Sunday, June 28, 2009

June 28

“[T]ry wearing a lab coat and bow tie, as Masters always did, while huddling in the steamy corners of a bordello.”

--Cristina Nehring, review of "Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love by Thomas Maier,” New York Times; image from

“[V]irtual togetherness may overaccelerate a courtship.”

--Peggy Orenstein, “The Way We Live Now: The Overextended Family," New York Times


When the revolution isn't broadcast - Martha Bayles, Boston Globe: "In Iran, the Persian-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty uses several different radio frequencies and the Internet, while Voice of America’s Persian television service claims to reach more than 15 million viewers. … [C]ontrary to what many assume, these channels do not merely broadcast US government propaganda. Nor do they follow CNN and other 'global’ media in hopscotching between hot spots ... . [T]hese channels maintain a consistent, steady presence, outwitting the censors and keeping brave reporters on the ground, so that the people living in those countries can know what is going on, even when the whole world is not watching." See also (1) and John Brown, "Twittering; or, Where are the Emily Dickinsons at the State Department?" Hufffington Post. Image from

More House and GAO scrutiny for TV Martí - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Limitations on PRC Soft PowerThe CIA Memory Hole: "Beijing is seen to have advantages over the United States in that its overseas activities and investments areconducted by strong, well-funded state-owned companies. These large PRC government activities attract much international attention and give a 'hard' edge to PRC soft power. The United States has little to match such centrally directed initiatives, particularly in the wake of years of U.S. budget cutbacks in high-profile international public diplomacy programs. ... But comparing only government-directed and -funded activities overlooks the huge advantage the United States hasin the extent of its substantial global private-sector presence." See also. Image from

Turkey filling its sails with winds of the times in foreign policy - Emine Kart, Today’s Zaman: “[Foreign Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu's idea of integral foreign policy is persuasive in terms of identifying Turkey's foreign policy agenda. However, the validity of this idea depends on the size of the receptive audience. There is a need to keep the EU membership and reform process on the agenda in a way that facilitates the maintenance of a wide, receptive audience for integral foreign policy perspectives both inside and outside of Turkey,' Aras [Bülent Aras, professor of international relations at Işık University] says in a policy paper issued by the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) a few weeks after Davutoğlu

was appointed to his current post on May 1. In a bid to reach out to that receptive audience, the government is said to be planning to establish a 'public diplomacy agency,' while Davutoğlu continues gathering with columnists of leading newspapers at roundtable meetings to inform them of Turkey's foreign policy moves." Davutoğlu image from

How Israel Uses Twitter and Social Media in Public Diplomacy - David Saranga's Presentation at the 140 Conference - Alan Weinkrantz PR Web Log: "In the process of working with the media for the 140 Characters Conference, the lines blurred between the media covering the event, media taking part in the event as Characters, and media as content providers on the Social Web."

Content analysis challenges view that BBC is anti-Israel - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Iran Detains Some Local Employees of British Embassy - Associated Press, New York Times: "The British have ... drawn fire because of the Ruhollah Khomeini, who was in exile in France. This is a reversal from the way the state and publicly funded BBC was perceived in the run-up to the Iranian Islamic Revolution. At the time, the BBC was widely listened to because it extensively covered anti-Shah demonstrations and activities of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who was in exile in France." Image from

Europe’s Verdict on Russian Courts: Guilty! - La Russophobe: Comment by Socrates & Cassandra: "For more than 15 years, many specialists on the Russian 'legal system' have been writing about widespread political abuse of the courts by the ruling Russian political elite in order to increase their own power and for financial gain. … Yet most Russian officials and business persons, foreign judges, and other promoters of increased trade and investment in Russia have largely downplayed this. The Kremlin prefers to spend large sums of money on public diplomacy rather than addressing the problem."

