Friday, February 7, 2014

February 6-7 Public Diplomacy Review

"Soft power advocates ... have been distracted by cutesy projects such as 'gastrodiplomacy,' which may produce a few newspaper articles about the virtues of kimchi or mushy peas, but are unlikely to have any lasting effect on their audience."

--Professor Philip Seib, USC Center on Public Diplomacy; image from


Taliban members brag about holding U.S. dog captive - "The video caught the attention of analysts at the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks and studies insurgent propaganda. The group's founder, Rita Katz, said she could not recall anything like it."


Outgoing U.S. Ambassador Reflects on Job With Russian Media - Jennifer Monaghan, The Moscow Times: "U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul — who announced yesterday that he would return to California at the end of February — has opened up about his time on the job, lamenting his inability to quell concerns that the U.S. wants to incite revolution on Russian soil. ... McFaul believes his willingness to engage with the opposition at this time led to the enactment of a negative campaign against both himself and the U.S. by the state-controlled press. 'I can certainly say that some people in Russia want to use anti-American sentiment to discredit the opposition. I was part of their plan.

It is obvious. And it has nothing to do with what I was doing or what I did.' McFaul said . ... In a bid to change the perception of American people, McFaul has embarked on a campaign of public diplomacy during his time as ambassador — hosting jazz parties at the U.S. Embassy residence and communicating with the public via accounts on Twitter and Facebook. He says he will miss those aspects of the job. McFaul will travel to Sochi on Thursday, one day ahead of the Winter Olympic Games' opening ceremony." Image from entry, with caption: U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who on Tuesday announced his decision to quit his post. See also (1) (2).

U.S. names priorities in relations with Georgia - Jamila Babayeva, "First Deputy of the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Bridget Brink has named the U.S. priorities in relations with Georgia during a web chat: democratic development and consolidation, economic development and security. 'The first priority includes different aspects. It includes diplomatic involvement, in which the political and economic departments of the embassy participate, and public diplomacy, in which the Department of Public Affairs, and also other partners including the United States Agency for Development take part,' she said."

Breast Cancer Has Become the Consummate “Free Market Feminist” Cause - "The U.S.–Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness was created in 2006 and marked the U.S. government’s first foray into international breast cancer policy. By 2008, the partnership included the Komen Foundation, the Avon corporation, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, and a variety of cancer care and business organizations in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Palestine.

The campaign is a subproject of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), launched on December 12, 2002 by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The official mandate of the MEPI, which operates out of the State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, is to 'advance democratic reform and vibrant, prosperous societies in the Middle East and North Africa' ( To date, the MEPI has focused on encouraging the development of public–private partnerships in providing 'greater opportunities' in the region (" Image from entry

Bringing a Hard Edge to Soft Power - Philip Seib, Huffington Post: "'Soft power' is an important element of foreign policy, emphasizing attraction rather than coercion. ... When there is little cost to using hard power, policymakers may set aside their moral compass, relegating soft power to the domain of wimps. Soft power advocates share some of the blame for this. They have been distracted by cutesy projects such as 'gastrodiplomacy,' which may produce a few newspaper articles about the virtues of kimchi or mushy peas, but are unlikely to have any lasting effect on their audience. Soft power proponents tend to forget that the purpose of soft power, as with public diplomacy more broadly, is to advance the strategic interests of your country. ... [C]hange will not come unless those at the top of the policymaking pyramid embrace soft power as truly the preferred way of dealing with the rest of the world."

US Points to Russian Role in Leak of Ukraine Phone Call, VOA reports but gives no link or videos - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "Voice of America (VOA) executives like to brag about multimedia, but when VOA posts reports on its English news website, they often lack multimedia content, which other international media outlets provide faster and more consistently, even on U.S. news stories. This is especially true for Russia’s RT, as World Media Watch reported and gave VOA only 2.5 rating on a scale from 0 to 5 for a report on U.S.-Russia dispute over a bugged telephone call about Ukraine between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. Russia’s RT provided both a link to the controversial recording on YouTube and video of the State Department spokesperson commenting on it. Voice of America provided neither, but it did have text of some of the State Department spokeswoman’s remarks."

