Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 15 Public Diplomacy Review

"[W]e live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world."

--One fanciful possibility; image from


Foreign Policy in Stereo | Digital Diplomacy Series at the Italian Embassy - The Daily: Canada 2.0; The Daily: Canada 2.0">via

SHOWstudio: Proud to Protest: The Fashion Community Support Russia's LGBTI Community - "Kate Moss has become the latest star to stand up against Vladimir Putin’s controversial anti-gay propaganda la Kate Moss has become the latest star to stand up against Vladimir Putin’s controversial anti-gay propaganda laws in a new campaign for Amnesty International. The supermodel, alongside a whole cast of leading fashion figures, can be seen wearing a balaclava

in a dramatic short film created by designer Gareth Pugh, filmmaker Ruth Hogben and photographer Nick Knight in collaboration and his website SHOWstudio." Image from entry


The Daily: Canada 2.0 - Michael Ardaiolo, Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day.


U.S. Department of State to Participate in Social Media Week New York -- Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC - "The U.S. Department of State will sponsor a panel discussion, 'Digital Diplomacy: Making Foreign Policy Less Foreign,' as part of Social Media Week New York on February 18 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Foreign Press Center in New York City. The panel will highlight ways the State Department is using social media to conduct diplomacy and consider both the opportunities and challenges of digital statecraft.

The State Department’s public diplomacy mandate is to engage the world, advance national security and keep Americans informed. Social media is an increasingly important tool in this mission. The panel will be moderated by Emily Parker (@emilydparker), author of Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground and digital diplomacy advisor and senior fellow at the New America Foundation. Panelists will include Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Doug Frantz (@StateDept) and Coordinator of International Information Programs Macon Phillips (@macon44). Assistant Secretary for Education and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan (@ECA_AS) will join via digital video conference. The event will also be live-streamed at: Questions for the panel can be suggested to Emily Parker at (@emilydparker) using the hashtag #SMWState. Journalists interested in participating in the event in New York should contact the New York Foreign Press Center ( To participate in Washington, contact Washington Foreign Press Center Media Relations Officer Stephanie Kuck (" Image from

Improving the ‘Art’ of Diplomacy with Foreign Languages - Sharon Hudson-Dean, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Since 1947, the Foreign Service Institute, which is housed at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, has trained U.S. diplomats, military attaches, development aid managers, information systems operators, and many others for U.S. government service abroad, now averaging over 100,000 enrollments annually. Today, the 72 acre government training oasis in Arlington, VA instructs over 2,000 students per day in foreign languages, regional studies, economics, leadership skills, and functional specialties. ... While the soft diplomacy value of showing respect for a host country’s native language is in many cases priceless, the value of participating in the society without any filters is even more valuable in today’s touch-and-go foreign policy world. ... [L]iberation leader Nelson Mandela famously said, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."

Sri Lanka Issues and U.S.: Assessing LTTE rump strategy - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "I read with interest a point Sri Lanka's presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga made at a media briefing on Wednesday, February 12 in Colombo presenting his take of men and matters and events during his most recent diplomatic endeavor in Geneva and Washington, D.C. to explain the 'Sri Lanka side of the story' as opposed to the 'story' given by the separatist/Tiger activists within the Tamil Diaspora for many years before and after the domestic demise of the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. The interesting point Mr. Weeratunga made at this briefing was that an 'Anti-Lanka (US) lawmaker couldn't spot Sri Lanka on the map'. This is encouraging because Sri Lanka's public affairs, public diplomacy and strategic communication should start at this point, educating about this South Asian nation, its strategic location off the southern tip of India (as John Kerry underscored in his Senate foreign relations committee's December 2009 report), the tourist attraction, the

