Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Purpose of British Public Diplomacy: to "champion" policies

I thought the British were admirably reserved, but find the stated aim of British public diplomacy -- "to ... champion British policies" (see below "company" announcement, found on the Internet while not looking for a job) -- somewhat off-putting in its triumphalist perspective, even if I do come from a country known for its excessive cheerleading and on-steroids advertising when "explaining" its foreign policy to overseas audiences. But then the word "champion," when used as a verb in British English, may not have the same same "go-team-go" connotation that it does (especially as a noun) on this Wild West side of the pond.

As for other terms used in the below announcement, they sound like locker-room talk before the Big Game ("energetic team-player")/military jargon ("strategic communications) employed, sadly and all too often, in describing/simplifying the subtleties of carrying out effective public diplomacy, even in a former colony.

image from

BTW, of all the words I despise in job announcements, it is the word "key."

Communications Officer ...
Company: British Embassy
Location: Washington, DC
Date Posted: November 5, 2014

The British Embassy is seeking a Communications Officer to join its ten-person team in Washington, D.C. The ideal candidate will be an energetic team player who combines strategic awareness with strong command of the detail and enjoys producing high calibre communications campaigns while working in a fast-paced environment. This position works with the media and public to explain and champion [my emphasis - JB] British policies to the U.S. audience through media relations, digital outreach, and strategic communications campaigns. Lead on communications outreach around a range of UK government policy issues and reputation, including but not limited to economic policy, trade, science, innovation and energy policy issues. Collaborate with policy colleagues within the Embassy, London, and at Consulates throughout the US, as well as external stakeholders to develop and implement strategies and projects for the promotion of key [my emphasis - JB] public diplomacy messages.


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