"America runs on clicks."
--New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd; image from
“It only took a year but @StateDept finally let me have my own @Twitter account.”
--Secretary of State John Kerry
Putin Propaganda: NBC’s Bob Costas portrays Russian leader as great peacemaker - dailycaller.com
BLOG OF INTEREST
The Daily: Russia Loses the Western Media Game - Michael Ardaiolo: "The Daily: Our round-up of news, notes, tips, and Tweets exhibiting how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day."
US regime-change operation in Ukraine exposed in leaked diplomatic phone call - Patrick O’Connor, Proletarian Center for Research, Education and Culture: "A leaked phone conversation between Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, has exposed the anti-democratic and colonialist character of the Obama administration’s intervention in the former Soviet republic. ... While Germany and other European powers have worked closely with the Obama administration in promoting the violent protests against President Viktor Yanukovych, the leaked phone call reveals tensions between the imperialist powers. At one point
Nuland tells Pyatt, 'F–k the EU.' ... The discussion, posted anonymously on YouTube, ... underscores the thoroughly cynical character of
U.S. to Intensify Rebalancing in Asia in 2014 - Jane Morse, IPP staff writer, geneva.usmission.gov: "The United States plans to intensify efforts to 'rebalance' its policy in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Daniel Russel, the State Department’s assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs. During a February 4 briefing at the Washington Foreign Press Center, Russel said the United States is
'dedicating more diplomatic resources, more public diplomacy resources, more assistance resources to advance our objectives in the region, and to do so in a way that’s commensurate with the really comprehensive nature of our engagement.' This rebalancing effort, he said, covers the gamut of economic issues, security, environmental cooperation, strengthening alliances and active partnership with civil society and in democratic development. But special focus, he said, is on economic development, especially via mechanisms such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP ) trade pact. The Asia-Pacific region, he said, 'continues to serve as an engine for global growth, with active and intense U.S. involvement.'” Russel image from entry
The Future of the Polish-American strategic relationship - gmfus.org: "Following Secretary Chuck Hagel’s visit in Poland Jan. 30, the GMF office in Warsaw organized a debate on the Future of the Polish-American strategic relationship. The U.S. Ambassador Stephen Mull was confronted by world affairs journalist and publicist Bartosz Węglarczyk, in a conversation moderated by Michał Baranowski. This timely event attracted a crowd of over 80 people and provoked a heated debate between government officials, policy community leaders and experts. According to Ambassador Mull, the reason for Secretary Hagel’s visit was to thank Poland for its engagement in Afghanistan as well as to congratulate on increased defense spending and military modernization process in Poland, strategically significant for NATO because of interoperability. Broadly speaking, the visit took place because of the general satisfaction with the state of Polish-American relationship and its potential to grow. Hagel’s visit also provided reassurance that the U.S. remains fully committed to building the European Phased Adaptive Approach, contrary to the belief that development in Iran might have weakened its interest in the initiative. Bartosz Weglarczyk, who spent 6 years in Washington, held a more pessimistic opinion on this transatlantic relationship.
He remarked that not only are there constant talks of the U.S. pivot towards Asia, but also that a Polish pivot away from the U.S. is observable, caused mainly by the lack of U.S. public diplomacy in Poland. Recent scandals such as the secret CIA prisons in Poland, or the Snowden affair which undermine the opinion of the U.S. government and its intelligence services are pulling the Polish government away too. What also deepens this lack of trust is the uncertainty with regards to U.S. strategic aims towards Central Europe or the Middle East. In response, Ambassador Mull explained that there is a vast talk of cooperation that is taking place behind closed doors." Uncaptioned image from entry
US ambassador visits South and City College Birmingham students to discuss global politics and relations - aocwestmidlands.wordpress.com: "The US ambassador to the UK visited South and City College Birmingham’s Digbeth Campus to talk with students about the role of diplomacy and to get their views on political issues [Thursday 6 February 2014]. Ambassador Matthew Barzun delivered an interactive talk with clickers allowing students to respond to multiple-choice questions on US/UK relations and the role each country plays in global politics; he later opened up the floor to allow students to air their views and ask questions on matters including equality, Syria and the power of corporations. The purpose of the visit was for Ambassador Barzun
to engage with young people from a range of backgrounds to get a better understanding of their opinions on world and national issues. The US Embassy is looking to regularly interact with youth audiences as part of their public diplomacy mission. The ambassador spoke to 30 students from IT and business courses for just over an hour." Image from entry, with caption: From left to right: Mike Hopkins (Principal of South and City College Birmingham), Matthew Barzun (Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) and Selman Habib (Student Union President of South and City College Birmingham)
French Breakup Makes a Dinner Harder to Do - Peter Baker, New York Times: "The state dinner has long been one of the most celebrated of presidential affairs, 'an event that also showcases global power and influence,' as the White House Historical Association puts it. The first president to have one for a foreign leader was Ulysses S. Grant, who in 1874 feted King David Kalakaua of the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii. 'There’s no substitute for being in each other’s home and developing a personal relationship,' said Anita McBride, who was chief of staff to Laura Bush. 'You reserve state visits for a circumstance when you want to promote the highest level of ceremony for your foreign visitor.'"
