Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 30

“What child is going to pick up ‘Moby-Dick’?”

-- Diane Ravitch, a professor of education at New York University; image from

"Syracuse University replaced its traditional Shared Reading Program with the Shared First-Year Experience, a program designed to encourage more participation among students. … [T]he reading program never achieved its intended impact. Many students simply did not read the book, said Sandra Hurd, associate provost and member of the Shared First-Year Experience Committee."

-- Syracuse University's The Daily Orange


PD 101 - Mark Dillen, Public Diplomacy, The World Affairs Blog Network: “At least one fairly breathless account claims that Secretary Clinton has begun to carry out a 'revolution'

in the way that the State Department does business. … I’m not sure that the Department needs community organizing skills so much as it needs to improve its communication skills. This means above all knowing your audience, so that government, media and publics all get messages that are consistent in terms of their content but at the same time tailored to suit their needs and understandings. … Consistent effort is required, not a revolution. Public Diplomacy 101.” Image from

Strategic Communications and the Graveyard of Empires - John Brown, Huffington Post: "So [to paraphrase Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke] 'whatever it is called' -- public diplomacy, or public affairs, or psychological warfare, propaganda or (if you really want to be blunt) strategic communications -- appears to be an essential element in the administration's 'necessary war' (as President Obama recently called it) [in Afghanistan]. Right? Not quite, if at all. Enter Admiral Mullen. In a three-page Joint Force Quarterly article that received considerable media attention this week, he made it bluntly clear that he's not fan of 'strategic communications.' 'Frankly,' he notes, 'I don't care for the term.'" See also (1) (2)

Charge of the ‘birther’ brigade - Anjum Niaz, "President Obama is sending [Robin] Raphel to co-ordinate US non-military assistance to Pakistan. Raphel and Patterson will soon be handed the ‘Strategic Implementation Plan’ (SIP) for Pakistan and Afghanistan. National Security Adviser James Jones is the author of SIP. He’s drafted it in such a manner that ‘there'll be accountability among departments and agencies, State, Defence and various parts of the intelligence community,’ an official says. … Ahead of SIP, set to unveil on September 24, arrived another Obama all-woman-A team-trooper in Islamabad. Her writ: to win over Pakistani media. According to New York Times, Judith McHale, the new under secretary of state for public diplomacy (and more) was told by a blunt journalist over a one-on-one meeting at a hotel in Islamabad, ‘You should know that we (Pakistanis) hate all Americans. From the bottom of our souls, we hate you.'" Raphel image from

The Other Side Of El Paso: Drugs, Violence And Social Media In Juarez City (Part I) – Chris Battle, Security Debrief: “We were in Mexico as part of a [State Department-sponsored] delegation brought in to meet with citizens, students, grassroots groups (NGOs, short for non-governmental organizations, to use the common bureacrateze) and Mexican government officials to talk about ways these folks could organize and make their voices heard, particularly how they might use social media tactics in their emerging public relations battle with the criminal class. … The $1.4 billion of the [USG-sponsored] Merida Initiative is largely going to training law enforcement and the military, to guns, bullets, choppers, bulletproof vests, high-tech surveillance and reinforced vehicles. … [A]n important sliver [of this money] is also going to what the folks in the State Department like to refer to as 'soft side policies' – legal reform, public diplomacy, and cultural engagement. … We were all led by Suzanne Hall, a young public diplomacy advisor from the State Department who referred to everybody as 'Dude.' Even in the plural, we were 'dudes.' In fact, when she showed up for the first round of official meetings dressed in formal attire and tossing about sparkling diplomatic tones, I momentarily freaked, certain I had wandered into the wrong State Department travelling delegation. She brought the kind of energy and cheer and insight that probably does more – day-in, day-out – for cross-national relationships than any given dozen of the plastic-grimaced formal photo-op sessions that dot the schedules of Washington assistant secretaries and far-flung embassy managers throughout the course of a year." See also. Image from

US Congressional Staffers Meet With Burma Opposition Leaders - VOA News: "Members of Burma's opposition National League for Democracy have met with staff members of a key U.S. congressional committee. The American officials arrived in Rangoon on Friday. They work for the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. … The U.S. embassy in Rangoon says the committee staffers are visiting Burma as part of a regional tour to assess U.S. public diplomacy and assistance programs."

Argument between American and Australian about the Merits of Warfare against Jihadistskelleyfranknr: “American states: C-G Kotzabasis, I'm speaking about the bosoms and heads issue.

There is a difficult nucleus of dyed-in-the-wool warlike jihadists with an sturdy Salafist ideology. They are not attending be shaken by USA public diplomacy, or by forseeable alterations in U.S.A. policy. They can simply be handled with forcibly. They must either be captured or killed, and their programmes must be disrupted.” Image from

Sister Cities: the quintessential and yet underappreciated public diplomacy program - Matt Armstrong, "Today, despite it’s [sic] impact, Sister Cities is underappreciated. Today, the over 650 US communities that partner with more than 2,000 sister cities in 135 countries do more than just student, culture, and art exchanges. The members of Sister Cities operate extensively in the areas of humanitarian assistance, economic and sustainable development, education, and technical assistance."

