WELCOME TO SOCHI
---Caitlin Dewey, "Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hilarious and gross hotel experiences," Washington Post; see also John Brown, "A Secret CIA Plan to Save the Sochi Olympics: Bring on the NFL," Huffington Post
ITEM OF INTEREST
Around the World! - diplomaticourier.com: "Welcome to Around the World! This week we feature discussions on the future of work, public diplomacy disasters, and more!"
Teufelsberg, or Devil’s Mountain, includes an abandoned Cold War N.S.A. listening post in Berlin that has evolved into a de facto art installation - Erik Olsen, New York Times; image from
Prerogatives of Power - Noam Chomsky, Truthout: "As the year 2013 drew to an end, the BBC reported on the results of the WIN/Gallup International poll on the question: 'Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?' The United States was the champion by a substantial margin, winning three times the votes of second-place Pakistan. By contrast, the debate in American scholarly and media circles is about whether Iran can be contained, and whether the huge NSA surveillance system is needed to protect U.S. security. ... A normal country would be concerned by how it is viewed in the world.
Certainly that would be true of a country committed to 'a decent respect to the opinions of mankind,' to quote the Founding Fathers. But the United States is far from a normal country. It has had the most powerful economy in the world for a century, and has had no real challenge to its global hegemony since World War II, despite some decline, partly self-administered. The U.S., conscious of 'soft power,' undertakes major campaigns of 'public diplomacy' (aka propaganda) to create a favorable image, sometimes accompanied by worthwhile policies that are welcomed. But when the world persists in believing that the United States is by far the greatest threat to peace, the American press scarcely reports the fact." Uncaptioned image from entry
Kerry’s Lost Opportunity for Transatlantic Relations - Judy Dempsey, carnegieeurope.eu: "'If the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama wants to start rebuilding trust in the transatlantic relationship, it needs to embark on much more active public diplomacy.'And that means sending very senior people to European countries to do just that,' said Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia, who ... took part in the Munich summit."
Hillary or Kerry? It’s still early days: Any debate on who was a better choice as secretary of state demands a certain objective detachment for a truly dispassionate analysis - Gordon Robison, Gulf News: "Hillary’s heavy schedule of public diplomacy may have left less time for traditional behind-the-scenes talks, but without at least some global shift in attitudes, it was always going to be hard for the Obama administration
to push forward with its foreign policies. ... Politics and diplomacy have presented Kerry and Hillary with different circumstances — and it has done so at different moments in each figure’s political journey. The time for assessment will come later when Kerry, too, is out of public life and the long-term successes and failures of both can be viewed with at least some detachment." Kerry/Clinton image from
US ambassador to Russia stepping down - Lynn Berry, lacrossetribune.com: "U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, the architect of President Barack Obama's effort to reset relations with Russian, announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down after two turbulent years in Moscow. ... Putin has accused the U.S. State Department of instigating the protests and more generally seeking to weaken Russia. His anti-American rhetoric plays well among most Russians, who still harbor deep suspicions of U.S. intentions two decades after the end of the Cold War. 'I have tried so many different ways to battle this,' McFaul said. 'I see opinion poll data. I'm an academic [.] I take a particular interest in measuring results of our public diplomacy, and that piece is frustrating to me because it's just not our policy, it's not what we're trying to do here. So that's a failure I would say.'"
It’s Time, My Friend, It’s Time - Michael McFaul on Facebook: "This is my last blog as the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. Soon after the Olympics, I plan to rejoin my family in California. After more than five years working in the Obama administration, it is time to go home. ... In particular, I think we have demonstrated that we can engage directly with civil society and stand up for universal values while continuing to cooperate with the Russian government on a whole host of issues. ... I also am proud of some of the diplomatic innovations that our embassy has initiated during my time in Russia, especially regarding public diplomacy. Before I came to Moscow as ambassador, I had never seen a tweet. Yet, I now interact everyday with 60,000 followers on Twitter and more than 13,000 'friends' on Facebook, and our Tweetchats can reach hundreds of thousands in a matter of minutes. ... Conducting lengthy interviews in my flawed Russian on TV Dozhd, Ekho Moskvy, or Vecherniy Urgant was not easy. Yet, I always felt it was best to show my respect for Russia by speaking in your language. Live interviews also tend to be more direct and open, features I tried to bring to my diplomacy every day. I also enjoyed giving lectures in Russian to thousands of university students, complete with slides (that also may be a diplomatic first here!). And some of my most memorable public interactions were at standing-room-only sessions at American Corners in Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok, Volgograd, St. Petersburg, and Moscow. Thousands of Russians showed up to engage with me on everything from Syria to my broken finger. These were not gatherings of just officials or elites, but a real cross-section of Russian society. The only qualification for attending these meetings was a curiosity about America. I truly loved the spirit of these gatherings. They made me very optimistic about the future of cooperation between our two societies. ... I also will remember the same positive energy at Spaso House at the many concerts, discussion groups, and receptions we did at our grand residence. We had some fantastic, innovative events, including theoretical lectures from American political scientists (a side effect of having a professor living at Spaso House!), terrific concerts of American and Russian performers, Best Buddies holiday parties for young people with disabilities, and even movies complete with popcorn. I am particularly proud of the Spaso Innovation Series, which connected Russian innovators and entrepreneurs with their American counterparts, including many from the Silicon Valley where I reside, in creative discussions about how to connect research with industry and jumpstart the high-tech industry in Russia. These peer-to-peer cultural, civic, scientific, and business interactions we convened at Spaso House are some of the most valuable programs we do for promoting an authentic dialogue between Americans and Russians. And, from time to time, we -- Americans and Russians together -- even danced
in the Spaso House ballroom! I also will cherish the many opportunities I had as Ambassador to experience Russian culture and learn more about Russian history, attending concerts, ballets, and plays; watching sporting events; and visiting museums. What a treat to watch maestros Spivakov and Gergiev make their magic with their orchestras or sit front row at the Bolshoi and absorb the magnificent Nutcracker ballet during the New Year’s holiday season." Image from, with caption: U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul dancing with his wife, Donna Norton, as Wylie and the Wild West perform at Spaso House.