The Anatomy Of The Long War's Failings - F. G. Hoffman, Alan’s Point: History and Contemporary Events: "The combination of civilian policymakers and a narrow military conception of its professional jurisdiction set the stage for serial failures in anticipation in the run-ups to both Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in the fallof 2002 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. These include … the effect of its poor strategic communications and public diplomacy resources." Image from

Muslims and the Westmisterpoll: "Do we really hate one another? … How can we bridge the gap to understanding? [Choices: (1)] Public diplomacy is a good start. [2] We should respect them and stop looking down on them. [3] We need to stop selling America and start accepting other cultures for what they are. [4] Stop killing civilians and end the damn war!"

Face the threat from rump Tigers in the West politically - K.T.Rajasingham, Asian Tribune: "The government has emerged victorious by decimating the universally declared terrorist outfit - Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and its ruthless leader Velupillai Prabhakaran within the confines of Sri Lanka. It has failed in its endeavor to come to terms with the Tamil diaspora abroad.

This hard fact has made the government to consider of an institution to work closely with the Sri Lankan diaspora in the Western Countries. Sri Lankan missions abroad are saddled with bilateral and issues connected with public diplomacy. They are only able to deal with the issue of passports, dual citizenship, and visas." See also. Image from

The Matchmaker Gates Foundation alumni Michele Fugiel Gartner hooks up non-profits in need with friends indeed - Marcello Di Cintio, Unlimited Magazine: "Gartner studied communications at Arizona State University and, after graduation, studied English for two years in, of all places, Japan. She returned to academia with a focus on Asia and made her way to the East-West Center in Hawaii, then to the School of Orient and African Studies at the University of London, where she studied public diplomacy. Eventually, Gartner joined the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in Seattle."


See also items in PDPBR June 27 at (1) (2)

Teferi Mekonnen Palace acquires preservation fundEzega: "The U.S Embassy in Ethiopia and the Harari Culture and Tourism, and Information Bureau, signed Thursday two agreements on cultural preservation of the Teferi Mekonnen Palace in the walled city of Harar. A total of USD 70,150 grant is allocated as the first grant from the ambassador’s fund for cultural preservation. … Mr. McClellan, counselor for public diplomacy at the embassy, who represented U.S. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, said that those were just the latest in a series of grants the U.S. embassy had provided to preserve Ethiopia’s indigenous faith cultures, both Muslim and Chris[tian]." Image: Butchers at the meat market in Harar

FAPE Shares American Culture and Ideals Through Art - Kourosh Ziabari, Foreign Policy: "FAPE is one of the most brilliant examples in the world demonstrating how the 'soft power' is exercised intelligently. Being so far away from the traditional interventionist policies of the U.S. think tanks and the propaganda tactics that most of the mainstream corporate media practice, the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies was established with the objective of promoting and upholding the hallmarks of American culture throughout the world by dispatching freely-commissioned artworks, sculptures, and statuettes to be installed at the embassies of the United States in other countries. … In an interview with Foreign Policy Journal, Jennifer Duncan, the Director of FAPE, sheds more light on the organization."

Maazel Tov – Anne Midgette, The Classical Beat, Washington Post: "Lorin Maazel is concluding his seven-year tenure at the New York Philharmonic this week with performances of Mahler's 8th, the 'Symphony of a Thousand,' in New York, starting tonight. … Maazel and the New York Philharmonic have played adequate-to-fine performances of a lot of standard works. They've started issuing recordings again. They struck a new blow for cultural diplomacy by going to North Korea." Maazel image from

Taiwan Academy to be founded in US next yearTaiwan Today: "In keeping with President Ma Ying-jeou’s campaign promise, the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission and the Council for Cultural Affairs will work toward establishing 'Taiwan Academy' next year. Jen Hong, deputy minister of the Cabinet-level OCAC, said his commission and the CCA will open the academy at the culture centers of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices in Los Angeles and Houston as a platform for dialogue with the world to allow Taiwan to become a window for Chinese culture globally. … In addition to the Taiwan Academy, President Ma has said during the last year’s presidential election campaigns that he wants to set up a NT$5 billion (US$152 million) 'cultural diplomacy fund' to finance a 'Taiwan Award' to serve as an equivalent to the Nobel Prize in literature for the Chinese people."