The 21st Century Family of Man: Photography as Public Diplomacy – Arts and Events calendar, University of Southern California: "Opening Reception Thursday, September 17, 2009 : 5:30pm … USC Annenberg celebrates the opening of a new exhibit featuring photographs by current Master of Public Diplomacy student Paul Rockower. 'The 21st Century Family of Man: Photography as Public Diplomacy' pays homage to 'The Family of Man,' an exhibition that opened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1955. The exhibition’s world tour proved a tremendous public diplomacy success for America. On display in Rockower’s exhibit

is a 21st century interpretation of this successful instance of public diplomacy, echoing the richly textured chronicle of the human condition across the globe. The program will include remarks by Communication School Director Larry Gross; Philip Seib, director of USC’s Center on Public Diplomacy; and Director of the Master of Public Diplomacy program Nicholas Cull." Rockower image from

Obama Administration Seeks “Emergency Control” of the Internet - Tom Burghardt, Dissident Voice: "[T]he military’s newly-launched U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) is a 'subordinate unified command' overseen by STRATCOM. Would 'message force multipliers' embedded in the media or Pentagon public diplomacy specialists carrying out psychological operations (PSYOPS) here in the heimat, become the sole conduit for critical news and information during … [a] 'national emergency'”?

Kicking Bolivarian Butt in Bariloche [Argentinian city of Bariloche, site of the extraordinary meeting of the South American Nations’ Union (UNASUR] - Caracas Gringo: "After viewing the almost seven hours of redundant discussions televised from Bariloche, a few conclusions are possible: Colombian President Uribe Velez once again gave his South American colleagues a masterful lesson in public diplomacy and statesmanship. Uribe repeatedly made Chavez look like the fool he is." Image from

Art in Morocco's Embassy [in Germany] - Sonja's space: “Morocco 's Embassy and the man in charge, Embassador Rachad Bouhlal, hold by now derived the repute of running an ‘unfastened house’ and doing active public diplomacy. A span between the Mahgrib Realm and FRG is being constructed with art through regular exhibits. On Saint joseph, Embassador Bouhlal opened the exhibit, ‘Points of Position - an artistic Journeying in Morocco,’ by the artist grouping launched in 2002, ‘E6 - Emailkunst Rgen.’”


Mike Seeger: Musician, Educator, Entertainer, reservationist - Gary McDowell, Times-Dispatch: "When Mike Seeger passed away at his home in Lexington on Aug. 7, America lost more than a great singer and entertainer. The country lost one of its great cultural treasures. … I came to know Mike Seeger when I was at the University of London's Institute of United States Studies. The institute had established a very popular program on American music that had ranged from Scott Joplin to John Cage to Aaron Copeland. … An event was planned that would eventually include a conference and a concert. A cold call to Mike Seeger brought him enthusiastically to our aid. … Due to Mike's guidance, the program was such a success that the cultural office at the United States Embassy provided funding to host a follow-up concert the next year. … [T]he evening was a rousing success in terms of American cultural diplomacy -- and all due to the efforts of the inimitable Mike Seeger." Seeger image from

University overhauls first-year program - Jess Siart, SU The Daily Orange: "This fall's new Shared First-Year Experience centers on a performance by the Shen Wei Dance Arts group, a Chinese dance company that performed at the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. SU chose the group because it was an easy transition from its three-week stay on campus in the spring. … The residency was a result of cultural diplomacy students who were interested in researching the political response to Shen Wei's choreography at the Olympic performance."

Saving national treasures: Stuart Gibson rescues museums - Patricia Gay, Weston Forum: "As a senior cultural expert for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),

Mr. Gibson of Weston has traveled around the world, helping countries that are torn apart by destruction pick up the pieces. … As part of UNESCO, a politically neutral arm of the United Nations, in 2004, Mr. Gibson led a three-week workshop in Amman, Jordan. It was for the benefit of the directors and staff members of nine Iraqi museums, in an effort to help them assess their situations and develop short-, medium-, and long-term goals for their museums. … The workshop also served as an example of how cultural diplomacy and international collaboration can help countries foster a better understanding of each other, Mr. Gibson said." Image from

180 Indian folk dancers to perform at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre - Sify: "A troupe of 180 grassroot folk dancers will bring alive the traditional performing arts of India at the New Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow Sep 3. … Announcing the concert at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), director-general of ICCR Virendra Gupta said the festival was part of an initiative to promote cultural awareness and goodwill between the two nations that share historical ties. … According to Gupta, the next mega festival was the Festival of China of 2010 followed by two festivals of India in America and Canada. … ‘I will be going to China to finalise the schedule next month. The aim is to strengthen cultural diplomacy between both the countries,' Gupta [said]."

UAE, China to promote cultural heritage - Sadik Al Rumaithi, TopNews Arab Emirates: "Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by The Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage (Adach)

and the Chinese Ministry of Culture, in connection with support to the mutual understanding and dialogues regarding their cultures and civilizations. Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Adach, said: 'Adach is now playing a key role in supporting creativity and promoting cultural dialogue, as well as implementing a strategy aimed at protecting the cultural heritage of Abu Dhabi.' He further mentioned that Adach aims at promoting cultural diplomacy." Image from

National Institute of Anthropology and History Says Culture, Key to Mexico's Foreign Policy - Art Daily: "Cultural heritage must be the letter of introduction of Mexico abroad: diplomacy based on this theme will boost all areas of economic interest in the country and impact employment generation.