Radio Beijing in the Middle East - Joseph Braude, Huffington Post: "The Chinese government has developed an approach to cultural outreach in the Arab world whereby a program's ratings matter far less than who in particular is listening. Niche content on radio and television supports a broader effort to attract a modest number of Arabs in countries of high strategic concern, who go on to serve Beijing as assets and emissaries to the media as well as the society at large. With their help, China strives to reach a vast audience via the region's indigenous broadcasts, with which no foreign outfit can compete. This exposure, in turn, supports a ground campaign of 'soft power' to tweak the region's cultural fabric in favor of Chinese interests. ... Numerous Western experts in the field of 'soft power'--notably the originator of the term himself, Harvard University professor Joseph Nye--have dismissed Chinese public diplomacy worldwide as ineffectual. ... But if we take a closer look, we see that pronouncements of China's failure to win Arab hearts and minds are premature. ... Extremist transnational movements are making strides toward weakening states and eroding borders, and we must work to stop them. An important part of doing that is supporting the institutions of Arab states with which the United States is allied. Through media partnerships, Americans can gain a seat at the table, where they can then challenge the production of propaganda that would harm American interests. More important, Americans can use their access to more freely engage Arab journalists, editors, and television writers in creating education and training media that build up egalitarianism, tolerance, and civil society. In the long run, such a consensual approach will be more effective in advancing American ideals than persisting in a costly 'battle of the networks' that has no clear endgame."

Dallas Doings - Linda Wisch-Davidsohn, "‘StandWithUs Israeli Soldiers’ Stories’ to be presented in Dallas [.] Two former Israeli soldiers, Ben and Daniel, will make multiple appearances in Dallas next week as part of the StandWithUs Israeli Soldiers Stories program. ... Dan and Ben will recount their personal experiences of serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as StandWithUs, the international Israel education organization, launches its sixth and largest 'Israeli Soldiers Speak' (ISS) tour.

'Israeli Soldiers’ Stories' is an innovative program featuring a diverse group of reserve duty Israeli college students. Their mission is to educate, inform, and delve into conversations about the Israeli-Arab conflict by putting a human face to the IDF uniform. Participants have combat experience and are members of the StandWithUs Israel Fellowship, an elite public diplomacy program in its eighth year for student leaders at six major Israeli universities." Image from

Top posts filled at Foreign Ministry - Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post: "The Foreign Ministry announced ... top appointments on Thursday. ... Israel's envoy to Australia Yuval Rotem will replace Gideon Meir, who also recently retired, as deputy director-general for public diplomacy."

Xi meets Putin in Sochi - Zhang Yiwei, Global Times: "Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived at Sochi in Russia Thursday afternoon to attend the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a move analysts said reflects China's strong backing of bilateral relations with Russia. ... Meanwhile, leaders from major Western countries including the US, the UK, France and Germany are not attending the opening ceremony. As China is an influential power, Xi's presence at the Games' opening ceremony amid the negative comments 'emphasizes the message that nations should shoulder international responsibilities together and not fear terrorist threats,' said Zhou Qing'an, a professor specializing in public diplomacy at the Tsinghua International Center for Communication Studies. This shows China's highest level of support and value to Russia, said Xing Guangcheng, an expert on Russia at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

'It shows China's respect for the Olympic spirit and that we are open to actively participate in events that benefit world peace and cultural exchange,' Xing said. Zhou noted that as the first Chinese leader to attend an overseas sports event, Xi has adopted a new philosophy of public diplomacy. China is taking a more open diplomatic position through building the nation's image and closely communicating with the international community in multilateral and non-governmental spheres, he said. Both experts compared the event with the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, which also encountered similar challenges brought up by international media. 'Negative comments toward both Beijing and Sochi extended beyond mere event organization and shifted to other aspects, for example, the nations' governments and previous crises. It's a regular phenomenon that emerging markets face,' Zhou said." Image from entry, with caption: Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, February 6, 2014.