Motown meets Freetown - Murtala Mohamed Kamara, sierraexpressmedia.com: "The U.S. Embassy is hosting a Black-and-White Ball to celebrate Black History Month, a time when Americans recognize the contributions of African-Americans to our country’s development. This year’s event marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination and became a catalyst for social change in America. The rise of Motown music during this period became known as 'The Sound That Changed America.' ... The Black-and-White Ball will highlight
Motown’s success in transforming American society and showcase the Sierra Leonean music industry’s capacity to play a similar positive role as an effective medium to address social issues and change. The theme fits with the U.S. Embassy’s goals of promoting free expression and outreach through creative mediums (i.e. music and entertainment) to the majority of the population. It also is a cultural exchange aimed at exposing Sierra Leoneans to Motown artists and expanding the audience for Sierra Leonean music. ... U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy Activities: The U.S. Embassy sponsored the successful union of local Sierra Leonean music artists and the Sierra Leonean Police to promote violence free elections in November 2012 through a series of peace concerts throughout the country in which local artists teamed up with the police to deliver messages – in a medium that youth could relate to – about the importance of democracy, participation, and peaceful elections. An Arts Envoy program featuring Toki Wright, a U.S. hip-hop artist, helped local musical artists better understand and use hip-hop as a means of social expression and as a tool to increase the participation of youth in shaping a positive future for the country. An unanticipated, but significant outcome of the visit was that the Embassy hosted the first-ever meeting between twenty local disc jockeys and up-and-coming music artists in Sierra Leone." Image from
Juicy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I am going to be running in-country programming for a new State Dept Hip Hop program. Over the next year, I will be running three-week hip hop, DJ and break dance cultural diplomacy programs in Serbia, Bosnia, India, Bangladesh, Senegal and Zimbabwe.
Bayles Releases New Book On American Image, Pop Culture - besteducationnews.com: "A cultural critic in many publications and a faculty member of the Arts and Sciences Honors Plan, Martha Bayles recently published her fourth guide, By means of a Display Darkly: Well-liked Culture, Public Diplomacy, and America’s Image Abroad. In her guide, Bayles expands her arguments about the decadent picture of American pop culture and the lack of a basic sense of constructive criticism towards it. 'It’s about the way American well-liked culture is shaping the perceptions of folks about the planet and of life in the United States,' Bayles mentioned. '[American common culture] would seem to have grow to be the main influence in how people see America, and it is great in some approaches, but in other ways it’s not so excellent.' Following travelling to 11 various nations and interviewing a lot of professionals in various fields, Bayles compiled what she realized from the procedure into a 340-webpage guide in which she applied her critical lens to specific misleading photos produced by well-liked culture. 'Our pop culture flooded into the rest of the planet at a time when the U.S. government was no longer truly making an attempt to talk what’s good about the nation,' she said. 'That requires you to seeking at pop culture, and what does it say about America.' Despite the fact that she began her creating job as a great admirer and defender of common culture towards cynical critics who would dismiss it as a mere business item, she started to create her doubt about America’s popularity in the planet following Sept. eleven. 'I would defend what I thought was good stuff and that was my main objective in writing about pop culture, to type of defend it, particularly music,' she explained. 'That was my starting point but then came 9/11, and it turned out that a good deal of the globe truly does not enjoy America or naturally gravitate towards America.'”
Translation -- What Is Soft War, and Ways of Confronting It - thearkenstone.blogspot.com: "The famous article by Joseph Nye, the American theorist, titled 'Soft Power' in the American journal 'Foreign Policy' in 1990 gave a new perspective in which the US, rather than the use of what is called hard-power to launch a military coup-d-etat in rival countries; their efforts focus on c[han]ging the target countries through influence on society [.] Therefore, America could have, instead of investing billions of dollars in the Star Wars theory to confront the so-called Soviet Threat, capitalized on Soviet society with a different way of thinking. After the Soviet Union, Joseph Nye published another article in 2004 for foreign Policy under the same 'The Use of Soft Power'
that complements his previous [article] and is tailored to changes in the world in the years after the Soviet Union and especially due to 9/11. In the article, Joseph Nye proposed a perspective concerning the creation of changes through the application of public diplomacy in addition to the application of soft power in a target society. Later, his views became more complete as well as instructions for the application of soft-power in American foreign policy. According to this theory, America uses public diplomacy and 'smart power' to help penetrate a target society. This perspective, which was prepared by American intelligence-experts such as Doctor Gene Sharp, became known as the 'soft revolution' concept in the mass media[.]" Image from
Op-Ed: Ukraine gets short shrift from mismanaged Voice of America - Ted Lipien, digitaljournal.com: "Mismanaged and underfunded Voice of America failed to highlight in English and most other languages Obama's State of the Union remark on Ukraine. Its oversight board needs to reform the taxpayer-funded media outlet and get more money from Congress. As a former Voice of America (VOA) journalist and acting associate director, I was appalled that VOA English news website failed to point out in any substantive way President Obama's remarks on Ukraine in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night. While VOA carried the speech live online and posted full text on its website, where the reference to Ukraine can be found toward the end of the address, very few people watch long videos or read such long texts in full online. That particular VOA post had only four Facebook ‘Likes’ from VOA's worldwide online audience as of 2 p.m. EST Wednesday, one of them from me in the U.S. ... President Obama said last night: 'In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their country’s future.' Even if this is only a public diplomacy gesture from President Obama, its importance abroad should not have been underestimated by Voice of America executives. Except for the full text of the speech, these words do not appear in any news item or news report on the VOA English website, not even in those about the latest developments in Ukraine."