This was pointed out by Alfonso de Maria y Campos, general director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and Javier Barros Valero, ex sub secretary of Foreign Affairs, during a debate organized to present the 85th issue of Revista Mexicana de Politica Exterior (Mexican Foreign Policy Magazine). 'In foreign policy, Mexico could use cultural diplomacy as designation of origin, since our vast and rich culture is an invaluable element that represents a comparative advantage to promote Mexico interests abroad, as cultural tourism' considered De Maria y Campos." Image from

Census: Ethnic data vital for Kenya culture - Sam Kiplagat, The Nation: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said data on ethnicity is important as it will help market Kenya as a country of diverse cultures. The director of communication in the Ministry Prof Egara Kabaji said one of the its pillars on foreign policy framework was cultural diplomacy. 'The many ethnic communities found within our borders, each with its own language and cultural heritage is key component of this diversity,' he said."

Orchestras tripping the twilite fantastic - Franki Raden, Jakarta Post: "The Twilite Orchestra recently made its debut in the Sydney Opera House before a large audience, in what was the first performance by an Indonesian orchestra in Australia, a land whose culture is associated with Europe, where orchestral music originated.

This accomplishment by the Twilite Orchestra opened up new horizons for the acceptance of Indonesian classical musicians in the West. At the very least, the government that sponsored the event should be confident that these musicians can be both part of cultural diplomacy abroad and tools for promoting tourism, as was the case with the Twilite Orchestra." Image from article: The well-known De Concordia Symphony Orchestra performs in Batavia with their progressive conductor, Nico J. Gerharz in the middle.


Pentagon denies vetting journalists in Afghanistan - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

Iraq’s Ambivalence About the American Military - Rod Nordland, New York Times: At the highest levels, despite the bluster and the perennial ill-feeling, Iraqis know they will remain dependent on the United States for a very long time, even after the internal insurgency is vanquished.

U.S. Sets Metrics to Assess War Success - Karen DeYoung, Washington Post: The administration's concern about waning public support and the war's direction has been compounded by strains in the U.S. relationship with the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Facing their own public opinion problems, both appear increasingly resentful of U.S. demands for improved performance in the face of what they see as insufficient American support. Image from

The continuing debate about Europropaganda - - Kim Andrew Elliott discussing International Broadcasting and Public Diplomacy

70 Year On: The Day We Declared War - Dennis Ellam; Adam Lee-Potter - DIG DEEP FOR PROPAGANDA. Propaganda was pumped out at a furious rate during the war. But the Ministry of Information appointed just one civil servant -- with a £20k budget - to the task. The first poster, to toughen resolve ahead of predicted gas attacks and bombing raids, read: "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory." The second, "Freedom Is In Peril", followed soon after. The later, iconic message "Keep Calm And Carry On" still sells by the thousand every week, 70 years after it was commissioned.

Facebook and Twitter: Viral Propaganda Machines - Edward Mitchell, Coldstreams Business and Economy: "My daughter, a recent college grad, explained to me why she rarely used Facebook anymore - its [sic] become a 'viral propaganda machine' for spreading rumors and politics, she said. In the past day, I’d come to the same conclusion and plan to no longer make much use of Facebook (I logged in once or twice per day). I am not alone - a quick online search finds scores of long time and hard core users abandoning Facebook concluding that Facebook is mostly annoying, a waste of time, and hopelessly narcissistic. Interesting."

Facebook Exodus - Virginia Heffernan, New York Times:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Facebook, the online social grid, could not command loyalty forever. If you ask around, as I did, you’ll find quitters. One person shut down her account because she disliked how nosy it made her. Another thought the scene had turned desperate. A third feared stalkers. A fourth believed his privacy was compromised. A fifth disappeared without a word. Image from


Global Landscape, Explored at HomeNew York Times: The well-traveled Paul Theroux, recounting in Smithsonian his first drive across America:

"In the 3,380 miles I’d driven, in all that wonder, there wasn’t a moment when I felt I didn’t belong;

not a day when I didn’t rejoice in the knowledge that I was part of this beauty; not a moment of alienation or danger, no roadblocks, no sign of officialdom, never a second of feeling I was somewhere distant—but always the reassurance that I was home, where I belonged, in the most beautiful country I’d ever seen."
Image from article.


"If not with you, gentlemen, then against you. ... After us there is nothing, everything will be over ... Germany will be destroyed."

--The powerful head of the German Labor Front during WWII, Robert Ley, speaking to Ruhr mine-owners about getting out the coal crucial to German victory; cited in Mark Mazower, Hitler’s Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe (2008), p. 305


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


brett said...

This is a very interesting post, and the comments are also fantastic to read. I’ll have to have a little re-think about my own contact form on our new website, as this poses some interesting questions!

study abroad