magnificent beaches in the East Coast, and of course world famous 'Ceylon Tea' slowly travelling to national political issues of Sri Lanka. The Americans too faced a similar situation: In 1979, Colombo American Embassy's public affairs unit, the United States Information Service, faced a similar situation when both government and opposition politicians initiated massive anti-American demonstrations outside its diplomatic chancery, media went rampage denouncing the United States, and a hostile atmosphere toward American presence in Sri Lanka was rapidly building to the reports that the Massachusetts State Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution in support of the TULF 'Vadukkodai Resolution' declaring that the Tamil Minority had the right to their 'homeland', they have the right to self-determination and the supreme right to secede from Sri Lanka to have their own independent/sovereign state in the north and east of the country. That the United States administration was supporting the division of Sri Lanka witnessed by several TULF leaders including M.Sivasithabaram at the gallery of the State House when the resolution was adopted. The heat was increasing when the public affairs unit staff with two (US) foreign service officers (FSOs) in attendance and chaired by the deputy chief of mission (DCM) to figure out the strategy to defuse the situation. This writer who was a public affairs assistant was one of many in that group when the issue arose what leverage the Massachusetts State Assembly had with the (federal/central) American administration in Washington headed by the president and the (US) Congress which is the supreme lawmaking body of the nation. It was construed that there was a utter lack of understanding of the American system, three separate arms (executive, legislature and judiciary) and that there were fifty autonomous states one of which was Massachusetts and that the adoption of the 'Eelam' resolution did not at all reflected the sentiments of either the White House (Executive) or the Congress (bicameral lawmaking body) but an independent effort by the Massachusetts legislature influenced by the separatist lobby in the US and Sri Lanka. The decision at that meeting was to start from scratch and explain the American system to selected/leading Sri Lanka lawmakers (troublemakers included), the media and one-on-one and group meetings with editors/lead writers of all newspapers (which included B.A. Siriwardene, editor of the Communist Party daily Aththa, write feature articles for the media explaining the system. The exercise brought dividends, and the anti-American sentiments were laid to rest and the campaign accusing the United States fizzled out to the satisfaction of the ambassador and Washington. It is a futile attempt for Sri Lanka to engage in search of the 'best' Washington lobbying firm to pass the message Sri Lanka needs to give to policymakers and lawmakers if those who are engaged in external affairs and foreign policy unable to 'educate' the handlers of the US$66,000 a month lobbying firm that not the entire minority (12%) Tamil population in Sri Lanka rose in unison to destabilize Sri Lanka but a handful of 'adventurists' led by Prabhaharan terrorized the entire nation. (The Asian Tribune in a previous report highlighted the wrong message the Thompson lobbying firm disseminated to the US lawmakers in a letter)." Image from

The Trouble with Propaganda: the Second World War, Franco's Spain, and the Origins of US Post-War Public Diplomacy - Pablo León-Aguinaga, The International History Review: "Abstract [:] This paper explores the internecine conflict that characterised and undermined US propaganda toward neutral Spain in the Second World War. These tensions primarily confronted those who saw US propaganda as an ideological weapon of mass persuasion in a crusade against Fascism with those who defended that US informational and cultural operations should be subservient to traditional diplomacy, and so be limited to explaining US foreign policy and advancing bilateral friendship. In addition, the article argues that the unambiguous subordination of propaganda to diplomacy that characterised US public diplomacy during the cold war was one of the lessons learnt out of the civil war that US propagandists fought over Spain between 1941 and early 1945." See also.

Meet the Patron of American Modern Art: The CIA - Alex Mayyasi, "Modern art was merely one campaign in the cultural cold war. The CIA covertly subsidized a European tour for the Boston Symphony that established it as world class, sent prominent American authors on book tours, and, most importantly, funded books, conferences, and magazines of arts and letters that took a critical stance on the Soviet Union. Many European intellectuals admired communism and looked to Moscow as an example. The CIA decided it needed to win over Europe’s 'educated and cultured classes' to prevent communist revolutions from sweeping Western Europe. ... America’s cultural war waned after the revelations of the CIA’s role in the late sixties. Interest waxed once again after September 11, when diplomats and foreign affairs types began to speak earnestly of 'public diplomacy' — cultural/education programs and information policy. Or, as it’s sometimes catchphrased, 'telling America’s story to the world.' ... Foreign policy experts talked up soft power — the ability to establish preferences and norms 'associated with intangible power resources such as culture, ideology, and institutions' — and advocated for more funds and attention to public diplomacy as a way to exert it. They were calling for the same belief in the power of culture and ideas that motivated the cultural Cold War. Today American diplomats run exchange programs for promising foreign students and organize performances by American artists.