Russia is more than propaganda, tension and terror - Dave Bidini, nationalpost.com: "Twice I’ve gone to Russia for hockey; once for music. ... Sacha, our sound man, was thin and elegant, with a modest Van Dyke moustache, wispy grey hair, and a sly grin. He drew no small pleasure in exploiting our occasional Russo-phobia, pointing out strangers in our midst and whispering 'KGB' and 'Kalashnikov,' before winking or elbowing me in the ribs.
Whenever there was a lull, he taught me instructive phrases, like, 'bouc loa' ('I am very drunk') or 'ya zboodoona' ('I am very hungover'). On the subject of rock and roll, Sacha remembered being a teenager lying in bed and finding the Voice of America on the shortwave, hearing Creedence Clearwater Revival for the first time." Image from entry, with caption: Dave Bidini, right, in Russia, where he had a former bear trainer for the Moscow circus as a driver, and crossed Siberia in a luxurious gold train car. Image from entry
Korean Voices Make Waves on Arabic Radio - Joseph Braude, Huffington Post: "[T]he Korean Broadcasting Service in Arabic comes in. It is a tool for what Americans call public diplomacy -- that is, a proactive effort to influence foreign publics in support of a country's foreign policies. The United States invests hundreds of millions annually in its own public diplomacy outreach to the Arab world, including the nonstop broadcast Radio Sawa, airing on local FM radio across North Africa and the Middle East. Sawa competes for Arab attention with rival broadcasts from China, Russia, Iran, and every country in Western Europe, as well as transnational movements ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Catholic Church. Viewed together, such efforts amount to a multibillion-dollar industry -- but whether the broadcasters are achieving their political objectives is unclear. It is clear in any case that under the shade of
To quote an old Korean proverb I just learned in Arabic translation, 'A great river does not refuse small streams.' To hear the radio sounds and interview voices from which this article was drawn, listen to Joseph Braude's English-language podcast documentary, 'Koreans on Arab airwaves,' at this link. To listen to the complete interview in Arabic with Bae Jung-Ok, director of the Korean Broadcasting System's Arabic section, click here." Image from
America Is It [includes video] - jamesthomassnyder.com: "State Department and Customs and Border Protection, take note. Leave it to Coca-Cola, the preeminent American brand, to get so much right in 60 seconds during the Super Bowl.
The short spot is the song 'America the Beautiful' cut between a variety of scenes of family and friends from different cultural backgrounds enjoying themselves in the natural beauty of this country, in cities and at home. With slight edits (to remove the product placement) this could easily be played at every port of entry in the country. ... I’ve ... written before about the effectiveness of advertisements and what we can learn from them for effective public diplomacy. Coke once taught the world to sing and I think this spot is even more effective than that famous advertisement. It’s more than enough to make the whole world smile." Image from
The Age of Public Diplomacy: From Enmity to Amity - "For the first session the keynote speaker, Kent Calder, was joined by Lily Gardner Feldman, senior fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, and Watanabe Yasushi, professor in the faculty of environment and information studies at Keiō University. ... Feldman, a specialist on German foreign policy and international reconciliation, remarked that there are two kinds of public diplomacy. The first is carried out by the government and aims at improving the national image. The second concerns activities in which NGOs and other nongovernmental actors play the leading role. These activities might be described as 'paradiplomacy,' or 'transnationalism' in the case of projects that transcend national borders. She said that for public diplomacy to be successful, a partnership between government and nongovernment actors was essential. ... Next to speak was Watanabe Yasushi, a Keiō University professor whose publications include a book about culture and diplomacy. ... He stressed that it was important not to think of the national and international as two mutually opposed categories. In public diplomacy, the objective should not be to 'compete' with other countries, he said, calling for a mechanism to transform competition into collaboration. Particularly in the case of Northeast Asia, he said, where Japan’s relations with neighboring countries continue to be tense, it is vital to move away from zero-sum thinking and seek a positive-sum, win-win type of public diplomacy. ... [Andrew] Horvat suggested that Japanese civil society still lacked sufficient cohesiveness to provide effective help in pursuing public diplomacy.
Watanabe responded by saying that since the Meiji Restoration there has been a deep-rooted feeling in Japan that diplomacy and foreign policy were the proper business of the government. ... [A]ll the panelists emphasized the importance of close cooperation through twin cities schemes, something touched upon by Kent Calder in his keynote presentation. It was suggested that by twinning cities not just between
BRICS’ Public Diplomacy and the Nuances of Soft Power - Yu-Shan Wu and Chris Alden, South African Institute of International Affairs: "How effective are the BRICS in inspiring confidence in their public diplomacy? This question lies at the heart of their soft power. A state’s foreign policy needs an enabling environment built on strategic trust and shared values in order to be successful over the long term. American academic Joseph Nye characterises this as ‘soft power’, the ability to attract rather than coerce other states, and it is a concept that BRICS countries increasingly recognise as a crucial feature of their own public diplomacy ambitions. It is a proposed topic at the 2014 BRICS Academic Forum - an exchange platform for policymakers, academics and think tanks – held in the lead up to the actual summit in
One African participant supported the need for ownership of ideas and knowledge, noting that only 7% of the research and commentary on China-Africa relations is produced by Africans. ... At the same time soft power cannot guarantee an enabling environment for foreign policy objectives – particularly for countries with middle power aspirations. A 2013 study by the graduate business school, INSEAD, noted that
Charm offensive: The way China influence [sic] the world - Irina Sukhoparova, rt.com: "The specter [sic] of soft power instruments is rather large; it includes culture, language, public diplomacy, education systems, various festivals and big events. Indeed, the Olympic Games held in 2008 and the Shanghai World Expo of 2010 were important events, which assisted in enhancing public diplomacy and promoting China’s brand. China's record spending on the Olympics, estimated at a total of $42 billion, which is a large sum for a developing country, especially in comparison with the Athens Olympics budget of $15 billion in 2004 and the London Olympics coming in at $35 billion in 2012. Beijing considered the Olympic Games to be very important in the sense of public diplomacy, particularly in creating the image of a 'nice country,' which is favorable to everyone.
