Friday, August 18, 2017

President’s arts and humanities committee resigns over Trump’s Charlottesville response

Edward-Isaac Dovere, [see also]; Via DO on Facebook

First Lady Melania Trump
First Lady of the United States Melania Trump serves as the Honorary Chair of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. [from]

Another advisory group is walking away from President Donald Trump after his equivocation on neo-Nazis and white supremacists, with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities [PCAH] resigning en masse Friday morning.

“We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” members write in a joint letter to Trump obtained by POLITICO, which ends by calling on the president to resign if he does not see a problem with what’s happened this week.

The first letter of each paragraph of the letter spells out "Resist."

The group works with American educators and leads cultural delegations to other countries. Members include artist Chuck Close, actor Kal Penn, author Jhumpa Lahiri and Vicki Kennedy.

Penn tweeted Friday that George C. Wolfe of the Public Theater in New York later added his name to the letter, meaning the full committee quit.

“Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions,” the letter goes on.

As first lady, Melania Trump serves as the Committee's honorary chair.

Executives fleeing Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and Strategy & Policy Forum led the president to announce on Wednesday, after the fact, that he was ending them anyway. Thursday, he announced the disbanding of the Infrastructure council.

Unlike those groups, the PCAH is an official agency. That makes this the first White House department to resign.

The PCAH letter details a case against Trump that goes deeper than other recent comments.

“You released a budget which eliminates arts and culture agencies. You have threatened nuclear war while gutting diplomacy funding. The administration pulled out of the Paris agreement, filed an amicus brief undermining the Civil Rights Act and attacked our brave trans service members. You have subverted equal protections, and are committed to banning Muslims and refugee women & children from our great country,” the members write. “This does not unify the nation we all love.”

Citing the contrast between America and Cuba, where the group recently led a delegation, the letter says that Trump is eating away at American values.

“Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed,” the letter states.

The 17-member committee was appointed by President Barack Obama and hasn't met under Trump, but it has continued work on some of its programs. Internal discussions throughout the week among its members led to the decision behind Friday's letter.

“Our job is to help protect those who teach America’s story through art and through a free press," said Eric Ortner, a talent manager, producer and manager who signed the letter. Ortner, a former chair of the White House Entertainment Advisory Committee, added: "I wanted to make sure that we were on the right side of American history."

Note on the activities of PCAH during the Obama administration:
In addition to the domestic creative youth development programs, Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba School, representing the field of creative youth development in Cuba, received the International Spotlight Award. This was the first time that an award was presented to an organization from Cuba, and it was one of the outcomes of the President’s Committee’s cultural delegation to Cuba with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution in April 2016. As part of the cultural mission, NAHYP Director Traci Slater-Rigaud visited a variety of Cuban creative youth development programs, resulting in this year’s special recognition of the Cuban efforts.


Text of above-cited letter from 

Red Line: Public Diplomacy in the Age of Trump

USC Events Calendar: Red Line: Public Diplomacy in the Age of Trump

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Wednesday, August 23 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Annenberg Auditorium (ASC), Room 207

3502 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089

The United States today has two competing foreign policy visions, driven by deep political divides, that have created serious international uncertainty regarding how America sees its role and responsibilities on the global stage. These competing world views are “Indispensable America” vs. “Fortress America."

Those who embrace “Indispensable America” believe that no major global problem can be solved without the United States, but also that no major global problem can be solved by the United States alone. Conversely, those who support “Fortress America” believe in unilateral action and bilateral trade, viewing multilateralism as constraining and disadvantageous, and cooperation with global partners as transactional.

Join P.J. Crowley, a former Assistant Secretary of State and one of America’s most insightful national security commentators, for a conversation on U.S. domestic politics and the future of America’s global leadership in the age of Trump. Crowley will discuss how U.S. domestic politics shaped the foreign policy and public diplomacy of the Obama administration, how they have influenced the first year of the Trump administration, and what this means for America’s global leadership over the long term.

Crowley reviews in his recent book, Red Line: American Foreign Policy in a Time of Fractured Politics and Failing States, how the expansive view of an exceptional America that won the Cold War and sought to establish a new world order led to the eventual strategic overreach that culminated with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The resulting Iraq Syndrome influenced America’s electoral choices, narrowed its international ambitions, and lowered the risks and costs its people were willing to shoulder.