Soft power, gastrodiplomacy and long-term effects - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "In his op-ed 'Bringing a Hard Edge on Soft Power,' Prof. Phil Seib took a lil shot at gastrodiplomacy: '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.' While I respect Prof. Seib, I have to disagree with Uncle Phil this time. I responded: [']I have to disagree with you about the long-term effects of gastrodiplomacy, and by extension cultural diplomacy, on long-term effects on audiences. Gastrodiplomacy
is simply a newer medium in the sphere of cultural diplomacy, one that understands that emotional, trans-rational long-term connections that are the basis of soft power can be just as easily made with food as music or art. There are ample examples in public diplomacy history to back up the notion that cultural diplomacy drives the long-term effects of soft power. So if you accept that one of the key drivers of soft power is cultural diplomacy, then I would not be so quick to blithely dismiss a new manner in which it is practiced. I understand that soft power is ultimately a form of power, but I think it is short-sighted to think that long-term interests can truly be advanced by a harder edge of soft power. I agree that public diplomacy is ultimately about the long game, but to connect to long-term interests, you have to build connections and broader relationships with foreign publics. That comes through cultural diplomacy, be it through music, art or food. As such, these days I am convinced there is no public diplomacy but cultural diplomacy. Dr. John H. Brown also disagreed with such sentiments and responded with a lovely story of his diplomat father Dr. John L. Brown making connections at the dinner table: ['] Prof. Seib, In response to you[r] article, which gave me a slight indigestion, may I cite a passage from an article [by] my father, diplomat/scholar Dr. John L. Brown (who actually practiced 'public diplomacy' rather than just writing /pontificating about it), in the Foreign Service Journal (1964): 'In the course of the inauguration, I was introduced to the ranking Belgian present, a high official from the Ministry of Education, a gifted, somewhat erratic 'intellectual of the Left.' He was known for his hostility to the United States. We were seated side by side at the banquet which followed the inauguration. The savory ham of the Ardennes, smoked over a juniper fire, the fresh mountain trout, lightly browned in butter with golden almonds sprinkled on their crisp skin, the tender chicken
(the famous 'Coucous de Malines'), their white flesh punctuated generously with black truffles, the excellent wine, the cordial atmosphere of the old Hotel de ville all made conversation very easy. We talked about the concert, the music of Joaquim des Prez, the contributions of Belgium to medieval art, the researches of Pirenne on the Flemish cities. I found him a most pleasant companion, learned without being pedantic, animated with real enthusiasm for the past of his country. When the cheese came, he asked: 'But how can an American be interested in these things? Americans like only jazz.' I said that of course many Americans did like only jazz and in this they were like many Europeans. But, I went on, the organizer and director of the ensemble which played for us is an American and there are many such groups in the United States, which are specialized in ancient music. We began to speak about musical education, about Julliard and Curtis and Eastman, about the place that music occupies in the public educational system in America. We parted friends. We continued to see each other. I am still in correspondence with him.'-- John L. Brown, 'But what do you do,' American Diplomacy (reprint of 1964 Foreign Service article)" Top image from; below image from
Learning Large Lessons from Small Wars - Frank Hoffman, strategicstudyindia.blogspot.com: "The kinds of questions I envision being part of a larger strategic challenge include: ... Crafting and Communicating Narratives. How effective was the United States at crafting and delivering its narrative, to foreign and domestic audiences? What initiatives in public diplomacy or information/influence activities should be retained and what efforts taken?"
The Picture of America: To see ourselves as others see us, diplomatically [review of Through a Screen Darkly by Martha Bayles] - Sam Schulman, The Weekly Standard: "Martha Bayles, one of the great unsung critics of the baby boom generation, has written a book that is unusual for her. This is a brisk, how-policy-has-gone-wrong-and-what-to-do-about-it book, which conceals in its pages something more: a brilliant and courageous meditation on the difficulty of communication between modern and traditional societies. These difficulties, in turn, suggest that the values we regard as universally desirable may not be universal, or even desirable—and we certainly aren’t living by them. The argument is simply told. Public diplomacy is vital to American foreign policy. It wins us friends in the world, explains our ideals to skeptical foreign audiences, and shows that we are serious about those ideals. Ever since the United States entered World War I, we’ve conducted public diplomacy with varying levels of finesse, funding, and commitment. Unfortunately, funding and commitment withered away with the passing of the Soviet Union. The Clinton administration, in its first term, proposed cutting the budget for Radio Free Europe. In 1999, the United States Information Agency (USIA) was shuttered altogether by legislation designed by Senator Jesse Helms, Vice President Al Gore, future vice president Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The act distributed the functions of USIA, like fragments of Orpheus’ body, among lower-level officials.
Martha Bayles’s argument is that defunding public diplomacy in the 1990s didn’t halt our image-making activity; it merely privatized it: 'The entertainment industry [took] over the job of communicating America’s policies, ideals, and culture to a distrustful world.' But the entertainment industry had changed since the 1940s and ’50s, when it had worked hand-in-hand with Washington to produce an image of America that was noble, heroic, and disinterested. ... Bayles understands that the golden age of American public diplomacy is over. The Cold War audience yearned to be free; our mission was to ensure that they were well-informed and to urge them to be hopeful yet patient. Today’s audience has far more in common with its rulers than did the peoples of the Warsaw Pact, who were subject to an alien Communist regime. And today’s regimes can reassert their authority by mobilizing against a common threat to ruler and ruled: a godless, rootless America. Our gospel of freedom and individual possibility has little purchase in places where familiarity with our popular culture demonstrates that the outcome of our gospel is loathsome. Bayles’s genius here is not just in dissecting the pathology of the pop-culture mind, but in revealing its effects on the world at large—in matters of war, peace, freedom, and human relations. She is also open to the idea that the entertainment industry’s distortions and libels have a degree of truth to them. And that’s the bad news: America’s image, as distorted in Hollywood’s mirror, may be telling us something unlovely about ourselves." Image from
VOA English news, most language services ignore violent anti-corruption protests in Bosnia - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch
Has Canada Finally Discovered Digital Diplomacy? - Roland Paris, cips.uottawa.ca: "After years of sitting on the sidelines, Canada finally seems to be taking social media seriously as tool of diplomacy. Foreign Minister John Baird delivered a speech on Friday—appropriately in Silicon Valley, the world’s capital of technological innovation—embracing digital diplomacy in stronger terms than ever before. 'The closed world of démarches, summits, and diplomatic dinners,' he said, 'is no longer sufficient to project our values and interests.' In a report last year, I documented how far Canada had fallen behind its closest allies in the use of social media tools. The United States and Britain recognized the importance of digital diplomacy years ago, encouraging their ambassadors and missions to engage directly through social media with the public and policy leaders of other countries. ['] [U]nless 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. ['] Crucially, both the Americans and British understood that this meant giving individual diplomats greater freedom to communicate—and that the fluidity and informality of social media increased the risks of miscommunication and mistakes. The United States and U.K. accepted these risks as the price of getting their voices heard in new media, which are increasingly shaping and driving events.