However, Western countries failed to understand the Chinese message, since there is a sharp difference in Western and Chinese values. Besides, even before the beginning of the Games, critics attacked China on issues ranging from human rights to food safety and the environment. Furthermore, some human rights groups called on the US and the European Union to react more forcefully and boycott the 2008 Olympics. ... While the soft power concept is actively discussed among top Chinese officials and many efforts, as well as money, are being used to promote Chinese culture and traditions, some of the ways to increase Chinese presence in the world and attract more attention are frankly absurd." Image from entry, with caption: Revellers dressed in traditional costume perform during a parade celebrating Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, in central London February 2, 2014.
China and Western Higher Education Institutions - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "In a recent blog post Thomas Cushman of
Xia was fired by
What can Europe do? What should Europe do? - Tatia Dolidze, beyondthe.eu: "[Comment by: Tatia Dolidze:] [Y]ou cannot know what you want if you dont have enough information. So in order to make a rational choice you should have a good understanding of alternatives.
That is why raising awareness is vital. That is why the EU should get closer to ordinary people out there. Maybe work better with public diplomacy." Dolidze image from entry
Time for Merkel and Hollande to jointly act on EU chapters #23-24 - Yavuz Baydsar, Cihan/Today's Zaman: "As Ruprecht Polenz, a prominent figure of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and some Turkish representatives suggest, German-Turkish dialogue must be institutionalized, so that NGOs take the lead in public diplomacy to help speed up the process. This is a necessity that will also help Paris in its hard task of dealing with growing Turcophobia in France."
Analysis of Turkey’s Soft Power Strategy - Ali Koca, akademikperspektif.com: "At present, business associations and organizations are in completing the process of institutionalization as a powerful actor in the economy and foreign policy issues to have increased a voice. In today’s world of international relations; public diplomacy, soft power and foreign policy expressed to play an active role in a system that the state does not only main actor and non-governmental organizations also play important role." Above image from entry
Leftist Media Harms Israel’s Hasbara - kalel, conservativepapers.com: "Chanie Luz, media analyst and founder and director of TADMIT, an organization which works toward enhancing democracy in Israeli media, said on Tuesday that Israel needs to look at its own media to see what a great influence it has on the way international media perceives the Jewish State. Speaking to Arutz Sheva on the sidelines of a special session in the Knesset on public diplomacy, Luz said that the way Israel’s media portrays the Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria has a strong influence on how Israel is then perceived internationally. 'Most of the media outlets in Israel are very one-sided,' Luz said. 'They don’t show the whole picture and they close off a lot of the positive aspects of the life of settlers. They show a picture that is not a true picture.' She said that this one-sidedness affects Israel’s public diplomacy and added, 'What we heard here first hand is that journalists get a lot of their information from the Israeli media, especially Israeli media in English.'”
Qatar's Sports-Focused Public Diplomacy Backfires - James M. Dorsey, Eurasia Review: "A perceived lack of real progress in the improvement of conditions for foreign labour, aggravated by a Qatari reluctance to engage in public debate beyond platitudes, is undermining the soft power goals underlying the Gulf state’s sports strategy. The silver lining in the public relations beating Qatar is taking is that it forces international sports associations like FIFA, the world’s governing soccer body, to include issues of labour and other rights in their policy towards hosts of mega events like the 2022 World Cup. That was already evident last year when the
International Olympics Committee (IOC) rejected Qatar’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, in part, according to labour activists, because of workers’ material conditions. FIFA, in its latest response to persistent media reporting on onerous living and working conditions of foreign workers who constitute a majority of the Gulf state’s population and are building vast infrastructure projects some of which are World Cup-related, demanded this week that Qatar report in its progress on improving living and working circumstances. ... The public relations beating of Qatar stems from the Gulf state’s apparent inability to draw conclusions from a failed communications strategy ever since winning its World Cup bid. Qatar failed initially to anticipate the criticism of its success driven by questions about the integrity of its bid as well as envy and jealously by those who had unsuccessfully competed against it. It subsequently surrendered the public relations battlefields to its detractors by deciding not to engage in the false hope that criticism would eventually subside." Image from
Munich Conference discusses Caucasus - vestnikkavkaza.net: "Nagorno-Karabakh and the energy security of the EU were two of the main topics at the 50th Munich Security Conference. Political analyst Rovshan Ibragimov says that the foreign policy of Azerbaijan has diversified in the past years.
He notes that it was a temporary member of the UNSC until 2014, adding that Azerbaijan is one of the key components of European energy security. The expert notes that Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov met OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, the foreign minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina and a representative of Germany's ZDF. Ibragimov says that Azerbaijan diversifies state, political and economic contacts with public diplomacy." Uncaptioned image from entry
Georgian side puts forward new initiative on restoration of trust with Abkhazians - Nana Kirtzkhalia, en.trend.az: "The International Center on Conflict and Negotiation (ICCN) and the 'Georgian-Abkhazian mixed families' union have put forward a new initiative in connection with the restoration of trust and public diplomacy. The managing director of the research center Maia Katsitadze and the union head Rezo Bendeliani hold a press conference on this issue. A free area should be created for creation of the 'Georgian-Abkhazian house of peace' on the Georgian-controlled territory of the border checkpoint on the Inguri River as part of the project. It will offer necessary services to Georgians and Abkhazians, as well as the representatives of other nationalities using the Inguri bridge."
