it becomes quite clear how the public was captured by self-reports of the rioters and demonstrators and how the conventional media was left on the fringes of developments. No one was prepared for this at such a large-scale. It was, yet, again an old wisdom put into practice: 'Attack your enemy where he is unprepared, appear where he does not expect you.'”

Obama Spending $2.7 Mil to Broadcast Communist Propaganda to Vietnam - Daniel Greenfield, "You would think that once we were out of Vietnamwe could stop spending money on Vietnam. You would also think that the Department of Health and Human Services would have better places to spend millions of dollars especially considering the shape Medicare is in. The Department of Health and Human Services is spending $2,797,979 on a study that brings television to more than a dozen remote villages in Vietnam to study its impact on their culture and reproductive behavior. ‘In cooperation with the Vietnam government, we have selected 14 villages in a remote, mountainous area of Vietnam that currently lacks electricity,’ according to the grant description for

‘Television and International Family Change: A Randomized Experiment.’ ‘Treatment villages will receive televisions and generators with gasoline to operate the televisions. Control villages will not receive generators or televisions.’ The principal investigator of the study, Dr. Rukmalie Jayakody of the Penn State Population Research Center, tells that while groundwork for the study began in 2010, the televisions and generators were just installed this past August. Can we have a study in which we take away money from government bureaucrats in the United States while using government bureaucrats in Vietnam as a control group to see which country goes bankrupt faster? Instead we’re funding the broadcast of Communist propaganda to rural Vietnamese villages like the anniversary celebration of the Communist Party pictured above."

Nuts! A Missed PD Opportunity! - Jonathan Henick,  "I took my kids this weekend to see the latest blockbuster animated film, The Nut Job. It wasn’t until the film ended, however, and an animated Psy appeared to lead the cartoon cast in a Gangnam-style dance routine alongside the rolling credits that I realized that there was major Korean support for the movie.

In fact, the South Korean government provided substantial financial support for the joint Korean-Canadian production  that featured the voices of Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, and Katherine Heigl and ultimately cost over $40 million to produce. According to news reports, moreover, this is one of a series of several films that the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has supported from a fund of that is expected to grow to over $21 million for 2014 alone. Few would question the influence of film as a medium of soft power, particularly as exemplified by Hollywood, Bollywood, and many other countries. Public diplomacy, moreover, makes frequent and explicit use of film as a tool of cultural diplomacy to promote mutual understanding and cross-cultural collaboration. Having already demonstrated the international reach and positive impact of its own cultural offerings in other areas, especially pop music, it seems only logical for South Korea to venture into international filmmaking… Which is why I am a little puzzled by The Nut Job. The film is set in a nondescript American town in the recent past, the characters are voiced by major Hollywood actors, and the plot consists of a squirrel that tries to pull off a bank-style robbery of a nut shop. There was nothing about the film that was even remotely Korean at all and I missed the Korean connection altogether (although in retrospect there was a scene in which the music to 'Gangnam Style' featured briefly). Psy’s cameo didn’t come until after the film had ended and the credits were rolling. The film was mildly entertaining and the credits were amusing to watch, but I fail to see how this does much to leverage Korean soft power or advance Korean public diplomacy, despite the not-inconsiderable official Korean investment. In my humble opinion, Korea would do well, instead, to choose its future film projects with an eye towards vehicles that feature Korean actors, settings, narratives, or themes. We all love Psy, and he could certainly help market other Korean cultural products, but his cameo was largely wasted in The Nut Job, a film I will remember only as a major missed Korean public diplomacy opportunity. Jonathan Henick is a career diplomat with over 20 years of experience in the U.S. Foreign Service, including assignments to Turkey, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Timor-Leste. He is currently working as the Public Diplomacy Fellow at the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at George Washington University." Image from entry

New protests against the World Cup in Brazil - "The first anti-World Cup protest in Brazil this year was attended by around 2000 protesters in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paolo, as well as in 6 other cities. There is outrage that Brazil is spending more than $20bn for this summer’s World Cup, but not investing in public services and taking care of their own people. ... The protests are obviously signalling public dissatisfaction with hosting the World Cup and the Olympics since at same time the state lacks basic public and social services. There is always a question of legacy of the sports mega events (SMEs). There is a big trend in developing countries to host SMEs as a tool of their sports diplomacy in order to pursue some of their (foreign policy) goals, such as showcasing themselves on the global scale, nation branding, repositioning, attracting foreign investments, increasing tourism etc. As the host of both the next football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016, Brazil has an opportunity to show the world the vitality of its emerging power.