By contrast, until recently, Canada’s foreign ministry used its relatively small number of social media channels to primarily broadcast press releases, not to engage in real-time exchanges that are the currency of new media. Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (DFATD) now uses social media as a virtual 'listening post' to analyze political patterns in foreign societies and movements. ... What was still missing in the Canadian approach, however, was 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 (i.e., accounts with followers) and a policy framework allowing diplomats to communicate in the relatively informal and rapid style of these media. In his speech today, John Baird suggested that Canada is belatedly getting into the digital diplomacy game." Image from
Sino-US relations and the benefits of soft power - Editorial, scmp.com: "China's diplomats tend to keep a low profile when abroad, living in closed compounds and rarely being seen outside official functions. They are more often than not perceived as being rigid and businesslike rather than friendly and approachable. Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai has made an obvious effort to break the mould, attending the Super Bowl, one of America's most popular sporting events, and ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. At a time of rising American mistrust of Beijing, there is no more basic form of soft power to help strengthen relations. The ambassador's stepped-up presence comes amid a series of cultural events marking the 35th anniversary of Sino-US diplomatic relations. Consul general to New York Sun Guoxiang flipped the switch on the Year of the Horse lights on the Empire State Building, and a concert by the New York Philharmonic featuring Chinese music was conducted by Long Yu, director of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. The performance continued a collaboration that taps into growing interest among mainland Chinese in Western classical music, viewed by the classical music world as vital to shoring up flagging Western interest in the genre. In terms of diplomacy, it is also a bridge contributing to trust and understanding. A poll by Pew Research found 33 per cent of Americans have a favourable view of China, down 18 percentage points on 2011. That is despite Beijing's long-standing policy of focusing on soft power to foster better relations. US academic Joseph Nye, who coined the term, does not believe top-down efforts like Confucius institutes and the China Public Diplomacy Association are the most effective ways of winning over rivals. President Xi Jinping's recent call to better promote the nation's culture seems a more pragmatic starting point. Diplomats, entertainers, sportspeople and artists are best suited to doing this. Soft power is, after all, the result of being admired, liked, respected or trusted. There is no better way to attain this than mingling with ordinary people."
China Pumps Up the Volume Against Japan: Normally Camera-Shy Envoys Are Speaking Out Loud and Clear Against Tokyo - Brian Spegele and Josh Chin, Wall Street Journal: "During a 2012 diplomatic feud, China's government allowed thousands of protesters to pelt Japan's embassy in Beijing with eggs and plastic waters bottles. Now, as tensions are flaring again, China's diplomats are taking a more button-down tack. Dressed in tailored suits and speaking fluent English, China's envoys are engaged in a global campaign to vilify Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Beijing's traditionally camera-shy envoys from Russia to Ethiopia and the U.S. are on a media blitz to label Mr. Abe a militarist and a threat to regional stability. One Chinese official compared Japan under Mr. Abe to Lord Voldemort—the arch-villain in the 'Harry Potter' novels.
Mr. Abe's outlook on history and right-wing tendency are 'a recipe for trouble,' Cui Tiankai, China's ambassador to Washington, told television interviewer Charlie Rose last month. The onslaught began after Mr. Abe deeply offended Beijing with his surprise visit to a controversial war shrine in December. Although he said hadn't intended to hurt any feelings with the visit, China was outraged. Since then, Beijing has sought to rally support from key Japanese allies, including the U.S. and the United Kingdom. 'This is how you do public diplomacy,' said Wang Dong, a Northeast Asia security specialist at Peking University. 'You speak directly to engage the American public and also the American policy makers.'" Image from entry, with caption: Xie Xiaoyan, China's ambassador to Ethiopia, holds up a photo of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a fighter jet. The number '731' was also used by a World War II Japanese military unit that experimented on humans. An official from Japan's Defense Ministry has said the jet's numbering was a coincidence.
China and Myanmar’s reforms - Trevor Wilson, asiapacific.anu.edu.au: "Reviewing official Chinese perspectives of activities between China and Myanmar during 2011-13, some interesting patterns emerge. ... The first noticeable feature is that China tends to avoid using the word 'reform' in formal statements: perhaps, for the Chinese, the word 'reform' smacks of interference in internal affairs; perhaps, for China, it is just a word laden with sensitivity. There are endless mentions of how changes in Myanmar are welcome as they will benefit China-Myanmar relations, but almost none explicitly call for 'reforms' to continue or to expand. ... The second distinctive pattern is the increased frequency of high-level visits in both directions in this transition period, a frequency partly necessitated by leadership changes in both countries. ... A third pattern is the noticeable increase in Chinese 'public diplomacy' activities in strategic support of Chinese interests. Such activities are more openly mentioned and described, and the term 'public diplomacy'
is specifically used. A very American concept if ever there was one, this shows that China realized that it could no longer take it for granted that its commercial actions would always be welcomed and unchallenged in Myanmar. The increased exposure given such Chinese activities also implied they were assuming greater value than the concrete assistance or program development involved. Of course, this increased attention was also recognition that China (and Myanmar) had not publicised their activities sufficiently, and indeed had not even seen the need to do so, either in terms of “informing the public” or in terms of allowing public responses to test the validity of the activities – something which was certainly not always a pre-requisite in China itself." Image from
help for students - lookpage.org: "[I]n 2011 the implementation of the Foreign Ministry and Chinese leaders met with foreign reporters to accept foreign media interviews 11 times, the implementation of foreign leaders met with reporters events 12 times, foreign reporters covering activities 61 times background briefing held hot issues 22 times China Senior diplomats abroad speech and interview 2700 times these figures also reflect the changes in China’s diplomacy. And this diplomatic efforts to seek change, can be discerned from the end of 2009, the Department established the Office of Public Diplomacy. In support of the decision-making layer, more than two years, the Office of Public Diplomacy planning and organizing various open days special topic briefings, and founded the 'Blue Hall Forum', China’s public diplomacy is also groping fade mature gradually into the heart public participation in the international situation and foreign policy discussions extent absorbed foreign policy decisions the adoption of public opinion has become increasingly large component. This change also in its dare touch new things, such as through the implementation of new media 'micro-diplomacy,' Chinese diplomacy is not lost 'fashion.' In April 2011, called 'diplomatic PHS' Sina Weibo debut has so far published nearly 3000 Weibo, reached more than 1.6 million fans."