Russia's female athletes bring the "REAL" show to Sochi – Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: “A couple of weeks ago I posted the following piece by Russia Beyond The Headlines on Facebook voicing concern about the sexual connotations that could be read into it: 'Olympic beauty: Sochi girls to meet world famous athletes.' A Russian (female) friend was outraged at my direct and immediate association of something seemingly so innocuous with sex/prostitution. The issue however, is not just that it feeds directly into the image of an oversexualized Russian/Slavic/Eastern European woman, but that it actually promotes it - even if indirectly - as yet another attraction in Sochi specifically, and Russia more broadly [yet another example of wonderful

public diplomacy put on by the Russian authorities, eh?]. ... The saddest part, however, is that this becomes a tool not just for the amusement and entertainment of the domestic public, but for the international audience as well. Do they really have nothing better to show for the Olympics that they need to resort to such cheap tactics? Or do the organizers hope that this might make up for all the public diplomacy disasters and blunders already happening [and many more to come, I'm sure]?" Image from entry, with caption: Alexandra Saitova, curling. Image from Weird Russia. See also John Brown, "Public Diplomacy Goes 'Pubic,'" PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Canadian businesses take notice of Arab world - Sophie Muller, "Starting Saturday, representatives from 10 Canadian companies will be travelling to Iraq, Jordan and Turkey on a trade mission organized by the Canada-Arab Business Council (CABC) and the Canadian-Turkish Business Council. ... The launch of the trade offices comes on the heels of Canada opening a diplomatic mission in Baghdad last April. Bessma Momani, associate professor in the department of political science at the University of Waterloo, said these offices could be helpful in supporting Canadian companies that want to do business in Iraq as well as Iraqi businesses interested in trade and investment opportunities in Canada. ... Dr. Momani says Canadian firms doing business in the Middle East have the advantage of a positive image and are well respected. This could give them an edge in high-potential sectors such as construction, engineering, health care, agri-business and education. But the government needs to be more proactive, she said. EDC has a smaller presence and is more timid in the Middle East than American chambers of commerce, for instance. 'In the Middle East, the local business community usually knows about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the British Council,' Dr. Momani added, noting this kind of public diplomacy helps boost business ties."

Mark Scott: ‘Abolishing the Australia Network or Removing It from the ABC Would Take Some Millions out of Our Budget’. Wow! That’s A Defence? This Fool Receives a Salary Of Over $800,000 Annually, and That’s His Best Shot? This ‘Confession’ from Scott, Ensures That Come May Budget, the Australian Network Will Be Cactus - "August 2011 Fairfax newspapers reported that Sky News complained to Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) over an allegation that Mark Scott 'inappropriately' approached the Resources Minister Martin Ferguson to lobby him in relation to the $223 million contract. Ferguson said at the time, a phone call from Scott during the process was inappropriate. Fairfax also alleged Scott violated conditions of the tender process by publicly commenting on the Australia Network contract in a speech delivered at the Australian National University on 7 June, 2011 where he suggested it would be 'very difficult' for commercial organisations to carry out the objectives of a public diplomacy channel. He acknowledged legal requirements that forbid the bidders making any public statements on the tender process. Being the fool he is, he ignored the requirements and went on to say the Australia Network could greatly expand its reach if money was made available to subtitle programs in local languages.

Why is it so hard to find a good Filipino restaurant? - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "A good question from PRI's The World. I would attribute it to an underperforming nation brand and a nonexistent edible nation brand.

All easily remedied by the Philippines conducting more public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and gastrodiplomacy, including outreach to engage its diaspora (the second-largest in the US!) to be cultural ambassadors." Image from

College Students (USA) Talk Brand Jamaica - “'When you think of #jamaica, what comes to mind?' was the question we posed to college students in America recently. ... This is part of the #ReImagineJamaicaProject – an initiative founded by Jamaican journalist and professor of Public Relations (USA), Dr. Hume Johnson in 2012. It seeks to use strategic communication tools, policy directed research and public diplomacy to understand and reshape Jamaica’s image and reputation in the global arena."

New Book Tells About Life in Cold War Public Diplomacy - "Frederick (Tony) Mabbatt, a retired Foreign Service Officer, published a new book describing his and his family’s experiences during Mabbatt’s career in diplomacy. On the Front Lines of the Cold War is a first-person narrative telling of Mabbatt’s work in Sudan, Jordan, Brazil, Tanzania, Indonesia, and the Netherlands.