Gagauzia: A new attack on the Eastern Partnership? - Salome Samadashvili, euobserver.com: "With world attention fixed on Ukraine, the referendum on Sunday (2 February) in Gagauzia, a part of Moldova which few people have heard of, did not get much attention. ... The Gagauz - some 150,000 people, who are Turkic-speaking Orthodox Christians - voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining Russia’s Customs Union instead of EU integration. ... Whether or not the Gagauz vote
was a spontaneous event, the EU needs to maintain a watchful eye. It should step up its public diplomacy in Moldova, with high-visibility economic projects that benefit local people and more high-level visits, including to local municipalities." Image from
Foreign Policy Concept for 2014 -- 2020 Republic of Kazakhstan - kazakhstan-bern.ch: "Kazakhstan will set out its position on major global issues, its own foreign policy initiatives, as well as political, socio-economic, cultural and human development issues in Kazakhstan in a timely and complete manner. As part of these measures, Kazakhstan uses modern information and communication technologies to complement traditional tools of public diplomacy. It is important to disclose and communicate Kazakhstan’s goals, priorities, objectives and the results of foreign policy activities, as well as international initiatives promoting Kazakhstan in the global arena, within the country. Kazakhstan’s presentation and communication with international media and audiences is implemented in accordance with the national program 'Information Kazakhstan – 2020'."
How arts journalism can thrive in the age of PR - theconversation.com: "[A]s Nick Davies records in his 2008 book Flat Earth News, at the time of writing the
PR firms. The foreign office alone spends £600m a year on ‘public diplomacy’.” Image from
Top 10 Public Diplomacy Achievements in 2013 at the British Embassy in Budapest - Global conversations, A blog by the Ambassador to Hungary, Budapest
Rise of Russia Matters to India - Anuradha Chenoy, newindianexpress.com: "India has once again, after some giving in to US pressure, re-asserted its resolve to continue importing Iranian oil and build better relations with Iran. Israel’s attempts to stop the US from talking to Iran and continue instead to break up West Asia to favour Israeli dominance of the region was at least temporarily stopped by Putin’s public diplomacy. Putin will continue in this vein, especially since China and many Third World States and people’s groups call for a peaceful solution and power sharing decided locally by the people of the states concerned as opposed to international or regional hegemony. ... India and Russia consider each other trusted allies. But the magic and dynamism that was displayed earlier is lacking. It is up to both to take their relations further."
Australia-India roundtable begins in Sydney - firstpost.com: "The Australia-India Roundtable, the leading informal dialogue between the two countries, began in Sydney Monday. A high-level delegation of Indian officials, strategic experts and media commentators is in Australia for the talks, led by Anil Wadhwa, secretary (East) of the Indian ministry of external affairs. The dialogue is convened by the Lowy Institute in partnership with the Australia India Institute and Indian think tank Observer Research Foundation. It is supported by the public diplomacy division of the Indian external affairs ministry and the Australia India Council of Australia's foreign affairs and trade department. ... The talks are aimed at producing practical recommendations to advance Australia-India relations in trade and investment, education, people-to-people ties, defence and diplomatic cooperation in such frameworks as the G20 and the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, both being chaired by Australia this year."
ABC asks Sky News for shows to feed Australia Network - Christian Kerr and Jared Owens, theaustralian.com.au: "The ABC has approached Sky News Australia to buy programs for its Australia Network service despite the bitter battle that ended with Labor awarding the soft diplomacy contract to the national broadcaster after twice defying expert advice that Sky was better placed to deliver the Asia-Pacific service. ... Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told The Australian yesterday ... [that] the ABC was 'struggling' to meet the terms of the Australia Network contract. ... Ms Bishop said she was seeking advice on the contract not only given circumstances surrounding the botched tender, but whether the ABC was meeting its obligations to promote Australia in the region. 'This is not about the ABC and its independence as a public broadcaster,' Ms Bishop said. 'This is a separate contract that was put out for tender for public diplomacy. They have an obligation to relay quality content to promote Australia in the region and promote a positive perception of Australia.' Ms Bishop expressed concern the ABC was not meeting its contractual obligation."
Bishop eyes cash for Twitter from millions paid to ABC’s Australia Network - islandsbusiness.com: "The Abbott Government could reclaim the millions paid to the ABC's Australia Network and use the cash to promote Australia to the world on Twitter and Facebook. Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says the money being spent on 'soft diplomacy' through the national broadcaster's Asian TV network might be better invested in social media. The idea comes as the Government considers scrapping the Australia Network amid furious complaints by some MPs the ABC is biased against the coalition. Managing director Mark Scott said yesterday the ABC should have been 'more precise' in its reporting of asylum seekers' claims they had suffered burns caused by their treatment by the Australian navy. 'The ABC has always presented the allegations as just that - claims worthy of further investigation,' Mr Scott said.
Yesterday, Ms Bishop told The West Australian she was seeking legal advice on the ABC'S contract to run the Australia Network. She said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had only a small pool of money with which to showcase Australia and diplomats would welcome extra funds to do that work. 'DFAT currently has a budget of $4 million a year to spend on public diplomacy globally,' Ms Bishop said. 'Imagine if DFAT had the budget which included the $22 million per year otherwise spent on the Australia Network. It's arguable that we could find more effective ways to promote Australia, including through social media.' Image from, with caption: Online strategy: Julie Bishop wants to use Twitter to promote Australia.