Conference on Orthodoxy and Russian culture in Asia held in Beijing - theorthodoxchurch.info: "On December 13, 2013, a Chinese-Russian Conference “Russian cultural and historical traditions, and
organized by the world of politics and public diplomacy, and the Institute of World Religions of China Academy of Social Sciences with the participation of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the support of the 'Russkiy Mir' Foundation. The idea of the conference was endorsed by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate." Image from entry
Russian Public Diplomacy Wants To Hit The Jackpot! Will Succeed? - Dan Dima, caleaeuropeana.ro: "If for athletes and sports audiences worldwide the Winter Olympics Sochi 2014 means competition, goals, ambitions and pride, for us, those interested in public diplomacy, this event represents one of the most demanding efforts and challenge for a country and a nation which invest funds and a huge package of public diplomacy from where they expect, or so it would be normal to expect measurable benefits. So, Sochi 2014 is one of the greatest gestures in public diplomacy of Russian Federation with the aim to design for outside the desired image. ... At all these efforts, we need to note the discontent accumulated in dozens of communities of Russians which living in the Caucasus – a region where people speak over 40 languages and dialects. They had promises regarding the expansion of the gas network and the sewerage, works that have not been achieved and that, of course, after the Olympics will never be achieved by the Government. A giant bill for Sochi Olympics 2014, a bill that the Kremlin pays without any contraction! I cannot avoid a short description how Estonia, not many years ago, has mobilized it’s [sic] citizens in an online voting which had made possible the entry of their capital (as name and description) in the capitals list of Monopoly Game – an action of public diplomacy which has had almost zero cost, but whose effectiveness cannot be questioned. ... Television audiences and real sports fan will enjoy the competition itself and the show elements will undoubtedly cause ... instant emotional perceptions. What matters in such actions is the length of perception – that type of perception from which the country which makes an effort of this scale, will get the benefits in the months and years ahead… or not. The future will confirm or refute these theoretical assumptions about the effectiveness of the public diplomacy effort of Russia and the world so far."
If you missed the Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony... - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "... it is truly a shame, because despite everything that has been, is, and will be wrong with the games [or
Yes, a lot of it is and will be claimed as a success for Putin personally; but since he plays a central role in the image and the public diplomacy strategy of the new and resurgent Russia, that goes hand in hand with their perceived public diplomacy success (for better or worse). ... Of course, it is too early to be making any assessments about the long-term impact the Sochi Olympics will have for Russia's soft power and public diplomacy success. Yet, in the short-term, all the hostility towards the host will probably mellow." Image from entry, with caption: Communism, a la avant-garde
Olympic Opening Ceremony Review: Who Says Propaganda Can’t be Entertaining? - Brian Lowry, Variety: "There are really two ways to watch the Olympic festivities: Laugh at them for the bloated exercises in propaganda that they are, or embrace the pageantry and the one-world ideal. Either way, there was a lot of cool stuff to see on Friday night, as well as much at which one could poke fun, from the glitch involving the Olympic rings (hey, four out of five isn’t bad) to NBC’s ponderous 'All of Russian history in six minutes' introductory film package.' ... As for those who will fret about the Games becoming a showcase for Putin’s Russia, as they did in Beijing, take solace in two things: All that will go out the window once the figure skating starts; and given how hard the Russians are marketing themselves — and how often this Russian revolution will be interrupted by commercial breaks — it sure looks like the capitalists have won."
Garry Kasparov: NBC Acting Like ‘Cheerleaders’ for Putin ‘Propaganda’ - Josh Feldman, mediaite.com: NBC is in a precarious position covering the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and Russian
activist and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov took to Twitter to lambaste NBC for already acting like state propaganda for Vladimir Putin. Image from entry
Are the Olympics an Opportunity for Public Diplomacy? - Madeline Bersch, American Security Project: "It’s certainly possible for diplomacy to occur over the course of the Games; however, I’m skeptical that a setting in which nationalism rules would present a fair opportunity to create meaningful and lasting—as well measurable—public diplomacy outcomes, especially in an official government capacity. While bringing athletes together can have positive effects, the environment surrounding the Olympics does not lay sturdy groundwork for public diplomacy to flourish."
World of American donations to the Jewish State revolutionized - Yitzhak Benhorin, ynetnews.com: "The Center for Entrepreneurial Jewish Philanthropy (CEJP)... hosted a venture capital convention, in which investors listened to entrepreneurs to chose initiatives that seem investment worthy.
For two days, some 75 Jewish philanthropists and their delegates arrived at the convention, to take a look at 17 entrepreneurs who run projects for Israel in the fields of media, policy, and hasbara. People flew in from Israel, Geneva, Paris, and across the US. Despite a heavy snow storm, closed roads and airports, philanthropists and organizations alike arrived at the convention. ... Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor spoke at the convention, explaining to philanthropists the problems and needs regarding the UN position, also elaborating on needs in Europe, based on his previous post as Israeli ambassador to the UK. Noam Katz, Minister for Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, used the opportunity to reveal to the philanthropists 'the diplomatic challenges' Israel faces. The most efficient way to represent Israel, many have suggested, is to bring as many people as possible to visit Israel – not only Jews and members of congress, but also journalists, college professors, and members of minority communities in the US. ... Hyman [Joseph Hyman, who has been serving in senior positions in the world of Jewish philanthropy for the past two decades] addressed the impending visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land, noting it is a 'hasbara superbowl,' as masses of journalists are expected to arrive at the Jewish State, but only a few would be able accompany the Pope – the rest will need guidance, tours, interviews." Image from
Coming to Town 2-7-14 - jewishaz.com: "College-age IDF soldiers to speak in Tempe, Sun City: Two reserve-duty Israeli college students will visit Arizona to discuss their backgrounds, life in Israel and experiences during their IDF service as part of the StandWithUs sixth annual U.S. 'Israeli Soldiers Studies' tour. ... The speakers are both graduates of the StandWithUs Israel Fellowship, a public diplomacy program that selects and trains 150 student leaders each year from six Israeli universities. The soldiers speak at university campuses, schools, synagogues and churches across North America."