According to the book notes, 'His job was to conduct public affairs programs designed to present America’s side of the story and to persuade audiences that democracy and a free market economy work better than Communism.'  In an epilogue, Mabbat provides 'guidelines enabling any citizen to arrive at a reasoned opinion on foreign policies.'” Image from entry

Book Review: Branding the Nation: The Global Business of National Identity by Melissa Aronczyk - César Jiménez-Martínez, "Branding the Nation offers an exhaustive critique of the phenomenon of nation branding in regards to national identity, globalisation and neoliberalism. However, it could also have offered a more thorough examination of this practice in relation to diplomacy and international relations. As Aronczyk observes, nation branding can also be used as a tool to gain authority and legitimacy in the diplomatic field, repairing national reputations or managing the consequences of unexpected or unfavourable events.

This inevitably brings to mind the idea of soft power, which is mentioned only a few times in the book. Soft power has been used as a justification for both nation branding and public diplomacy – two practices with blurred borders and which seem to overlap in many ways - but it has also been criticized as a potential expression of hegemony. Perhaps, some of the criticisms towards nation branding discussed earlier, particularly the fact that it either flattens contestations about national identity or uses them insofar they are useful to foster particular political or economic outcomes, could have been applied to some extent to soft power as well. Image from entry

Dennis Rodman and Sports Diplomacy Gone Awry - Markos Kounalakis, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "[T]here are as many pitfalls in sports diplomacy as there are potential merits. For every successful pingpong diplomat there is a Rodman waiting in the wings." See also John Brown, "'He looks like a monster!': A thought on Dennis and his 'Rod-men' in North Korea," Notes and Essays.

BWA, CBF partner to increase Baptist presence at the UN, respond to needs of people and congregations - "The Baptist World Alliance and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship have formed a partnership to identify and respond to the needs of people and congregations worldwide through joint participation in work with the United Nations. ... Raimundo Barreto, the director of the

BWA Division of Freedom and Justice, said the face of international relations has dramatically changed in the past decades, and public diplomacy now includes not only governments, but the economic agents and so-called global civil society with a number of new actors – multinational corporations, the press, NGOs and religious organizations." Image from entry

Kristmanson Gets NCC CEO Post - "Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, today announced the appointment of Mark Kristmanson as chief executive officer of the National Capital Commission (NCC). ... Dr. Kristmanson was the 2011 Canada-United States Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California, where his research focused on the role of cities in international relations."

Mark Duffy Joins Qorvis MSLGROUP: Will focus on Public Diplomacy in Asia and Europe - Qorvis MSLGROUP has named foreign policy professional Mark Duffy to its staff as an associate in the Washington office. Duffy will focus on public affairs and public diplomacy clients. Duffy has served as a political advisor to the Prime Minister of Ireland.  Duffy also worked on foreign policy matters in the British House of Lords and was senior advisor to Irish Senator James Carroll; Duffy assisted U.S. Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign by organizing the Irish-American Presidential Forum. ... MSLGROUP is Publicis Groupe's strategic communications and engagement group, advisors in all aspects of communication strategy: from consumer PR to financial communications, from public affairs to reputation management and from crisis communications to experiential marketing and events.  ... Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is one of the world's leading communications groups."

Our academic experts - Bournemouth University -- Corporate and Marketing Communications Corporate and Marketing Communication: "Dr Pawel Surowiec is a graduate in International Relations Studies from Wroclaw University, Poland.

He is interested in social theory approaches to propaganda studies and intrigued by questions relating to the re-invention of propaganda (e.g. public relations, public diplomacy), its colonization of new social spaces, and power relations in propaganda praxis, particularly in the context of political economy." Image from

Cotler’s Chief of Staff to ‘explore new opportunities’ - "Statement by Howard Liebman Chief of Staff/Executive Assistant to The Hon. Irwin Cotler, M.P. (Mount Royal)... As I reflect on my chosen path of public service over the more lucrative private sector, I see a decade-long mentorship like no other. Prof. Cotler is like a father to me, and I am proud to be treated like a son. Together with my colleagues, I remain privileged to be called upon by neighbours and community to touch lives daily – to try make things better, to advocate tirelessly for the people of the Mount Royal riding, and uniquely, to engage by Prof. Cotler’s side in public diplomacy locally and across the globe with heads of government and the like."

Deputy Director For Evaluations - Countering Violent Extremism - "dTS is recruiting asenior level Deputy Director for Evaluations to provide overall direction, leadership and technical oversight for the US Department of State Countering Violent Extremism Evaluation Project. This individual will be responsible assisting with the development and overseeing the management of country evaluations for three countries across South Asia, Europe and the Middle East. ... Qualifications and Education Requirement [:] A Masters degree in International Relations, Economics, Survey/Statistical Methods, International development, Public Diplomacy, Sociology or related fields."