The thorn in Africa’s side needs substance over sensationalism - Abebe Aynete, internationalpeaceandconflict.org: "For many years media and political analyst have branded the Horn of Africa as an ‘arc of instability’. However, the reality in the region is changing yet media branding remains static. Indeed Horn of Africa countries are attracting investments, promoting their tourism industry, supporting the interests through public diplomacy, strengthening national identity and increasing self-respect. Regarding peace and security the region is credited with playing an instrumental role in both the Sudan and Somalia peace processes."
Imposing Western Values in Africa: Public Diplomacy and the Homosexuality Debate - Oke Epia, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "One can safely say that in spite of the UN’s inclusion of LGBT rights as human rights, the acceptance of homosexuality in some cultures is far from a reality. This is partially due to the entrenched beliefs, cultures, and idiosyncracies that are deeply rooted in the psyches of these populations."
Estrategia y diplomacia pública: el tiempo de la política - Juan Luis Manfredi, compolitica.com: "La diplomacia pública ha ganado espacio en los estudios de comunicación política internacional en los últimos años. La creación del Alto Comisionado para la Marca España, el peso de la diplomacia pública en el Servicio Europeo de Acción Exterior (EEAS en sus siglas en inglés), la sucesión de grandes eventos en Brasil o la fuerte inversión de los países del Golfo Pérsico en internacionalizar sus ciudades son buenos ejemplos de cómo la comunicación ha asumido una función fundamental en las relaciones internacionales. ... Lo que distingue la diplomacia pública de la propaganda es el interés en el beneficio mutuo, la cooperación y la transparencia. En cambio, la propaganda es coercitiva, impone los contenidos y no abre espacios para el diálogo y el cambio. En diplomacia pública, la difusión de las ideas con el objeto de atraer recursos y personas tiene que basarse en la confianza y el entendimiento. ... La diplomacia pública representa la vanguardia de las relaciones internacionales, una nueva forma de desarrollar el poder y de participar en la arena política. No es una cuestión de iconos, seguidores en Facebook o campañas virales. Antes al contrario, persigue la creación de una comunidad de intereses con públicos extranjeros. Será una transformación estratégica en la medida que añada valor a la representación, la negociación y la comunicación de los intereses en el exterior, las tres funciones clásicas de la diplomacia. Por eso es necesario establecer un plan estratégico, sumar iniciativas, crear espacios para la conversación y transformar la diplomacia pública en un elemento fundamental de la acción exterior. El reto de los profesionales de la comunicación pasa ahora por establecer los cauces de cooperación con las instituciones, formar a los diplomáticos y otros actores en las competencias de la comunicación, persuadir a los gobernantes de lo que está en juego y normalizar la diplomacia pública. Sí, nos queda trabajo por hacer."
8 Lessons of Nation Branding - Jay Wang, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: In my new book, 'Shaping China’s Global Imagination: Branding Nations at the World Expo,' I explore the idea of nation branding—what it is and how it works—through the instructive case of the Shanghai World Expo. ... Here are several issues that stand out for me that I believe are important to branding a nation.
1. Storytelling as the Foundation ... 2. Co-creating a Nation Brand ... 3. Strategic Use of Stereotypes ... 4. The Importance of Surprise 5. Production Values Do Count 6. Don’t Ignore the 'Last Three Feet' ... 7. A Transnational Production of Nation Brands ... 8. Sustaining the Effort." Image from entry, with caption: Shanghai World Expo 2010, Creative Commons
Curry Connections – Paul Rockower, Levantine: “Is Mexican mole really Mughal curry? Read up on some gastrodiplomacy history of the historical culinary connections between New Spain and the medieval Islamic world in a fascinating piece by Rachel Laudan (‘Cuisine and Empire’).”
MPD in Brazil: Innovations in Brazilian Public Diplomacy - Helene Imperiale, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Each year the second year students in the Master of Public Diplomacy program select a location abroad to conduct new research that can further the study and practice of public diplomacy.
This year, the Class of 2014 selected Sao Paulo, Brazil for its unique position in world politics. Brazil is currently transitioning from a regional and hemispheric power to a global one. The country will be on display during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and MPD students want to gain a better understanding of Brazilian public diplomacy practices." Image from entry
The Moral Operating System of a Global City: Los Angeles - Micahel Ignatieff, carnegiecouncil.org: "The Los Angeles Police Department has learned from the twin traumas of the 1990s: the uprising of 1992 and the Rampart scandal of 1998.18 They have abandoned a 'them versus us' fortress mentality; they have understood that, in the words of one officer, 'We can't arrest our way out of any problem.'
Their policing methods look like public diplomacy: working with neighborhood leaders, creating relationships to anticipate trouble, and plan common interventions to solve community problems. The work is highly political, identifying leadership, making deals, forming iterative and provisional relationships of trust. These deals go beyond policing itself. For instance, they may involve brokering a commitment to a community to work with other municipal agencies to improve garbage collection or recreation space. In this process of policing as political exchange, maintenance of a shared moral operating system turns out to be crucial. As one LAPD officer put it, 'Never write the community a check you can't cash; or you will lose trust.'" Uncaptioned image from entry
India’s RIFF: “When the music is on, we are one” - Aditi Tandon, euroculturer.eu Aditi is from India and studied MA Euroculture in Göttingen and Olomouc. She has worked as a journalist in India and in the online communities team for a human rights organization in London. She’s currently working in public diplomacy at the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai, India. She enjoys travelling, film and music.
National Summit on Strategic Communications — May 8-9 in Washington DC - nedsjotw.com: "For the 5th consecutive year, the National Summit on Strategic Communications — May 8-9 in Washington DC — assembles top leaders, 25+ speakers and CEOs from corporate, military and government communications and public affairs. ... Featured Faculty: ... Kolinda Grabar-Kitaroviæ, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, NATO."
Niina Hyrsky appointed Press Officer to Stockholm - Press release, Foreign Ministry of Finland: "The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has appointed Niina Hyrsky to the post of Press Officer at the Embassy of Finland in Stockholm for a fixed term. The term of appointment is three years and it begins at the start of March.