Anti-Semitism driving French Jewish migration to Israel - Brett Wilkins, digitaljournal.com: "The Israeli government has taken steps to make it easier for French Jews to make their aliyah, announcing a three-year plan that has begun with the recognition of
French diplomas for medical and tax professionals. The Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs also plans to offer special assistance with job placement, housing, and education for French Jews. Image from entry, with caption: New French Jewish immigrants become Israeli citizens
News Nosh 02.03.14 [scroll down link for item] - APN, peacenow.org: "Mutual justice (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) [:] Close to one million Jews left their homes in Arab countries...They left behind property and memories that were not particularly pleasant. Yerushalmi, whose family was from Damascus, notes, 'The State of Israel, after it arose, had many opportunities to demand the property of these Jewish refugees,' but adds, 'The state was silent even after the Palestinian refugees began to demand to return to their homes in Israel...With a genuine and sincere public diplomacy effort, it would be possible to cancel the Palestinian demand for a right of return and take it off the agenda,' and regrets that the issue of the Jewish refugees from Islamic countries has garnered headlines only recently."
One mistake soften the career principle: The federal government wants to take newcomers to the diplomatic corps. Why Ex-Ambassador Thomas Borer criticizes - Interview By Martin Furrer, tagesanzeiger.ch:"[Q:] Mr. Borer, the Parliament wishes to examine in the current year if the federal government recruited aspiring diplomats correctly. It caters obviously, Switzerland were the good diplomats. Share this worry? [A:] Yeah, I myself am also concerned that fewer and fewer Swiss people want to take the diplomatic profession. ... [Q:] How do you actually define a good diplomat? [A:] A good diplomat must be an intelligent, extroverted cosmopolitan. In an area he should also possess special skills, such as negotiation skills, language, business, public relations. [Q:] That's it? [A:] The media play an increasingly important role. A diplomat must also represented medially and better able to influence the opinion of his host country, Switzerland today. This quality has become more important.
[Q:] That sounds like a plea for the somewhat controversial 'public diplomacy', which once touted SP-Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey. [A:] You can see rightly so. Public diplomacy, which is also my ceterum censeo. [Q:] Calmy-Rey's successor, Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter FDP, discrete acts. How do you evaluate his work? Mr. Burkhalter has shown since the beginning of the year, when he was President, how much value he places on 'public diplomacy'. His most recent visit to Japan, his appearances in Davos, show the Syria Conference in Geneva: The Foreign Minister defends the interests of Switzerland abroad the best possible way." Image from entry, with caption: «Activity loses its appeal» : Thomas Borer was in the 90s responsible for the reorganization of representations abroad.
"Austria brand" is slow in coming [Google "translation'] - oe1.orf.at: "Austria is to be internationally a unique brand with a positive image. This has already decided about two years ago the federal government. The aim of this 'nation branding': Austria is a magnet for investors, tourists, students and businesses. Real results, there is not but still. ... Our neighbors Germany, Switzerland and Italy have us a little ahead: In international comparison, they have a better reputation than Austria. ... The government program is barely noted that the nation-brand project is to be implemented and a nation-brand agency will be set up in the Ministry of Economy. That the government has also announced the year before almost half, with several pilot projects. For instance, your the 'Austria Card,' with investors, researchers and students tied to Austria. Or the so-called 'public diplomacy' Secretariat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is supposed to represent excellence Austria internationally targeted. All there is so far any more than the common Internet portal of all ministries for international users. purpose Mitterlehner: 'We have to now put 700,000 euros in the project, and the reaction is then always incur costs in the year, we now cover only. As you know, our budgetary situation is not so positive that we say we have as unrestricted funds.' Building a 'brand Austria' will therefore cost more money than ever before. For this you will soon see results but, according to the minister. 'Now this year I do not even have a time delay, but a fairly accurate and timely implementation.'"
New public diplomacy: la proyección de España en Alemania - Eduardo Puig de la Bellacasa Aznar, rcysostenibilidad.telefonica.com: "'Friends of Spain en Alemania' se presentó en Berlín el pasado 28 de enero. El evento, que tuvo lugar en la embajada española, estuvo presidido por el embajador Pablo García-Berdoy y contó con la presencia
España en Alemania', participaron José Luis Bonet, presidente de Freixenet, Valentina Daiber, vicepresidenta de Regulación de Telefónica, Ramón Paredes, vicepresidente de Relaciones Institucionales de Seat y Fernando Carro, presidente de Bertelsmann España. La periodista Úrsula Moreno, del periódico 'Deutsche Welle', se encargó de moderar la conversación. ... Tras las intervenciones de los panelistas hubo un debate en el que todos destacaron que la crisis ha hecho que las compañías españolas pongan más interés y énfasis en su internacionalización y Alemania es un mercado con enorme potencial para ellas, al igual que España para las empresas alemanas." Image from
EU ministers look to salvage Georgia and Moldova pacts - Andrew Rettman, euobserver.com: "The EU is considering hiring lobbyists to counter Russian 'disinformation' and giving more money to Georgia and Moldova in reaction to the Ukraine crisis. The ideas are put forward in two internal papers - seen by EUobserver - to be discussed by EU foreign ministers at a lunch in Brussels on Monday (10 February). They come after Ukraine, under Russian pressure, refused to sign an EU association and free trade pact in Lithuania last year, putting in doubt the viability of the EU policy for the region, the so-called Eastern Partnership (EaP). One paper, entitled '20 points on the Eastern Partnership post-Vilnius,' was written by Sweden and signed by 12 other EU countries, including Germany, Poland, and the UK. It calls for Georgia and Moldova to sign EU pacts by August, but has lower ambitions for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Ukraine itself. Following Russia’s customs blockade on Ukraine last summer, it warns the EU should: 'Raise preparedness in expectation of further external and internal threats or actions against front-runners, such as trade embargoes, restrictions against migrant workers, increased tension in protracted conflicts.' It lays out plans for a PR campaign to 'respond to disinformation … including through engagement of public diplomacy experts.' It says there should be 'a constant flow of EU high-level visits,' to Georgia and Moldova, with 'specific activities … aimed at national minorities and remote regions.' It adds that pro-EU countries should be rewarded by 'prioritising additional EU funding.'