The U.S. Government-run Voice of America broadcasts news around the world. Archeologists partner with foreign counterparts in sponsored cultural preservation projects. But public diplomacy did not get the priority its advocates hoped. A 2005 report states: ['] After the Cold War, when cultural diplomacy ceased to be a priority, funding for its programs fell dramatically. Since 1993, budgets have fallen by nearly 30%, staff has been cut by about 30% overseas and 20% in the U.S., and dozens of cultural centers, libraries and branch posts have been closed.[']In 1999, an official cultural diplomacy policy was the casualty of bureaucratic adjustments. That remains the case today. Of course, despite the advocates’ belief in the value of public diplomacy, it’s not a silver bullet for America’s image problem. While the CIA touts the Congress for Cultural Freedom as 'widely considered one of the CIA’s more daring and effective Cold War covert operations,' most observers note the difficulty in trying to draw any conclusions about its effectiveness. And actions speak louder than words, something comically shown when CIA funding helped send an American poet on a tour in South America to improve the country’s image — tarnished by the CIA backed coup of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz. The recent news that the State Department spent over $600,000 buying Facebook Likes also provides reason to question how the department is spending the budget it currently has for public diplomacy." Image from

Ottawa’s embrace of Twitter diplomacy will fail without greater openness - Roland Paris, The Globe and Mail: "After years of sitting on the sidelines, Canada finally seems to be taking digital diplomacy seriously. Foreign Minister John Baird delivered a speech on Friday – appropriately in Silicon Valley, the world’s capital of technological innovation – calling on Canadian diplomats to make greater use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media in their work. 'The closed world of démarches, summits, and diplomatic dinners,' he said, 'is no longer sufficient to project our values and interests.' ... What is still missing in the Canadian approach, however, is the recognition that digital diplomacy involves, at its core, a willingness to engage in two-way communications between government officials and interlocutors of various types. This requires, in turn, both a social-media presence (accounts with followers) and a policy framework allowing diplomats to communicate in the relatively informal and rapid style of these media. In his speech this week, John Baird suggested that Canada is belatedly getting into the digital diplomacy game.

He told his audience that diplomacy may never live up to the Silicon Valley mantra of 'move fast and break things,' but that in the 'environment of instant communication and social media, we do have to move faster and not be afraid to try new things or to make mistakes.' Further, Mr. Baird’s office reports that in the last six months, the foreign ministry has launched 60 new accounts on Twitter and another 50 on Facebook. Clearly, the push is on. But whether the Harper government will really 'not be afraid…to make mistakes' in digital diplomacy remains to be seen. ... Even more fundamentally, new public diplomacy strategies do nothing to address the principal deficiency of Conservative foreign policy: the fact that the Harper government has burned more bridges than it has built over the past eight years. A country in Canada’s position – of middling size, yet open and vulnerable to global forces – must cultivate constructive relationships with a broad array of actors and deftly leverage these relationships, including in multilateral institutions, if it hopes to shape the course of events in its favour. Shouting from the sidelines accomplishes little, other than making our partners and adversaries alike reach for the mute button. In spite of all this, Mr. Baird deserves credit for finally acknowledging that a genuine embrace of digital diplomacy is necessary – and that it involves a greater acceptance of risk-taking from his own control-freak government. Of course, the meat and potatoes of diplomacy will always be private state-to-state communications. However, unless our diplomats are permitted to engage with governmental and non-governmental interlocutors in real-time, Canada will remain on the margins of the biggest technological revolution to hit the practice of public diplomacy in a generation." Image from