The press officer is responsible for the Embassy’s external communications and media relations. The job also entails other public diplomacy and development of Finland’s brand in cooperation with Team Finland partners." Hyrsky image from entry
Goldman’s Charitable Foundation Chief to Lead Urban Investment Group - Michael J. De La Merced, dealbook.nytimes.com: "Dina H. Powell has already made a name for herself as the head of Goldman Sachs’s charitable foundation.
Now, she is preparing to add a new revenue-generating role to her list of responsibilities. ... Dina joined Goldman Sachs as a managing director in 2007 and was named partner in 2010. Prior to joining the firm, Dina served as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs and as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs." Image from entry, with caption: Dina H. Powell, head of Goldman Sachs’s charitable foundation.
After the Arab Spring, could Twitter liberate television? - Joe Khalil, english.alarabiya.net: "Joe F. Khalil, Ph.D., is an associate professor in residence at Northwestern University and visiting research fellow at the London School of Economics. He has more than fifteen years of professional television experience as director, executive producer and consultant with major Arab satellite channels. He is the author of Arab Satellite Entertainment Television: Opportunities for Public Diplomacy (2009) and co-author of Arab Television Industries (2010)."
TedxSU to select speakers - Kristen Eskow, dailyorange.com: "The students organizing the first-ever TEDxSU event in April will begin selecting speakers after applications closed Friday evening. ... Timi Komonibo, a first-year graduate student studying public diplomacy, said she applied in December to speak at the TEDxSU event. The former middle school teacher said she has found TED talks to be an effective tool in her classes."
Metzgar, Lu to present research on public diplomacy - Indiana University School of Journalism: "Assistant professor Emily Metzgar and graduate student Xinyu Lu will present their research, 'Finessing the Pivot: The United States and Public Diplomacy 2.0 in Northeast Asia,' to IU's East Asian Studies Center Colloquium at noon Feb. 14."
Where in the world is John Kerry? - Carter Eskew, Washington Post: After years
of looking into the mirror and seeing a president, Kerry now sees his chance to fulfill his heroic ambition on the world’s toughest stages. That marriage of ego and job makes some uneasy, but it may be a very fine match. Kerry image from
The U.S. must reconsider its failed Syrian policy - Editorial, Washington Post: The administration could join an effort by allies on the U.N. Security Council to win passage of a resolution that calls on Syria to cooperate with the delivery of humanitarian supplies and authorizes U.N. agencies to operate in areas outside government control. With or without U.N. action, it is time for the Obama administration to reconsider how it can check the regime’s crimes and the growing threat of al-Qaeda. As Mr. Kerry reportedly conceded, for now it has no answers.
Could European protests further delay Syrian CW disarmament? Open letter from experts on how to avoid that problem - Matthew Schofield, mcclatchydc.com: A dozen chemical weapons and public health experts are urging the United States to increase the transparency of the plans
for Syrian chemical weapons in order to avoid possible delays in the vital process because of European protests. Their letter concludes by noting that the success in the destruction effort is “much needed” and a public relations effort “will help alleviate public concerns that could otherwise undermine this historic and important demilitarization mission.” Image from
Egypt’s military shows it is no friend of freedom - Editorial, Washington Post: Since leading a coup against the elected government of Mohamed Morsi last July, Gen. Sissi has turned Egypt’s state media into a propaganda apparatus that has made virulent anti-Americanism a touchstone. Television channels and newspapers regularly broadcast vicious attacks on U.S. officials and diplomats and lend credence to wild conspiracy theories about Western plots against Egypt. Now the regime has taken the step — unprecedented in
Isolationism’s high price - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: In 1996, Madeleine Albright popularized a phrase used by President Clinton. She repeatedly called the
Meet Chechclearr, the Web-savvy foreign Islamic militant in Syria: 'Media is half of jihad,' posts the prolific Chechclearr, who seems to relish his role as a self-appointed propagandist for Al Qaeda-linked factions in Syria - Nabih Bulos and Patrick J. McDonnell,latimes.com: Welcome to the virtual world of Chechclearr, the Internet handle of a self-described Islamic militant who says he is fighting as an Islamist rebel in Syria but also has time to post a copious amount of pictures and comments on the Internet.
Although his identity cannot be independently verified, the many images he has posted appear authentic. The prolific Chechclearr seems to relish his role as a self-appointed apologist and propagandist for Al Qaeda-linked factions that are now among the most dominant rebel militias in Syria, drawing thousands of non-Syrians into their ranks from as far away as Europe and the United States. Image from
America Must Assuage Saudi Anxiety - Vali R. Nasr, New York Times: The Saudis believe it is no longer inconceivable that after Iraq and Afghanistan, a thoroughgoing pullout of forces in the Persian Gulf will become America’s mantra: the “zero option.” Follow that thought and there is a paradox: Unless America addresses Saudi concerns, its Iran policy could prove destabilizing to the Middle East, rather than a masterstroke that eases tensions. That would be profoundly counterproductive: The risk of new crises in the oil-rich crossroads of the Persian Gulf would make it much harder for America to focus on Asia.
The Pakistani Taliban’s P.R. Offensive - Huma Yusuf, New York Times: With its history of savage attacks and audacious jail breaks, the Pakistani Taliban have long been two steps ahead of Pakistan’s security forces and intelligence agencies. Now, the increasingly P.R.-savvy organization is also outwitting the government in terms of messaging. By obfuscating their precise responsibility for Pakistan’s security issues, the Pakistani Taliban are dampening the public’s enthusiasm for a sustained push against terrorist groups. And progress in the war of words is progress in its war for power.