2017 Summer “Diplomacy Workshop For Undergraduate Students”...


image from

1. The Korea National Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Ministry will hold the 47th 'diplomacy workshop for undergraduate students' for about 70 selected undergraduates from across the country from August 21 to 25.
2. The diplomacy workshop for undergraduate students has been held during summer and winter vacations since 2004 in order to raise Korean undergraduates' understanding of diplomatic issues and build their global capacity. So far, the KNDA has held a total of 46 workshops, in which about 2,300 students participated.
3. The upcoming workshop will consist of various lessons and discussion programs, including lessons on the ROK's public diplomacy, the ROK's relations with major countries, and development cooperation, as well as a mock international conference.
o Question-and-answer and discussion sessions with lecturers, including incumbent and former diplomats and KNDA professors, are expected to provide participating students with a precious opportunity to better understand the ROK's foreign policy and communicate with the Foreign Ministry.
4. The next workshop will take place in February next year. Related details will be provided through universities across the country in December this year and applications will be received thereafter.
* unofficial translation

Cultural Affairs Assistant, Trainee

U.S. Embassy Bangkok image from

FSN#2017/115(T)/ Cultural Affairs Assistant, Trainee
LOCATION: The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai
SALARY:  Starting from THB 615,726per annum
CLOSING DATE:September 7, 2017
The incumbent is recognized as the Locally Employed (LE) expert in local culture, program planning and execution, and on the Consulate’s relations with local media.  S/he serves as the primary contact in planning, developing, administering, and implementing the full range of public diplomacy programs, as well as in developing and maintaining key contacts.
  • EDUCATION:Bachelor’s degree in English, Political Science, Public Relations, Mass Communications, or International relations is required.
  • EXPERIENCE:A minimum of two years of progressive experience in public relations with mid-level and/or university teaching is required.  
  • LANGUAGE:Level 4 (Fluent) Speaking/Reading/Writing English and Thai are required.  A copy of valid TOEIC score (Listening and Reading Section) of at least 855 is required with your application before the deadline. (This will be tested.) 
    • Excellent organizational skills are required.
    • Ability to handle multiple large-scale projects concurrently, a creative imagination, resourcefulness, and strong inter-personal and writing skills are required. (This will be tested.) 
BENEFITS: Bonus, Life Insurance, Health Insurance, Holidays
Please follow the check lists and submission guidelines, posted on the official website: carefully and submit complete application package thru before the deadline.
Failure to follow the instructions will invalidate your application

USC Center on Public Diplomacy - CPD Daily (August 17)

PD News Logo
August 17, 2017 via email
Apple, LinkedIn, Spotify and Twitter have joined a growing chorus of technology companies to hit out at the far right and Donald Trump's attempt to put white supremacists and leftwing counter-demonstrators at Saturday’s Charlottesville protest on the same moral plane. [...] Apple also pledged to match two-for-one employee donations to human rights groups until 30 September, and said it would roll out donation systems for the SPLC through its iTunes store. Read More...
A new project aims to promote co-operation between biodiversity researchers across the UK and six Latin American countries. Funded by the British Council’s Newton Fund and in partnership with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Researcher Links aims to enhance scientific collaboration by promoting an international exchange of researchers between universities in UK, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil. Read More...
Egypt could become one of the world’s top Bitcoin trading hubs within weeks thanks to the launch of the country’s first cryptocurrency exchange. [...] The project is the brainchild of Alexandrian entrepreneurs Rami Khalil and Omar Abdelrasoul, who seized the opportunity to capitalize on the country’s growing demand for Bitcoin. Read More...
The "What's Up!" Luxembourg app was released in November last year for Apple and Android, and since then has grown substantially to become an app chock-a-block of events throughout Luxembourg and beyond. [...] A good feature of the app is that once the user has signed in, they are able to create their own events for all to see. A free way of publicizing what's going on in the region. Read More...
Within 24 hours of of hearing from the country’s national security adviser that Sierra Leone needed food for survivors, Israel had sent supplies expected to provide nourishment for three days. [...] The ambassador emphasized the importance of getting the aid into the country quickly, in order to illustrate to desperate citizens that help was on its way and there was reason for hope. Read More...
Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that it is reopening its border with Qatar to allow Qataris to attend the hajj, despite a monthslong rift between Doha and four Arab countries led by Riyadh that prompted both sides to trade accusations of politicizing the pilgrimage. Read More...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Beduin diplomat sanctioned over threat to take Israel to The Hague

Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post

Image from article, with caption: Israeli Beduin diplomat Ismail Khaldi speaks at Rutgers.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely initiated disciplinary measures on Thursday against a Beduin diplomat who wrote and then removed and apologized for a Facebook post slamming Israel for real-estate policies in his northern village of Khawaled.

Ismail Khaldi, Israel’s first Beduin diplomat, accused the Zevulun Regional Council and the Israel Lands Authority in an English Facebook post on Tuesday of “Beduin heritage cleansing” because the council plans to sell plots in the village near Haifa to people from outside the village, “including Arab real-estate mach’ers/traders.”

The result of this policy, he said, is that local residents won’t be able to afford the land, “leading to the elimination/ cleansing of Beduin heritage, tradition and norms.”

Khaldi continued, “What to do? Keep fighting. Even if we need to go to the ICJ (International Court of Justice!) We we won’t allow the council to turn Khawaled into an isolated ghetto!!” Hotovely said the ministry “will not tolerate a situation where an Israel diplomat gives backing to the industry of lies against Israel.” Khaldi currently works in the ministry’s department of public diplomacy.

Hotovely characterized as “unprecedented” a situation where an Israeli diplomat calls for action against Israel at The Hague, and said that it must be dealt with severely.

Following Hotovely’s statement, Khaldi posted an apology on his Facebook page.