Internship: Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training (OPIT) Program Deadline: February 15, 2014 - "Through OPIT’s six-week, English-language internships, students gain substantive overseas professional experience and intercultural communication skills demanded by today’s global market. American Councils on-site staff arrange internship placements and provide ongoing support to participants. No foreign-language study is required. American Councils has developed and implemented education programs in the former Soviet Union and Southeast Europe for almost four decades. It has contributed and continues to contribute to the creation of new knowledge, broader professional perspectives, and personal and intellectual growth through international training, academic exchange, collaboration in educational development, and public diplomacy. The OPIT program draws on the vast network of community partners, regional expertise and overseas resources built by American Councils over the years."


Why Does America Send So Many Stupid, Unqualified Hacks Overseas? - James Bruno, Politico: The United States is the only industrialized country to award diplomatic posts as political spoils, often to wealthy campaign contributors in an outmoded system that rivals the patronage practices of banana republics, dictatorships and two-bit monarchies. Via DV on Facebook

Obama’s disservice to diplomacy: His picks aren’t qualified to be ambassadors - Henri J. Barkey, Washington Post [subscription]

Taliban Dismisses U.S. Asset Freeze as Propoganda [sic] - Peter Grazul, A spokesman for the Taliban has dismissed the United States government’s move to freeze the assets of three known jihadists, as propaganda.

On Wednesday, the Treasury Department declared that Yahya Haqqani, Maulawi Sayedullah, and Muhammed Omar were considered to be global terrorists, which means that any assets they have held within the United States are to be frozen. The three are members of the Haqqani network, a militant organization believed to be based in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous Waziristan tribal region that aims to help the Taliban re-establish sharia law in Afghanistan. Uncaptioned image from entry

IU Professor Says Putin Using Olympics As Propaganda - Mike Corbin, Public Policy Professor Les Lenkowsky questions whether the International Olympic Committee should have granted the games to Sochi given human rights abuses and political turmoil in Russia. Lenkowsky says the world community is essentially awarding President Vladimir Putin. He says Putin is trying to persuade the world that human rights abuses aren't happening and that the real Russia - with the Olympics - is currently on display to the world. Lenkowsky says he doesn't think that terrorism will be a big issue at these Olympic games because the Russian government won't tolerate security breaches. Ultimately, he says the Russian government is aiming to present itself as an ultimate player on the world scene. Finally, Lenkowsky says despite Putin's multi-billion dollar investment, much of the world, including the Russian people themselves, will see the spectacle as produced by Sochi as nothing more than propaganda.

Berlin pop song tells Russia: Love Is Not For Propaganda: A new pop anthem will be performed live at the lighting of Berlin’s alternative gay Olympic flame - Tris Reid-Smith, Berliners have created a new pop anthem to fight Russia’s anti-gay law and champion the Rainbow Flame they will be lighting during the Olympics. The song, Love Is Not For Propaganda, is now available for purchase from the iTunes store. All proceeds will be donated to LGBTI projects in Russia.

Opinion: The impact of Russian propaganda on Lithuania is greater than we thought it was - Audrius Bačiulis, Even though today there are enough journalists in Lithuania who understand English, German, or other European languages, our main source of

global events remains the Russian media, which, for the major part, is disseminating some form of the Kremlin’s propaganda. Image from entry

North Stops Leaflet and Radio Propaganda - Koo Jun Hoe, The South Korean military has confirmed that North Korea does appear to have stopped broadcasts and leaflet drops targeted at the South. The move comes amidst a media campaign by the North alleging a wish to improve inter-Korean ties, most notably via a National Defense Commission statement on January 16th that called for a halt to bilateral acts of slander as of January 31st.

Propaganda, FLAME And Tedashii To Open Spring U-Church Series - Christian hip-hop artists Propaganda, FLAME and Tedashii

will open Lee University’s spring U-Church series on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the Conn Center. Propaganda image from entry


--Via MT on Facebook


"If you had a plumbing problem, would you call your friendly ambassador to fix it?"

--Henri J. Barkey, a professor of international relations at Lehigh University, who served on the State Department’s policy planning staff from 1998 to 2000.

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