On Ukraine, it rules out sanctions for now, but keeps the option open if things get worse, saying the Union should: 'Continue engagement with Ukraine on a broad political spectrum and adjust the EU policy in light of developments.' It does not give up even on Belarus. Mixing sport with politics, it notes the EU should, via 'informal contacts' with Minsk, look to 'using' its Ice Hockey World Championship this year to encourage 'positive steps on political prisoners.'” Image from entry, with caption: Medieval map of Georgia: The Swedish paper warned to expect 'trade embargoes, restrictions against migrant workers, increased tension in protracted conflicts.'
Panel on truths of Karabakh held as part of winter university - news.az: "Next panel was held as part of the project Winter University for Young Leaders. The meeting held under the title of ‘Role of public diplomacy in disseminating truths of Azerbaijan’ was attended by MP Ganira Pashayeva and Chairman of Coordinating Council of the Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh Region of Republic of Azerbaijan Orkhan Akbarov. MP Ganira Pashayeva said every citizen, wherever he lives, should try to raise awareness of world of Karabakh truths. Appreciating similar projects, the MP said it is very important for her to have an exchange of views with the youth and listen to the youth. In turn, Orkhan Akbarov said it is one of the priorities to raise awareness of world of the truths regarding Karabakh. Today our youth does much in this regard.
The goal of all of us is to disseminate Karabakh truths to world community fully and in an unbiased way. Winter University for Young Leaders is organized by IRELI Public Union and sponsored by Youth and Sports Ministry." Image from entry
Gas prices revive 'dirty coal' - Ben Packham, theaustralian.com: "Greg Sheridan: The Abbott government should simply abolish the ABC's overseas Australia Network, which broadcasts into
Turning off Australia Network - theaustralian.com.au: "Plainly, the [Australia] network, never successful, should be abolished. It is not winning hearts and minds and its 'propaganda' mission sits oddly with the journalistic ethos the ABC should aspire to. Public diplomacy can better be pursued through direct engagement with foreigners: scholarships for students, university courses in Australian studies, sponsored visits here by opinion makers and tours of the region by our leading performers and thinkers. If people in Asia want to learn about our liberal democracy, or are hungry for news, sport or re-runs of TV soaps, there are now plenty of media platforms to satisfy those desires."
The Signs Of Collapse Of The Rajapaksa Regime - Robinhood, srilankaguardian.org: "Following the official arrival of the UNHR commissioner, the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and the visit of the US senator Stephen Rapp the international criticism against Democracy, Human Rights, Good governance and war crimes committed against the Tamil civilians during the final stages of the war has gained momentum and festered enough to reach into Sri Lankas domestic affairs. It has developed into a stage where the Mahinda Rajapaksa government cannot evade nor escape from international focus. The main cause for that is none other than the arrogance of the Rajapaksa regime. The Rajapaksa government has to categorically face the consequence in the coming UNHRC session on this coming March. It is believed the war crimes allegation hitherto which was down the agenda during the previous sessions has reached on top of the agenda this time. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government have to bear the sole responsibility for culminating this affair into its peak. Disagreeing to comply, lack of public diplomacy and integrity, the current Human Rights records in the country and the hoodlum attitude showed in the presence of international journalists during the CHOGM may have caused to escalate the situation."
Keeping the Kashmir question alive - Inayatullah, nation.com.pk: "Pakistanis must remember that Pakistan is an internationally recognized party to the Kashmir Question. With a view to redeeming its unpardonable lapses, it is time for the government to earnestly take up the question of outrageous violations of Human Rights. India’s uncivilized behavior needs to be highlighted on a regular basis in all the major capitals of the world through public diplomacy, through media especially the TV channels and the internet.
Specific cases like that of the mass graves, thousands of missing persons and in particular the judicial murder of Afzal Guru should be taken up at various international forums including the International Criminal Court and even at the ICJ. European Parliaments Resolutions in this regard too should be intelligently availed of. India is not going to budge from its Atut Ang stance. Only escalating international pressure can possibly bring about a change in its outrageously intransigent behavior." Image from
Master artists, scholars to dialogue on performing arts and cultural diplomacy - Philippine Daily Inquirer: "The UP Center for International Studies (UPCIS), as part of celebrating UP Diliman Month, will conduct an international conference with performances titled 'Japan’s Noh Theater and the Philippine Practice of Western Performance Traditions: A Dialogue on Global Cultural Exchange and Diplomacy' on Feb. 10, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., at Aldaba Recital Hall, University Theater, UP Diliman. The event will examine and showcase Noh Theater, a more than 650-year-old performed art form originating in Japan, as it initiates reflections and dialogues related to the Philippine context of Western performance traditions and their historical artistic development."
