Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 30

"I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability."

--Oscar Wilde; image from


Top 50 Global Education Blogs - Sir Learnalot's Knowledge Blog (believe it or not, the listing includes this blog)


Kerry, Lugar introduce legislation to strengthen US diplomacy - Kokomo Perspective:

"The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 supports provisions to improve the State Department’s public diplomacy mission and to increase the foreign service officer capacity. It will also significantly increase the inspector general’s oversight abilities, address extending comparability pay adjustments to members of the Foreign Service, and provide enhancements to consular services." Image from

Unleash the Googles on Cuba - Liz Harper, Americas Quarterly: "What Cuba programs could—and should—be on the chopping block? Some USAID-funded groups ... are ... saying they are running out of money. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Senator Russ Feingold (WI) this week proposed axing Radio/TV Marti, which has been around for more than a decade. ... The timing couldn’t seem better for a total rethink—a re-examination of our paradigm on Cuba—since Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton has initiated the State Department’s very first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. USAID will also be under the microscope. ... If our goal is to improve unadulterated access to information in Cuba as a way to promote political freedoms, why does the U.S. government believe it can do it by paying its own staffers—or subcontractors ... —to do it? Note: Cubans do not trust the U.S. government. We’re fooling ourselves to think the U.S. government is going to influence the Cuban government or people through our existing means. This is a waste of time and money. Let’s try public diplomacy through private enterprise."

Public-Diplomacy Fail? - Michael Rubin, National Review Online:

"This showed up, in French, on the website of the U.S. embassy in Morocco, but here's the English original, 'Muslim Americans Strive to Help Earthquake-Ravaged Haiti.' The same story appears, in Arabic, on webpages affiliated with the U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It's all well-and-good to show the important role that Muslim organizations play in U.S. civil society but, especially given the anti-Americanism in the region, shouldn't the State Department and regional U.S. embassies instead focus on the importance of all U.S. aid to Haiti, including that donated by Christian, Jewish, non-sectarian, and any other organization, so long as it is American? (Other stories on do, but not the ones picked up by many of our regional U.S. embassies). It would be interesting to hear a State Department or embassy explanation about the strategy behind such postings, although I suspect that the embassies are acting autonomously and have no overarching strategy." Image from

US official hopes Palestinians demand democracy - Ma'an News Agency: "The US State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative looks to support Palestinian democracy by empowering citizens 'to raise demands with their local government' Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Tamara Wittes explained. ... [D]uring her visit to the region, Wittes - an expert in Middle East democracy and former Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute - explained what she saw as the role of MEPI in Palestine, whose government exhausted its term on 25 January but continues to lead with no elections in sight. ... As the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for democracy, human rights, and public diplomacy, Wittes supervises the MEPI, and spent much of her visit meeting implementers and beneficiaries of its programs."

Assistant Secretary for Education and Cultural Affairs - Matt Armstrong, "According to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations website, the confirmation hearing for Judith Ann Stock to be Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs will be held Tuesday, February 2, 2010.

Her testimony will be here (PDF) but it is not yet available (and likely getting polished). (Hat tip to Mark Overmann of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange.) Still no word on a nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). Unlike the ECA job, Judith McHale, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, will get to choose this person." Image from

CPD Announcements Just Out: PD Magazine, Winter 2010 - USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "PD magazine's Winter 2010 issue has just been released, and is available online at the magazine's newly redesigned website. Changes to the online newsmagazine include a blog offering up-to-date news and commentary in the field of PD. This issue, the 'Cultural Diplomacy' edition, examines various perspectives on the practice and effectiveness of cultural diplomacy from various public diplomacy scholars. Articles include: Cosmopolitan Constructivism: Mapping a Road to the Future of Cultural and Public Diplomacy C├ęsar Villanueva Rivas Out from Under the Proscenium: A Paradigm for U.S. Cultural Diplomacy Peter Kovach Pop Culture Diplomacy Kenjiro MonjiLaunched in February 2009 and published twice yearly, PD magazine is designed to serve as a forum for views from scholars and practitioners on key concepts in the field of public diplomacy. PD is edited by members of USC's Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars and published with the support of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School and USC College’s School of International Relations."

United States Department of State - Pronk Palisades: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs: This Undersecretary leads functions that were formerly assigned to the United States Information Agency but were integrated into the State Department by the 1999 reorganization.

This position manages units that handle the department’s public communications and seek to burnish the image of the United States around the world." Image from

Volko Ruhnke and Labyrinth - Kris Hall, Boardgame News: Volko [Ruhnke]: "The central premise of the game is that the 'War on Terror' ultimately is about governance, specifically, governance of the Muslim world. The jihadists want to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate of old—they win principally by establishing Taliban-style Islamist rule over a large enough chunk of Muslim countries to form the kernel of the Caliphate. The United States and its allies are seeking the opposite—to spread effective, representative governance throughout the Muslim world and thereby ease discontent and choke off extremism at its roots. ... 'War of Ideas' operations are the main US means of attempting to improve governance, representing the constellation of Western means of influence over Muslim governments and populations, including aid, advisors, public diplomacy, and the like. But the War of Ideas is highly dependent on US prestige in the Muslim world—which the extremists or US military action can do much to upset—and on consensus among non-Muslim powers regarding US tactics in the war on terror."