Public diplomacy in a networked world - Stephen Waddington, "As a diplomat, I’m fascinated by the growing trend of Foreign Ministries using social media as part of their public diplomacy tool kit. According to @DigiDiplomats 77 Foreign Ministries now have official twitter accounts, and the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has over 120 twitter channels and 120 Facebook pages. Tweeting Ambassadors, ‘liking’ Embassy Facebook statuses, and checking out Instagram accounts of a government minister’s visit to a distant country are increasingly the norm. Public diplomacy, like public relations, has evolved as society has changed. It’s come a long way from the days of the Cold War where the word propaganda was regularly used to describe the discipline. ... While practitioners understood the potential for social media to facilitate dialogue, very few practiced it. Most still used social media to broadcast messages with very little interaction with publics. As a result, we’re probably losing the opportunity to build relationships with important individuals and groups, limiting our ability to influence. It is also difficult to measure impact without any feedback.
There was strong evidence public diplomacy practitioners recognised that social media was forcing diplomacy to become more transparent and more consultative, putting the public into public diplomacy.

But there was concern about losing control of messaging by using social media. An interesting dilemma. ... Putting aside the argument of whether we ever had ‘control’, the instincts of some practitioners to control the message clearly doesn’t fit with the ‘democratisation’ of information that social media is facilitating. And if our aim is to enter into dialogue with publics, then by definition we can’t get too hung up about handing over control of one half of that conversation. ... Just as public diplomacy is gearing up its use of social media, we find the public are treating communication from ‘official’ sources with more and more scepticism, preferring to trust their peers. ... Awareness of the important role social media based dialogue can play in achieving organisational objectives is also on the up. But blockages remain to mainstreaming it across the profession. I’d advocate going back to basics and drawing on the foundation of good public relations and public diplomacy practice, namely being clear what we want to achieve, working out who we need to speak to get there, and work out if it’s been achieved." Waddington image from entry

Hopes for improved Sino-Japanese relations - "Japan has repeatedly apologised for the regrettable acts that were committed under Imperial Japan, yet much of Asia still doubt the sincerity of these apologies. Japan’s public diplomacy strategy to portray itself as a reformed state, repentant of its previous actions, has fallen flat and failed to convince its neighbours. To combat this Japan needs to employ a better, more coherent public diplomacy policy than it has employed up until now.

Part of the reason for the continued suspicion of Japan is because Japan continues to honour its war dead that were responsible for the aggression and war crimes committed during the 1930s and 40s, demonstrating in the minds of many Asians a disconnect between actions and words. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently angered many Asian leaders when he visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which holds the remains of, among others, 14 war criminals. ... Removing the remains of war criminals from the Yasukuni Shrine therefore seems a good place to begin. Of course there are issues that Japanese culture dictates reverence and respect for ancestors, yet to make such a public change would prove to be a strongly positive piece of public diplomacy and would make changing the Japanese constitution far more palatable for the majority of states in the region." Image from entry, with caption: The Yasukuni Shrine 2012

Israeli’s [sic] top Minister tours three African nations - "Israel’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Mr Yair Shamir, is scheduled to pay an official visit to Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia. He will first go to Nigeria, and then come to Ghana beginning from March 2 to 4, 2014, after which he would finally proceed to Ethiopia. Ms Mina Okuru, Public Diplomacy Coordinator, Embassy of Israel in Accra said in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday."

the US and some distrust of China - "Beijing Times reporter intern reporter Fanrui quotient West Minister speech reception 64 foreign leaders, president of China Association of Chinese public diplomacy, former Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing yesterday hosted the '2013 China and the World' seminar with former ambassadors and diplomatic experts and so on to discuss the new government’s foreign ideas, new relations among major powers, neighboring diplomacy, public diplomacy and other issues. The opening ceremony, Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a keynote speech, Chinese Foreign inventory year, that under the new international and domestic situation, China’s diplomacy to broader horizons, more aggressive stance on a global scale, the initiative planning, proactive,...the courage to play, innovation, and through an extraordinary year. ... Zhao: China has begun to share the dream of the Eleventh CPPCC Foreign Affairs Committee and the world, the incumbent president of Renmin University of China School of Journalism at the forum yesterday, Zhao pointed out that China dream and the American dream alone is good or bad, 'we dream the urgency and intensity than in some countries.' Zhao said that this dream has welcomed the Chinese, there is doubt, there is speculation, it was the intention of the 'China Dream' distorted understanding of 'hegemony Dream', which need to explain China’s domestic and foreign policy to the world through public diplomacy, indicating Chinese dream is the dream of friendship, help foreign public awareness and understanding of the real China, not false Chinese. ... Li Zhaoxing saying that, Wang walked lightweight steps onto the stage, did not say a few words, it helped Li playing the ad. 'I’m glad first came to China Association of Public Diplomacy,' Wang said, 'China’s public diplomacy Association brought together a large number of Chinese diplomatic veteran boss to make our international relations and world elite, especially our president Li old leadership, we have great respect for him."