He said that he posted the original comment “in a moment of anger.” ...

Immigration puts Middle Eastern students off studying in US

Roberta Pennington,

Report finds Trump Muslim ban and 'extreme vetting' have a detrimental effect on candidates from the Middle East who voice fears for their safety if they lived in the US

Image from article, with caption: Arizona State University is among the top five destinations for undergraduate Emirati students, according to the US Embassy’s Education USA office.

Education officials in the United States fear there will be a fall in the number of students from the Middle East this autumn.

Donald Trump’s presidency and US government’s ban on citizens from six Muslim countries – Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – and the “extreme vetting” of visa applicants and increased hate crimes against Muslims have made some feel insecure about studying in the US.
Uncertainty about immigration policies “raises valid concerns as to whether students from the Middle East may be deterred from US study”, said a report published last month by the Institute of International Education, a non-profit organisation that advocates international education.
“Middle-Eastern students expressed many concerns to international admissions professionals at US higher education institutions,” said the report, Shifting Tides? Understanding International Student Yield for Fall 2017.
“Securing and maintaining a visa is the biggest concern among these students and was reported by 46 per cent of institutions, while feeling welcome in the US was almost an equal concern, with 41 per cent of institutions noting so from their conversations with students.”
Twenty-three per cent of international advisers said students from the Middle East were concerned about their safety. And “80 per cent of institutions responded that physical safety was the most pronounced concern for Indian students”.
Read more:
Sanjeev Verma, chief executive of Dubai education consultancy Intelligent Partners, which helps to place students from the UAE in universities abroad, said he would not be surprised if the Trump effect caused a dip in the number of Middle East students enrolled in American universities.
“Security is a concern for every­body and that is the only thing that has changed since Trump came in,” Mr Verma said. “I would actually say it is the perception of security, that people feel it is going to be unsafe and not secure, that is the biggest change.”

One recent report on anti-­Muslim hate crime from the US indicated a 91 per cent increase in the first half of this year when compared with the same period last year.
Mr Verma said that shortly after Donald Trump was elected, some of his clients decided against travelling to the US for education, opting for Canada.
“I think everybody was frightened,” he said. “We got a jolt because he came in with this big bang: ‘I’m going to stop this, I’m going to stop that’.”
Shortly after the election, some US universities joined to launch the #YouAreWelcomeHere social media campaign to show support for international students, and promote American campuses as diverse, friendly and safe.
“Fortunately, we are seeing considerable efforts from US colleges and universities to maximise their international enrolment for the coming academic year and ensure their current international students have the assistance they need to gain a quality education while in the US,” said Jill Welch, of the association of international educators.
“Their engagement – such as airport pick-ups, meet-and-greets, seminars on visa policy changes and partnering students with peer mentors – has yielded some very positive, tangible results. We commend international educators because they have made every effort to ensure the US is a safe, welcoming and inclusive place to learn and grow.”
More than a million international students enrolled in colleges or universities across the US in the 2015-2016 academic year, the Institute of International Education said.
International students injected more than US$35 billion, or Dh128.56bn, into the US economy in 2015, the department of commerce said.
In 2015-2016, students from the Middle East and North Africa made up about 10.3 per cent of the international student population, with 108,227. Of these, 2,920 were Emiratis.
“Education is a cornerstone of the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and the United Arab Emirates,” said Scott Bolz, US embassy public affairs officer in Abu Dhabi. “Promoting US higher education and encouraging more Emiratis to study in the US is one of our top public diplomacy priorities.”
Through its EducationUSA advising services, the US embassy in Abu Dhabi offers prospective students free advice about studying in the US.
“The consular section is involved in outreach activities, helping students to understand the visa requirements and application process,” said Mohini Madgavkar, cultural affairs officer for the US embassy.
Arizona State University, which had the highest number of international students – 12,751 – among public universities in 2015-2016, is among the top five destinations for undergraduate Emirati students, the US embassy’s office said.
About 20 per cent of the university’s degree-seeking international students are from the Middle East and this autumn it is expecting to welcome about 160 Emiratis, the same number as each of the past four years, said Kent Hopkins, its vice president of enrolment.
ASU admits students from a variety of cultures, and takes great pride in our student body, which includes students from over 135 nations,” he said.
The institute report was based on a survey of international student professionals at 165 US colleges and universities, conducted in May.
The survey also sought to measure the international student yield rate, or the percentage of admitted students who committed to attend US colleges and universities, as of May 15.
Respondents were asked to report the number of admitted international students who had submitted official acceptance letters along with a registration deposit.
The survey findings suggested a decline of only 2 per cent in this year’s yield rate of undergraduates in the US compared with last year. Although this provides an early snapshot of enrolment, actual figures will not be known until colleges and universities return this month.
Mr Verma said if there was, as he expected, a decline in enrolments of students from the Middle East this autumn, he thinks it will be short-lived.
“There was a little bit of initial [election] reaction but it’s calmed down,” he said.“I am fairly confident it will bounce back sooner than later. The US has a lot to offer.["]