Azerbaijan strongly supports international community's efforts to bring security and stability to Afghanistan (UPDATE) - Trend News Agency: "Being NATO's Partner and having geographic, historical, cultural and religious proximity to the region, Azerbaijan sees a need for a stronger support in the fields of public diplomacy to achieve security and stability in Afghanistan and has a strong will to contribute to the ISAF on this matter.

As a first step, Azerbaijan suggests to host an event on NATO's public diplomacy efforts related to the perception of the ISAF operation in and out of Afghanistan." Image from

Proportionality & Hypocrisy: NATO in Kosovo vs. IDF in Gaza - Martin Sherman, Right Side News: "The blatant disregard for any semblance of proportionality by democratic belligerents and the shameless hypocrisy of their self-righteous and misplaced criticism of Israel highlight a crucial deficiency-often diagnosed and equally often neglected-in the overall structure of its international strategy: the incompetence, indeed impotence, of Israeli diplomacy, particularly its Public Diplomacy. ... Today, the budget for Public Diplomacy is ludicrously small. As MK Michael Eitan pointed out, it totals less than the advertising budgets that some Israeli food manufactures spend to promote their sales of snacks and fast foods."

India plans e-network for small Pacific island states - "With UN reforms inching back on the global agenda and keeping climate change negotiations in mind, India is now wooing Pacific small island states with an e-network, on the lines it created in Africa, to bring them triple benefits of tele-education, governance and medicine. ... The e-network shows the power of technology to bridge long distance and brings the benefits of health and education to remote areas in African countries, Navdeep Suri, joint secretary (Public Diplomacy) in the external affairs ministry, told reporters here Saturday. ... Collin Beck, permanent representative of Solomon Islands to the UN,

said the e-network would suit the island countries given the growing needs for higher education and specialist healthcare in these countries. 'Tele-education, tele-medicine and e-governance is a wonderful three-in-one package,' said Stuart Beck, permanent representative of Palau, an island of 20,000 people that attracts high-end 100,000 tourists in search of exotic beaches and marine life. They [the island countries] have been invited by the external affairs ministry in a public diplomacy outreach to the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) - a cohesive group which has 13 votes in the UN and has acquired an important profile in climate change negotiations.” Image from

MB Foreign Ministry failed 'public diplomacy' successful 'diplomacy for President' – Hope thousand Chun [Google translation from Korean:] "The traditional concept of public diplomacy (public diplomacy) to foreign countries by providing information, understanding and ultimately, by persuasion is to pursue national interests. For example, the U.S. Embassy on the line against South Korea's opinion 'Cafe USA ( / usembassy)' opened to the traffic that can be viewed as an important public diplomacy activities. However, the concept evolved from the current public diplomacy to convince the domestic public opinion an important 'public diplomacy' is located in one area. One of the key concepts of public diplomacy in foreign policy or national identity, domestic support and partnership of citizens, because this must be the premise."

The Foreign Service – jamieschip, The Schipaanboord's: "Public Diplomacy: Public Diplomacy Officers explain American values and policies Jake

chose the Political track, which is fairly competitive, along with the Public Diplomacy track. Becoming a FSO Let me just warn you, this process is not for the faint at heart. It is long and grueling, which I suppose is a comfort, to know those representing our country overseas have been through the ringer and are surely capable and qualified to do their job." Image from article: Jake and family


Battling the Information Barbarians - Ian Buruma, Wall Street Journal: Spurred by Google's announcement that it might pull out of the Chinese market in protest over censorship, Mrs. Clinton talked about Internet freedom in terms of universal human rights. Her speech was promptly denounced in a Communist Party newspaper as "information imperialism." The Internet, which has boomed over the last few years, cannot be totally policed; there are simply too many ways to dodge the censors. But China, with its army of cyberspace policemen, has been remarkably effective at Internet control, by mixing intimidation with propaganda.

Looking North - Melanie Kirkpatrick, Wall Street Journal: B.R. Myers is the author of "The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves—and Why It Matters." The real North Korean worldview, Mr. Myers notes, is based on a belief in the unique moral superiority of the Korean race. The closest analogy is the fervent nationalist ideology that governed prewar Japan and influenced North Korea's founding fathers. Having grown up in colonial Korea, they embraced Japan's propaganda methods after coming to power in 1948. Kim Il Sung, the founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea—the North's full name—even had himself photographed, Hirohito-like, astride a white stallion.

Mr. Myers's reading of the North's domestic propaganda takes a scary turn when he examines attitudes toward foreigners, especially Americans. Yankees are depicted as "an inherently evil race with which Koreans must forever be on hostile terms," he says. Image from

Georgian Opposition Says 'Propaganda' TV Will Provoke Russia - Helena Bedwell, Georgian daily - Georgian opposition leaders said the government’s Russian-language television channel is a “propaganda machine” that will stoke anti-Georgian sentiment in Russia and may provoke it to retaliate. The Pervy Kavkazsky (First Caucasus) channel, which features a talk show hosted by the late Chechen rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudayev’s widow, began broadcasting on the Internet earlier this month. “This channel is another tool for provoking Russia,” Zurab Noghaideli, a former prime minister who now heads an opposition party, said by telephone in the capital Tbilisi today. “There’s no need to give Russia another reason to retaliate.” Zurab Dvali, chief producer at the channel, denied that it’s designed to provoke Russia.

A woman with innumerable black dots of braille on her naked body rests on an illuminated box as spectators look on during the performance art show "Consultation," at the ongoing Contemporary Art Exhibition in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province on December 16th


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