Youth in the GCC: Towards an Innovative Future! - Amal Al Hamad, Head of GCC Delegation in Brussels, "The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have one valuable asset to capitalize on, besides oil and gas resources, and it is definitely youth! The six member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) represent one of the youngest regions in the world today, where more than half of the population is less than 25 years of age, and the population will remain predominantly young in the decades to come. ... The EU and the GCC

already enjoy a history of cooperation in the fields of research and education, specifically through the INCONET-GCC, the exchange of students via the ERASMUS MUNDUS Programme, as well as through people-to-people contacts currently taking place under the Public Diplomacy Project which offers relevant training opportunities for GCC academics and students. But cooperation in the service of youth can be taken to a higher level still. At the World Innovation Summit for Education held in Doha on October 29th 2013, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, clearly called for stronger partnerships in education and culture and for more exchanges of students, artists and university staff between both regions. This could be an additional step towards strengthening our cooperation in areas that directly concern our younger generation. The EU’s experience in this field is of particular interest to us." Image from

‘Birthright for Mothers’ - Suzanne Pollak, "The Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project is partnering with Israel’s Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs to bring 2,500 mothers of varying religious affiliation to Israel for nine-days of touring and education. The idea is to strengthen Jewish identity in the Diaspora, while including 'the feminine essence which is so very important,' Margarita Spichko, the ministry’s manager at the Public Diplomacy Office, told a group of 125 women gathered in Silver Spring for a JWRP leadership conference that began Sunday."

Meeting Ukip halfway would be a disaster for the Tories: A lurch to the Right may be tempting after Wythenshawe, but what voters want to see is a Prime Minister who handles the big issues like a true statesman - Matthew d’Ancona, "The great Tory failure has not been one of action but of public diplomacy. ... The way for the Conservatives to win blue-collar votes in seats such as Wythenshawe is not to fume rhetorically, or to deplore immigrants who come here to work legitimately, but to declare again and again that Cameron has headed a Coalition which has lifted millions out of income tax altogether, provided the economic stability, welfare reforms and apprenticeships that lead to work, and introduced the 'Help to Buy' scheme to help the next generation get on to the property ladder."

Harvard forum tackles key issues in global citizenship - Ben Lamont, "Adams House - one of the twelve undergraduate 'Houses' or dormitories at Harvard - recently hosted a conference on the “global citizenship.”  At the closing event, having been asked what he had written about this topic, Amartya Sen said, 'I’m not sure that I’ve written about global citizens, but I suppose I am one, which is easier.' Sen was the cream of a crop of expert speakers marshaled from across Boston, as well as from New York City, Wellington, New Zealand, and Washington, D.C. Interestingly, this small, optimistic conference in Boston neatly

overlapped with larger diplomatic gatherings in Switzerland (Davos and Geneva II) that produced little cause for optimism. Tackling issues ranging from reconstruction in Chilean disaster areas to security in East Asia to foreign public diplomacy in the US, the conference’s speakers raised awareness of different aspects of global citizenship and provided insights from their rich professional experience." Image from

On Referenda: Switzerland and immigration, 2014 - Public Diplomacy and International Communications: Thoughts and comments about public diplomacy, soft power and international communications by Gary Rawnsley."[W]e cannot expect referenda to reproduce the conditions and effects of a direct form of democracy. At best, they are a useful but flawed device of political communication; at worst, they are an expression of ill-informed populism."