However, Brazil’s soft power and its recent public diplomacy efforts to attract visitors to the World Cup and to convince them about Brazil’s exotic and passionate culture are seriously endangered by the protests. A successful national brand cannot be established if there is a big discrepancy between domestic and foreign policy. While the World Cup will definitely bring some benefits, only a small percantage of the population will benefit. Brazil should therefore seriously rethink its spending. The role of the state is to take care of their citizens, provide them with basic services and put their demands before the demands and expectations of FIFA, IOC, corporate sponsors and as well – us, the international (sports) public who is looking forward to the spectacle without questioning its legitimacy. It’s probably too late to prevent the World Cup from happening, but it’s not too late for structural reforms and tackling inequality. If there’s money for the stadiums, there should be money for hospitals and schools as well. Image from entry

Moroccan Ministry of F.A launches English version of its Internet portal - Tarik El Baraka, "Karim Medrek, director of public diplomacy and non-state actors at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told MWN that the launching of this version, directed mainly to the English-speaking audience, falls in the context of the strategy implemented by the Ministry in the field of news and communications. Medrek pointed out that the new portal will put at the disposal of its visitors a set of documents that relate to current events and diverse news in the English language.

He went on to add that new portal will also enable the international public opinion to know the position of Morocco regarding a number of international issues, as well as Morocco’s bilateral/multilateral agreements in the political, economic and cultural areas. This initiative aims to promote the openness of the Ministry over its external environment and its clear will to strengthen its position on the Internet, Mr. Medrek added." Image from entry

Impressions of city’s annual two sessions - Deniz Eke, Global Times: "I have been following the annual sessions of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress and the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) for the last three years. I find these occasions important for us foreign diplomats in Shanghai because they provide a compact summary of the past year, and of the future plans of the city leadership. ... Over the past few years, the People's Political Consultative Conference has ... been quite active in public diplomacy and must be commended for its contributions in promoting mutual understanding between the Chinese and other peoples. ... The author is the Consul General of Turkey in Shanghai."

Annan-Led Elders Arrive in Tehran - "The Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Public Diplomacy Department has said the Elders group headed by Kofi Annan has arrived in Tehran on Sunday, Mehr news agency reported. The Elders is a group commissioned by late Nelson Mandela and consists of peace advocates Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general, Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, former Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico and many others."

Somaliland: Ethiopia to Share Economic Growth with Neighbours - Yusuf M Hasan, "The Ethiopian Consulate in Hargeisa Somaliland issues an average of 60 visas on a daily basis for Somaliland and Somalia passport holders.

This was informed by the head of Public diplomacy and Diaspora affairs Counselor Mulugeta Anagaw during an interview with Somalilandsun at his Hargeisa office where he also informed that his government which welcomes peaceful dissent will no hesitate to take action when Ethiopia's security is at risk." Image from

Polling the Middle East: UAE, China, Russia Up - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence

What Is Digital Diplomacy? - "Foreign and Domestic Digital Diplomacy [:] Based on past and current research, we see Digital Diplomacy as having four primary aspects to it; direct foreign engagement with a target country, domestic awareness of foreign policy, domestic public diplomacy (domestic matters where government engages with citizens through digital channels) and engagement of diaspora communities at home and abroad. Digital Diplomacy Architecture [:] We express this (sans domestic public diplomacy) in the following communications architecture for digital diplomacy, which we will expand upon on in later analysis. This diagram

is meant to show how digital diplomacy is applied. The dash lines mean that the primary message may be edited or adapted by the initial recipient before reaching the true target audience. Always, the true target audience is the foreign government in power at the time (or perhaps the potential government in power?). Image from entry

“Obstacles to Public Diplomacy”: A Lecture by Laura Merickova, PhD. Student, Faculty of International Relations, University of Economics in Bratislava [video] - institute for cultural diplomacy

CPI Contributor: Gary Rawnsley - China Policy Institute Blog: "Written by Gary Rawnsley. My work is situated at the intersection of international communications and international relations. It is informed by the belief that it is impossible to understand modern politics at the domestic or international level without considering the role and function of communications processes and technologies.