Ethiopia: Dr. Tedros Meets the Ethiopian Artists - allafrica.com: "Foreign Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, met with artists and other stakeholders from the Ethiopian National Theatre on Monday (February 3) to discuss the progress of public diplomacy progress and national image building through the use of art and creativity. Dr. Tedros welcomed the initiative of the participants to help the public diplomacy sector and national image building process. He gave details of the efforts made by the Government to enhance the image of Ethiopia, and emphasized that public diplomacy and image building could be realized only through the efforts of all stakeholders: artists, universities, and prominent individuals as well as government and the public sector. He noted that music, drama, film, theatre and literature had great power to impact, even make or break foreign relations between countries. He called up on all stakeholders to work in cooperation with government to create a brand new image of Ethiopia and help realize the Ethiopian Renaissance. Culture and Tourism Minister, Amin Abdulkadir, also stressed that art was one of the most important tools to realize development, democracy, good governance and the country's renaissance. He noted that Ethiopian artists had been working to build a national consensus on different issues including the
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project and other elements of the national agenda. Participants in the meeting suggested a number of different ideas on how to enhance and build the image of Ethiopia including an African annual festival in Ethiopia and an African art award, provision of tourist certificates, translations of Ethiopian artistic work in drama, poetry, literature and films into other languages and working with well-known and prominent individuals. They also underlined the importance of capacity building training and other supports for artistic activity." Image from
Ethiopia: Responding Prudently to Egyptian Authorities' Vacillation On Nile - allafrica.com: "Ever since Ethiopia announced plans to build the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and commenced construction works, Egyptian officials have been displaying naked hostility to the project. ... A 45-member strong public diplomacy delegation led by an Egyptian foreign ministry official is due to pay a visit to Ethiopia in the coming days. The delegation is expected to hold talks, among others, with officials of the African Union Peace and Security Council. It's also scheduled to have an audience with the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This diplomatic charm offensive must not lull us into a sense of complacency, however. We should be mindful of the fact that Egyptian authorities will not desist from discrediting the GERD and have in fact gone to the extent of spreading hatred towards the dam within the civil societies and religious institutions of Egypt and Sudan while at the same time projecting themselves as being committed to a negotiated settlement of their differences with Ethiopia. Therefore, Ethiopia should ramp up its diplomatic engagement with the Nile basin countries, other African countries and the rest of the world to ensure that they stand behind it. ... [I]t is particularly important for
The Hon Mr Michael Poole, MLA Portfolio Report and Debate - falklandnews.com: "The Hon Mr Michael Poole, MLA Portfolio Report and Debate[:] MP: Thank-you Mr Speaker. My portfolio is Policy and Public Diplomacy so it is quite wide-ranging and includes the Policy Unit, the Environmental Planning Department I also Chair the Tourist Board at the Moment and Public Diplomacy obviously as well. With this being a new element to legislative Assembly, I think it will develop over time, however, we can approach these briefings. As with everybody s portfolio, there s a lot going on lots of moving parts at the moment. I think it would be impractical to cover everything so I will limit myself to key areas at this stage. I will begin by noting that in Executive Council this week approved this Government s broad approach to public diplomacy for the next four years. And I think we are committed to continuing the excellent work of previous governments in this area by getting our message of self-determination out to a wider audience overseas and inviting people in as well to see what the Falklands are about. I think a lot of it is just a continuation of what has gone on before. There are a couple of key changes. Firstly people will see advertisements in penguin News and other areas inviting a wide range of the community to get involved in public diplomacy to put their name forward to be part of a list to be held in Gilbert House to become involved in overseas trips, for helping with invited visitors as well. And I think the second kind of change to the strategy to the broad level is that yes, we are getting our message of self-determination out to a wider audience but we are also looking at wider areas of business interests, commercial interests we are looking at creating educational links that kind of thing. It s really quite a broad programme and it s not solely about getting that single message out. ... PR: Thank you very much for that report. I found that very interesting particularly on the Public Diplomacy part. I would very much welcome the approach to look
for special advisors that might travel with us overseas. I think it is really critical that we spread the load. I really don t feel that 8 of us can do justice to the amount of work that s required there. And I think we should be targeting all ages. We have looked at younger people but I think we are looking for all ages across the spectrum of people that can contribute and accompany MLAs overseas." Image from
Announcing the 2014 Decolonization Seminar Participants! - nationalhistorycenter.org: "The National History Center is pleased to announce the 16 individuals who will be joining the Ninth International Seminar on Decolonization this summer in Washington, DC! [including] ... Frank Gerits, European University Institute, The Counterinsurgency of Public Diplomacy, Africa and the Politics of Psychology."
A Citizen’s Guide to Terrorism and Counterterrorism - Christopher C. Harmon, insideronline.org: "This Citizen’s Guide addresses the public policy issues of terrorism and counterterrorism in the United States after Bin Laden’s death. Written for the thinking citizen and student alike, this succinct and up-to-date book takes a 'grand strategy' approach toward terrorism and uses examples and issues drawn from present-day actors. Christopher Harmon, a veteran academic of military theory who has also instructed U.S. and foreign military officers, first introduces the problem of America’s continued vulnerability to terrorist attack by reviewing recent attacks and attempts against the U.S. Part II examines the varied ways in which the U.S. is already fighting terrorism. He then outlines the various aspects of the U.S. strategy, including intelligence, diplomacy, public diplomacy, economic counterterrorism, and law and law-making. Next, Harmon sketches the prospects for further action, listing recommendations with pros and cons and also including factual stories of how individual citizens have made a difference against terrorism." Below image from
The power of citizens (Citizen 2.0): 17 examples of government social media innovation - Blog de innovación social de Guadalupe de la Mata: "What was the impetus for Citizen 2.0 and process for selecting companies featured? 'The story of this paper is about connecting the dots. Firstly, there is RedCut and swissnex Boston collaborating to conduct research and write a paper about innovation, technology, and citizenship. These are areas of great interest for us. Secondly, at RedCut, we are heavy users of crowdsourcing platforms for creating our citizenship games, and through this effort, we came to appreciate what connected crowds with a purpose can achieve. Thirdly, in our regular interactions with mayors and other government officials, we learned about their strong interest in the topic and their lack of time to properly explore and embrace it. Therefore, we decided to provide a source of inspiration to our stakeholders and open it to all citizens of the world. Our selection is the result of conversations with field experts and innovators combined with online research. The list features innovation in crisis mapping, ideation, public diplomacy, nation branding, and agenda setting, to name a few areas covered. It is global with cases originating in Canada, Kenya, Brazil,Australia, and the US. Given that US eGovernment initiatives have been more oriented toward outreach to citizens as opposed to internal business-process efficiency, you will find more cases originating in the US. [']"
Diplomat-in-residence plans to use experience to aid students - Mackenzie Mathews, wkuherald.com: "The upcoming diplomat-in-residence, Michael McClellan, plans to use his numerous qualifications and experiences to bring a new form of international exposure to WKU. McClellan began his work in Public Diplomacy with the Foreign Service during his doctoral studies at Indiana University in 1984. His job was to raise awareness and understanding of US policy in a particular country by living abroad, experiencing the culture. He said that cultural involvement was one of the greatest aspects of his work. 'I think the main thing is having a much greater understanding and appreciation of international affairs: working internationally, living internationally… really being able to get to know other cultures through their people and their politics and their history and issues,' McClellan said. 'And to me that’s the best part of this work — all of that international exposure that you get.'”