Taming Tahrir (Part 2): re-appropriating Al-Midan and co-opting memory - Marwa Fikry Abdel Samei, "Marwa Fikry Abdel Samei is Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University. She completed a PhD at Northeastern University on mass media and public diplomacy in the contemporary Arab world. Recent publications focus on rise of Islamists after the Arab Spring."


The U.S. must take action to deal with al-Qaeda in Syria - Samuel R. Berger, Washington Post: When we look at Syria, we cannot simply see missed opportunities from three years of conflict. Core U.S. interests are at stake, and the status quo cannot continue. We must alter the circumstances to protect ourselves and to return to the negotiating table in a position to succeed.

The high price of negotiating with bad guys - Michael Rubin, Washington Post: While Obama’s embrace of negotiation with America’s enemies seems to have become the norm in U.S. foreign policy circles, it represents a sharp departure from past administrations and from generally accepted statecraft.

History shows that this approach offers very high, if unintended, costs. Just because military and economic strategies have costs does not make dialogue the answer. Diplomatic processes help dictators avoid accountability. Image from

Propaganda Coup for Beijing: The most significant result of the February 2014 cross-strait talks is just how much Beijing gained in propaganda terms - J. Michael Cole, As Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi was wrapping up his four-day official visit to China on February 14, it was clear that the event, groundbreaking though it may have been, delivered very little in terms of concrete results — except one thing: a propaganda coup for Beijing. No sooner had Wang landed in Nanjing for a series of meetings than international media and China’s propaganda arm hailed the breakthrough as something of great significance. But while tensions in the Taiwan Strait have undeniably diminished in recent years, the underlying conflict, which stems from irreconcilable contradictions in the two political systems and ways of life, remains and will likely become starker over the next decade. Opinion polls in Taiwan have consistently shown a preference for the “status quo” (de facto independence), or independence, with very little support for unification. Simultaneously, Taiwanese have shown themselves amenable to closer relations — normalized relations — with China. In other words, they want Taiwan, or the ROC, to be treated as an equal and sovereign entity.

EU Bosses Step Up Bullying, Propaganda to Combat Euroskepticism - William F. Jasper, Viviane Reding 9right), the controversial and voluble European justice commissioner, was in London on February 10 for a public debate on “The Future of Europe,” part of a “Citizens’ Dialogue” series launched by the commission in 2013 as a key element of a year-long propaganda blitz.

That blitz is aimed at influencing the vote for the 751 members of the European Parliament in elections that will take place in every member state from May 22-25. Reding’s event in London, according to the EU Commission’s press office, was the 44th of “more than 47 such meetings” planned throughout the continent, together with a massive propaganda campaign involving television programming, social media trolling, literature distribution, and other costly schemes that have been drawing widespread criticism, even from political and media sectors that are normally supportive of the EU. The truculence of Reding and her boss, Commission President José Manuel Barroso (shown on left), are adding to the growing outrage and anger toward Brussels. The anti-EU sentiments are running especially strong in Britain, Germany, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, and the Netherlands (the latter of which was a founding member of the six-nation pact that grew into the EU).

Russia blocked an Olympian’s website for ‘gay propaganda’ after seeing this picture - Canadian bobsledder Justin Kripps’ website has been blocked in Russia, after he posted a picture of

his bobsled team in their pants. Image from entry

Persuasive Posters -- A propaganda collage craft for the home - Who ever said propaganda was only useful for a war effort? It’s even better put to work on the “home front!”. This month our kids craft item is inspired by our exhibition Persuasion: US Propaganda posters from WW2. Full of vibrant colours, retro graphics and unashamed slogans it made us feel like making a very persuasive poster of our very own. And what better place to start than selling good manners, etiquette, hygiene and all such behaviours that distinguish your little “do bees” from your “don’t bees”. Here’s hoping a bit of poster magic can turn them into a food-eater, a bed-goer, a play-safe and a tooth-brusher! Image from entry

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