Hence I look at mediated and increasingly non-mediated forms of communication. I am particularly interested in strategic communications, and have written extensively on propaganda, public diplomacy, soft power, media-military relations, cyber warfare and cultural diplomacy. While my work is not confined to any particular geographic area, my principal focus is East Asia, and especially China and Taiwan. ... Gary Rawnsley is Professor of Public Diplomacy in the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University." Uncaptioned image from entry

In The Wild: Tom Wein - "Tom Wein ... is a behavioural change consultant who has led major primary research projects to tackle counter-radicalization, aid security sector reform, plan public diplomacy efforts and design communication strategies. He currently works on behavioural change for national security, principally for the consultancy SCL.

He read War Studies at King’s College, London, and has also worked for the European Defence Agency in Brussels as a communications consultant." Uncaptioned image from entry

Israel News Feeds - "This blog is dedicated to bringing you reliable news coverages from Israel. In addition, it is the purpose of this blog to bring attention to new and worthy media sources, public diplomacy videos, blogs, and organizations etc. This blog is unapologeticaly pro Zionist and in support of the vision to build up and establish the promised homeland of the Jewish people. With the hope that you will be benefited and informed through this effort, you are welcomed. Blessings from Zion, Doron Keidar"


Iran: A Good Deal Now in Danger - Jessica T. Mathews, New York Review of Books: For the first time in decades, the US has an opportunity to test whether it can reach a settlement with Iran that would turn what may still be an active weapons program into a transparent, internationally monitored, civilian program. The pressure of multilateral sanctions, the president’s willingness to engage in serious negotiations, and the change in Iran’s domestic politics have come together to produce this moment. A final agreement is by no means assured, but the opportunity is assuredly here. The price of an agreement will be accepting a thoroughly monitored, appropriately sized enrichment program in Iran that does not rise over 5 percent. The alternatives are war or a nuclear-armed Iran. Should this be a hard choice? Astonishingly, too many members of Congress seem to think so.

In The Spotlight: Movie is a far cry from pro-war propaganda - Janie Beharelle, Since "Lone Survivor," which was based on a true story, has been released, some liberals have portrayed it as a piece of pro-war propaganda. Nothing could be further from the truth. The movie is very graphic, but it shows what Navy Seals go through just to become a member of that elite group. It traces the steps of four brave men who have a very difficult decision to make during their mission to kill an enemy leader. It is told through the eyes of a soldier trying to carry out a very dangerous mission.

These brave young men fought with honor, dignity and pure "guts" to try and survive a mission gone bad, in a mountainous terrain thousands of miles from the safety of their country. Image from

Is Narendra Modi using Bollywood in his propaganda strategy? - Prateek Sur, NaMo, a film based on the life of politician Narendra Modi has found its director inKamasutra 3D filmmaker Rupesh Paul. The makers of the film have been looking for the perfect person to direct the biopic and finally, after seeing the promos ofKamasutra 3D, they chose Paul. The producers are looking for someone who could bring the new 4D technology to India, and have found a Korean company to install the equipment across theatres in India at a minimum budget of Rs 18 lakhs.

This will be the first time that any Indian movie will be made in this format. The 4D effect will simulate the feel of rain, wind, lightning and vibrations, as well as attract viewers to special smells, smoke, air bubbles, strobe lights and more. NaMo is slated to go on the floors by February 15 and is likely to star some of the biggest names in B-Town. Announcements about which actors will portray the adolescent and veteran stages of Narendra Modi will be made in the next week. The filmmakers have given an assurance that NaMo is not just based on the life of the political leader, but will also be a portrayal of his charisma and its effect on the Indian polity. But who has backed the project financially? We already know that the 4D format needs a lot ofmoolah. Add to that the cost of Bollywood A-listers being considered for the movie and our question is valid indeed. Is Modi’s national party supporting the project to make it a good promotional strategy for the elections? After all, we all know that movies are far-reaching and influential and can alter the mindsets of people. We also know that politicians can stoop to any level to hold the nation’s reins in their hands. Is NaMo an attempt to woo voters? Image from entry, with caption: A biopic is being made on India’s controversial politician. Interestingly, it might be released just before the general elections…