Romerstein collection becomes core of National Security Enterprise library - National Security Enterprise, To Inform is to Influence: IO, SC, PD, what's in a name? "The core of NSE’s new library comes from one of the legendary heroes in the defense of the US from foreign espionage, subversion, disinformation and propaganda. Herbert Romerstein spent decades as a congressional investigator, involved in probes that broke up Soviet espionage networks, terrorist support organizations, and the Ku Klux Klan. He was one of the operational leaders of the successful US efforts to counter Soviet active measures against the US, and helped American analysts develop templates to map Islamist networks in the US and worldwide. Herb Romerstein died in May, 2013. ... Herb Romerstein wrote countless congressional staff reports, articles and books. ... He authored two chapters in Strategic Influence: Public Diplomacy, Counterpropaganda and Political Warfare (2009)."
LUNA+EISENLA launches - Drinker's tribal practice jumps to Powers Pyles - Byron Tau: politico.com: "D.C.-based public affairs firm kglobal has hired Chuck Dolan as a senior vice president. Dolan's career in public affairs includes stints at Prism Public Affairs, Ketchum Public Relations, Cassidy and Associates, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, and the Democratic Governors Association."
28 Incredibly Impressive Young Leaders At The University Of Calgary - genyinc.com: "Fiona Rumohr ... Fiona's Washington experience continued when she worked for the
US State Department at the US Consulate in Calgary, where she worked on policy recommendations and political economic reporting for issues relating to the energy market, public diplomacy, and cross-border trade." Rumohr image from entry
Sitdown with NCC’s brainy new CEO Mark Kristmanson - Posted by Joanne Chianello, blogs.ottawacitizen.com: Kristmanson: "The Centre of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has an opening for a visiting Canadian research chair in public diplomacy. I discussed the project with the director there and the suggestion was to do something on the international relationship of cities. So I conducted a small research group and a seminar looking at the ways cities are operating internationally, working city-to-city, mayor-to-mayor, city administration-to-city administration, on everything from remediation after war, all the way to south-to-south cities dealing with collapsing escarpments or disaster relief, to best governance practices to clean water. This turned out to be a fascinating subject."
10 most popular schools for international students - cnn.com: America's reputation around the world may wax and wane as its foreign policies and leaders change, but its colleges seem only to grow in global luster and appeal. Foreign students contributed $24 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2012-2013 school year, 12% more than the previous year, according to trade group NAFSA, the Association of International Educators. Via MR on Facebook
Hamid Karzai's cozy history with the Taliban: The Afghan president was, for instance, once asked to become a high-ranking member of the Taliban government - Sarah Chayes, latimes.com: Afghan President Hamid Karzai's every word and deed of late seems designed to appeal to the Taliban leadership and its backers in Pakistan, and to fracture the partnership
between Afghanistan and the American people. Image from entry, with caption: Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks to journalists during a press conference in Kabul. Karzai said that Washington needs to make concrete steps towards peace with the Taliban before Afghanistan will sign an agreement to allow a continued U.S. military presence in his country.
The U.S. is supporting oppression in Egypt - Ahmed Maher, Washington Post: It must be asked: Do American taxpayers support U.S. financing of repression in Egypt? Will the United States stand by as dictatorship is restored? Or will Americans stand with the Egyptian people in their ongoing struggle for freedom and democracy?
Egypt's War on Journalism - Marwan Bishara, New York Times: Since its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Egypt has received $66 billion in cash and goods from the United States, including heavy-duty hardware like 1,000 tanks and 221 fighter jets. It’s puzzling, therefore, to hear America’s leverage with Egyptian leaders being minimized where human rights and freedom of expression are concerned.
The Price of Pulling Back From the World - Stephen Sestanovich, New York Times: Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry count too much on negotiation to achieve their goals. Retrenchment always strengthens Congress’s role in foreign policy. No American president has ever begun a retrenchment and then, as new challenges arose, found the path back to greater activism.
A 'Collective' U.S.-Japan Defense: Tokyo steps into Asia's security breach to counter rising China - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: A coalition of democracies could be an effective counterweight to China's encroaching militarism.
Iran ramps up propaganda against West - sunnewsnetwork.ca: Iranian state television has run a documentary called ‘The Nightmare of Vultures', which features computer generated images of Iranian forces striking Israeli and American targets. The video simulation shows Iranian drone aircraft attacking Israel targets such as Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport, and the Dimona nuclear station. The American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln is also shown being attacked and sunk in the Persian Gulf.
The Friday airing of this video was followed up on the weekend with strong rhetoric from high-ranking Iranian officials. Image from entry, with caption: Computer Generated Images of
Insurgents Killed While Filming Propaganda Video In Iraq - netnebraska.org: At least 21 insurgents were killed by an accidental car bomb explosion Monday, the BBC reports, during the filming of a propaganda video for an intended suicide attacker. The explosion occurred on a desert road about 12 miles from the central
Sochi Scene: No FBI or CIA - The Associated Press: Krasnaya Polyana, Russia -- Here's an odd sign that Associated Press photographer Jae C. Hong ran across Friday in the mountains outside Sochi, where Olympic skiing and snowboarding competitions are being held. No word on the restaurant's policy toward the NSA. Via AC on Facebook
From: America’s ridiculously large, $16 trillion economy - Mark J. Perry, aei-ideas.org. Via JM on Facebook
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"[T]he German philosopher Heidegger, ... according to Richard Rorty, felt guilty for living in a universe he had not himself created."
--Alvin Plantinga, an emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame
We had an outage at my place this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad and my new surround sound music system were all shut down. Then I discovered that my iPhone battery was flat and to top it off it was snowing so hard outside, I couldn't even go shopping at Canadian Tire. I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power, so I talked with my wife for a few hours.
She seems like a nice person.
--Via WNB by email; image from