Don’t Let Putin Grab Ukraine - Timothy Snyder, New York Times: The European Union and the present Ukrainian leadership must strike a deal -- and quickly. If the European Union does not act and there is a Russian-backed internal coup in Ukraine, the likely consequences are military disaster for Russia and political crisis in the European Union.
American propaganda stokes the fire of Ukrainian disintegration - Patrice Greanville, opednews.com: As befits a loyal organ of the US ruling class--yes, Virginia, protestations to the contrary the US does have a ruling class--the New York Times and other leading Western media have been busy promoting all manner of tendentious "facts" about the situation in Ukraine.
Should the Ukraine fall into the cynical US/NATO camp it would be a major setback not only for the Ukrainians themselves, who are now toying with the possible balkanization of their country a la Yugoslavia and even a murderous civil war, (not to mention a huge disillusionment with the realities of life under the harsh EU umbrella), but for those who resist the depredations of the West and its pestilential corporate-sponsored "globalisation" across all latitudes. Image from entry, with caption: Ukraine is rent by deep regional and ethnic antagonisms.
Holding Sri Lanka to Account - Editorial, New York Times: Washington is once again trying to put pressure on the government of Sri Lanka to commission a credible independent investigation of crimes and human rights abuses committed during the end of that country’s bloody civil war in 2009. It would be easy for the world and American officials to give up their demands for accountability given that nearly five years have passed since the end of the war. But that would be tragic and would signal to public officials that they might never have to answer for mass murder.
North Korea ramps up propaganda ahead of US-South Korea maneuvers - foxnews.com: North Korea's propaganda machine is churning out near-daily denunciations of the United States and South Korea for a series of soon-to-start military maneuvers, warning nuclear war could be imminent and saying it will take dramatic action of its own if further provoked. North Korea's increasingly shrill opposition to the annual joint drills named Foal Eagle looks very similar to the kind of vitriol that preceded the start of the same exercises last year and led to a steep rise in tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
That round of escalation culminated in threats of a nuclear strike on Washington and the flattening of Seoul before the maneuvers ended and both sides went back to their corners. It appears the first stages of this year's battle have already begun -- though some experts say they don't think it will be as high-pitched as last year's. Image from entry, with caption: In this March 26, 2013 file photo, a North Korean man walks past propaganda posters in Pyongyang, North Korea, that threaten punishment to the "U.S. imperialists and their allies."
Russia is more than propaganda, tension and terror - Dave Bidini, nationalpost.com: Vladimir Putin. The killing of journalists. Suspensions of freedom; inventions of lies. Crime and ignorance and the eschewing of diplomacy. Hate crimes vs. gays, and men and women of colour. The flexing of muscle, the hoarding of weapons. Support for Bashar Al-Assad. All true, all real. But please, let us not demonize Russia. It’s too easy to fall prey to our Western (i.e., American) reflexes: anyone from the Baltic to Siberia to Stalingrad becoming the villain in Die Hard, or Soviet-era hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov, or a power-hungry Rasputin. Suddenly, with the Olympic Games less than a week away, Sochi — and, by extension, most of Russia — has become known as a paranoid police state, governed by spies and covert weapons and a tyrannical figurehead born from oil and gristle. Again: Okay. But let’s not forget the people whose lives are slave to these conditions, and for whom the spectre of the return of Communist-era repression is more than just a cinematic or literary trope. Let’s not forget that, for all its complications, Russia is one of the most interesting and ever-changing colossi known to modern man.
An Egyptian propaganda video on journalists: So bad it's funny. Then just sad. It was distributed via a TV station that was born out of the Egyptian uprising against Hosni Mubarak - Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor: The plight of journalists and activists in Egypt ctoday - including the Al Jazeera reporters currently in detention on trumped up claims of abetting terrorism and "spreading false news" - is no laughing matter. But it's hard not to laugh at a videotape of the arrest and interrogation of Australian Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy that was released on
Belarus' Latest Propaganda Film - Vadzim Smok, belarusdigest.com: Andrei Kureičyk, a famous Belarusian dramatist and scriptwriter, has extensively commented on the film. According to him, the Presidential Administration designed Abel as a response to the anti-regime Viva Belarus movie directed by Krzysztof Lukaszewich and shot in
More Imperial Propaganda for Star Wars Rebels Debuts - comingsoon.net: In anticipation of the upcoming animated series "Star Wars Rebels," Lucasfilm has debuted some new propaganda posters for the Galactic Empire. Among them:
A CONVERSATION IN AMERICA
Here he [Fox interviewerBill O'Reilly] was “asking” Obama about whether the Benghazi killings were a terrorist attack:
Obama: “By definition, Bill, when somebody is attacking our compound — ”
Obama: “ — that’s an act of terror, which is how I characterized it the day after it happened. So the — so the question ends up being who, in fact, was attacking us?”
O’Reilly: “But it’s more than that — ”
Obama: “And that — ”
O’Reilly: “ — though — ”
Obama: “ — well, we — ”
O’Reilly: “ — because of Susan Rice.”
Obama: “No, it — ”
O’Reilly: “It’s more than that, because if Susan Rice goes out and tells the world that it was a spontaneous demonstration . . . ”
Obama: “Bill — ”
O’Reilly: “ — off a videotape but your . . . ”
Obama: “Bill . . . ”
O’Reilly: “ — your commanders and the secretary of defense know it’s a terror attack . . . ”
Obama: “Now, Bill . . . ”
O’Reilly: “Just . . . ”
Obama: “ — Bill . . . ”
O’Reilly: “ — as an American . . . ”
Obama: “ — Bill — Bill . . . ”
O’Reilly: “ — I’m just confused.”
Obama: “And I’m — and I’m trying to explain it to, if you want to listen.”
--Dana Millbank, "Bill O’Reilly’s Obama interview showed a nation still divided," Washington Post