Carthaginians sacrificed own children, archaeologists say: Graves holding tiny cremated bones confirm accounts dismissed as Greek or Roman black propaganda, study shows - Maev Kennedy, The Guardian: Just as ancient Greek and Roman propagandists insisted, the Carthaginians did kill their own infant children, burying them with sacrificed animals and ritual inscriptions in special cemeteries to give thanks for favours from the gods, according to a new study. "This is something dismissed as black propaganda because in modern times people just didn't want to believe it," said Josephine Quinn, a lecturer in ancient history at Oxford, who is behind the study, with international colleagues, of one of the most bitterly debated questions in classical archaeology.

"But when you pull together all the evidence – archaeological, epigraphic and literary – it is overwhelming and, we believe, conclusive: they did kill their children, and on the evidence of the inscriptions, not just as an offering for future favours but fulfilling a promise that had already been made. "This was not a common event, and it must have been among an elite because cremation was very expensive, and so was the ritual of burial. It may even have been seen as a philanthropic act for the good of the whole community." Quinn said many of her academic colleagues were appalled by her conclusions. "The feeling that some ultimate taboo is being broken is very strong. It was striking how often colleagues, when they asked what I was working on, reacted in horror and said, 'Oh no, that's simply not possible, you must have got it wrong.'" "We like to think that we're quite close to the ancient world, that they were really just like us – the truth is, I'm afraid, that they really weren't." Image from entry, with caption: A tophet outside Carthage, a special part of a cemetery dedicated to the burial of infants, according to Josephine Quinn

Artist explores 'The Thin Line Between Propaganda and Persuasion' - Leslie Renken, While working on his thesis at Southern Illinois University, Ryan Jenkins collected front page photographs from four nationally-circulated U.S. newspapers for six months. Jenkins, 32, was using the images in artwork for his master's in fine art thesis show "The Thin Line Between Propaganda and Persuasion." Jenkins was disturbed by the emergence of the same themes, over and over, in images of violent confrontations around the globe. "I found an abundance of victim vs. savior models — the same kind of photographs being taken in different war-torn areas, and the same from civil unrest," said Jenkins. "There was an overabundance of police force, with the protestors fighting back and the women being the victim of arrest." The recurring themes that Jenkins saw were of men taking active roles — shouting, waving AK-47s — and women being victims — carrying away the dead, being handcuffed and silenced by arrest. After a while he began to wonder if there was a bias — were the editors of these large daily newspapers choosing the same type of sensationalist images in an effort to sell newspapers? In his work Jenkins juxtaposes images from modern conflicts with Russian propaganda posters of the early 20th century.

Lessons in Propaganda: Slavko Martinov at TEDxChristchurch [includes video] - sharpsteve, In 2003, New Zealand born Slavko Martinov found himself more and more critical of everything he was seeing, reading, and hearing, and wanted to get to the bottom of the 'united recipe behind all the lies'. He set out to make a film about propaganda, despite never having made a feature film before. Slavko worked in secret for almost a decade, with zero funding, through two major earthquakes, three different jobs, being hospitalized with a heart infection, and an interview with the Counter-Terrorism Unit before the film Propaganda was finally launched on YouTube Although Slavko anticipated a strong reaction to the propumentary, the resulting real-life scenes that unfolded will have you wondering if they were also part of a movie: Slavko and his small team were investigated by the South Korean government, accused of being spies, and some were even ostracized by their community leaders for having taken part in making the film.

Propaganda posters show a dark world where Voldemort won - What if? Such a simple question but laced with myriad possibilities. What if I’d not eaten that second burrito for lunch? What if updating my Facebook status while inebriated didn’t always seem like such a good idea? What if Voldemort had defeated Harry Potter in their climactic battle? While I’ll probably never get an answer to the first two questions, the guys over at Pragmatique have attempted to answer the third and given us a glimpse of a world where Harry was vanquished through a series of beautifully crafted propaganda posters. Among them:


--Via AA on Facebook