Hermitage Amsterdam Opens Its Doors to Public- Larisa Doctorow, The St. Petersburg Times: "The past 10 days have shown impressive proactivity on the part of Russia’s foreign policy initiators. … This was the background to the bold display of Russia’s 'soft power' — cultural diplomacy — when on Friday President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in the Netherlands for the official opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam together with Dutch Queen Beatrix.

Seven hundred journalists from all over Europe were taken on a tour of the dazzling inaugural exhibition entitled 'At the Russian Court. Palace and Protocol in the 19th century' which marks the completion of a long process of rebuilding and refitting one of Amsterdam’s most significant architectural monuments of the 17th century as what is, in effect, a 10,000 meter Russian cultural center. The Hermitage Amsterdam is the biggest branch of the State Hermitage abroad. It will organize long running exhibitions from the Hermitage collections like the present one, which will last for six months, as well as exhibitions of works from other Russian museums. … Speaking to The St. Petersburg Times on Thursday, Mikhail Piotrovsky [the director of St. Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum] expressed pride in the project. … He was enthusiastic in his response when asked if the undertaking could be compared with the work of the British Council. '[It’s the same but] with a much bigger budget, dedication and incomparable cultural possibilities.'" Image from

If he had gone to Athens – Arianna Ferentinou, Hürriyet: "The last minute cancellation of the Turkish prime minister’s visit to Athens to participate in the glamorous inauguration of the new Museum of Acropolis, officially made everybody upset. … Personally I do not think that Erdogan’s illness was a diplomatic one. … But if he had been able to visit the Greek capital in its highest show of archaeological wonders and cultural diplomacy, I am sure he would be coming back with a very tiring portfolio of bilateral problems."

Minister proposes opening Taiwan-Japan youth baseball camp - Elizabeth Hsu, Taiwan News: "Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco H.L. Ou proposed Wednesday that Taiwan and Japan jointly open a youth baseball camp as part of their efforts to boost bilateral relations, an idea that was supported by Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh. Ou raised the proposal in a meeting with Oh, known in Taiwan as Wang Chen-chih, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Ou said the idea was derived from President Ma Ying-jeou's focus on the importance of 'cultural diplomacy' and 'soft power' and the fact that baseball is one of Taiwan's best sports." Ou image from

Jennings digs into art and politics at Ottawa's National Arts CentreThe Hill Times, Canada [by subscription only]: Mention of cultural diplomacy, according to Google.

International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy – Press Release, Pressemitteilung WebService: "The International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy 'The Role of Soft Power in the International Environment ' Berlin, 27th – 31st July 2009 [.] The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy’s International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy will bring together an international, inter-disciplinary group of 200 participants from across the world for a weeklong program of lectures and panel discussions. The focus of the Symposium is the role of soft power in the international environment."

Morocco to Connect Cultures through Music In Washington & Chicago - "For the third year, Sternberg's organization [the Chicago-based nonprofit Genesis at the Crossroads] is producing the outdoor food, art and music festival known as HAMSA-Fest in Chicago's Lincoln Park, named for an expression of luck from the Arabic root word for the number five (similar to the word 'Hamesh' in Hebrew). . … In the same spirit, the U.S. State Department has been increasing its cultural diplomacy programs since 2001, most recently through partnerships with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Film Institute and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts."

Dr. Susan Blumenthal, Meridian International Center's Global Health Chair, Named Health Leader of the Year - PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX: "Meridian International Center, founded in 1960, is a leading non-partisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening international understanding. Meridian builds sustainable global partnerships through leadership exchanges, international collaboration and cultural diplomacy."


Iran media update for 28 June 2009 - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Expanded US distribution for Al Jazeera on 1 July - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Backgrounder: A guide to Israeli settlements: How and when did they start, why are they spreading, what are the concerns and should anything be done about them? - Gershom Gorenberg, Los Angeles Times:

In principle, the U.S. has consistently opposed all settlements, including the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. However, most administrations have avoided confrontations over the issue, especially when peace negotiations were underway. In the meantime, settlements kept growing. Public diplomatic tussles during the Carter and George H.W. Bush administrations were exceptions. Image from

Want to Stop Israeli Settlements? Follow the Dollars- Ronit Avni, Washington Post: This month, both at Cairo University and from the Oval Office, President Obama has called on the Israeli government to stop the expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. He should send the same message to the Americans who are funding and fueling them.

The two-state chimera - Arnaud de Borchgrave, Washington Times: Nine U.S. presidents have asked Jerusalem to cease and desist expanding settlements. Reassured by a friendly U.S. Congress, even a wink and a nod from President George W. Bush, successive Israeli governments have ignored gentle slaps on the hand - and expanded.

The trick when talking to Iran: The U.S. must find a way to pursue negotiations without aiding the Tehran regime - Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times: If the mullahs can be talked into abandoning some of the ideological pillars that have sustained their revolution for three decades, negotiations could undermine their rule in the long run.

For Radical Islam, the End Begins - Joshua Muravchik, Washington Post: As developments in Iran have unfolded over the past weeks, a minor Washington debate has emerged -- along partisan lines -- over whether President George W. Bush's tough policies blunted the force of the radicals, or whether President Obama's open hand has assuaged anti-American anger and inspired anti-regime forces. Both might be true. Or neither. Regardless of the underlying causes, a defeated or merely discredited Islamic Republic of Iran could mark the beginning of the end of radical Islam. Below image from

The repercussions of a 'Twitter revolution'- Evgeny Morozov, Boston Globe: By sticking labels like “cyber-revolution’’ on events in Tehran, we overstate the power of social media and make it look much more threatening than it really is. But the repercussions of a false “Twitter revolution’’ in Tehran might be global too. Unfortunately, it is going to be bloggers in Russia, China, or Egypt who would eventually pay the price for such exaggeration; their governments, already suspicious of new media, may now want to take preventive measures -- that usually involve intimidation and arrest -- well in advance.

Window on Eurasia: Internet Divides Russia Deeply and in More than One Way - Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia: Despite reports about the expansion of Internet use in Russia, more than half of that country’s urban residents over age 12 have never gone online, and more than a third have never used a computer, global figures which set Russia apart from Western countries but ones that conceal deep divisions within the Russian Federation in the electronic world.Those are just some of the findings offered in a 144-page report released this week that was prepared by the Public Opinion Foundation on the basis of interviews with 34,000 people in 1920 cities and towns of the Russian Federation. VIA MP

The Overextended Family - Peggy Orenstein, New York Times: How to perform triage on the communication technologies that seem to multiply like Tribbles -- instant messaging, texting, cellphones, softphones, iChat, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter; how to distinguish among those that will truly enhance intimacy, those that result in T.M.I. and those that, though pitching greater connectedness, in fact further disconnect us from the people we love.


Comics artist Mark Sable detained for Unthinkable acts- Ian Randal Strock, SF Scope: Boom! Studios sends word that comics writer Mark Sable was detained by TSA security guards at Los Angeles International Airport this past weekend because he was carrying a script for a new issue of his comic miniseries Unthinkable.

Sable was detained while traveling to New York for a debut party at Jim Hanley's Universe today. The comic series follows members of a government think tank that was tasked with coming up with 9/11-type "unthinkable" terrorist scenarios that now are coming true. Via


"We can't suffocate ourselves: Babies are born, people get married. At minimum, we must provide for a normal way of life for these people."

--Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, regarding the "natural growth" of existing settlements on the West Bank; image from

“The idea of a Germanic people without sufficient space dates back to long before Adolf Hitler brought it to prominence.”

--Wikipedia, entry on “Lebensraum”

"Manifest Destiny"

--Manifest Destiny is the historical belief that the United States is destined, even divinely ordained to expand across the North American continent, from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean; Wikipedia

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