Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 31

“It’s phenomenal to hold the Internet in your hands.”

--Apple's Steve Jobs; image from


Poor Obama – Hillary Clinton is doing a fine job - Out of America: The President would dearly love to be as popular as his celebrated Secretary of State - Rupert Cornwell, Independent: "[T]he Obama/Clinton team is improving America's image abroad after the devastation wrought by George Bush Jnr – and ... [Clinton is aware] of her star power as a tool of public diplomacy. ...

Hillary is putting her own imprint on US foreign policy. She constantly emphasises 'smart power', which relies less on military might and more on diplomacy. She has used her celebrity to focus attention on issues such as womens' rights and the global fight against poverty and hunger. She has launched a four-year review to boost the State Department's resources and staff, and put policy planning on a longer-term basis. And, contrary to many predictions, her husband, Bill, has not been an embarrassment. She has worked smoothly with the big-name envoys appointed in key policy areas, including Richard Holbrooke for Afghanistan/Pakistan and George Mitchell for the Middle East." Image from

Top US official to visit India for better educational co-operation - fachcha: "US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Judith McHale will visit India on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) to strengthen educational and academic co-ooperation. The USIEF is the nodal agency for scholarships like Fulbright, Fulbright-Nehru and other scholarships. The foundation is celebrating its 60th anniversary on 2nd February. During the visit McHale will travel to IIT Mumbai and other educational institutions apart from meeting Minister of External Affairs S M Krishna and other dignitaries. She will meet educational, cultural leaders and Bollywood personalities too."

Jimmy Carter, Radio Free Europe, and Radio Liberty - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Branding Canada: Projecting Canada's Soft Power through Public Diplomacy - Evan H. Potter - McGill-Queen’s University Press: "Looking at Canada's public diplomacy abroad through culture, international education, and international broadcasting."

Korea, Spain on meaningful date - Kim Min-hyung, Korea Herald: "Geographical distance doesn't seem to impede the magnetic pull between two dynamic nations, one in Europe and the other in Asia. This magnetic pull was heightened recently due to the 6th Spain-Korea Forum in Cordoba, Southern Spain, which was organized by Casa Asia and the Korea Foundation. ... This year's forum examined issues concerning gender equality, politics and security, logistics, energy and technology, and public diplomacy which includes sports such as Taekwondo, film and educational exchanges." Image from

Govt. Preparing to influence media perception?? - aburman, India as an evolving polity: "While doing some work-related research, I found an interesting sub-heading under the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Action Plan document for October, 09 – March, 10. Page 44 of this document (Under the sub-heading Naxal Management Division) mentions a heading called the 'Media / Perception Management Plan'.

The activities planned under it pertain mainly to inane activities such as advertisements and Tribal Youth Cultural Exchange Programmes. So, I did a Wiki-search for the term Media / Perception Management Plan. Apparently, 'Perception management is a term originated by the U. S. military.' The Wiki-article also goes on to state that 'The phrase 'perception management' has often functioned as a “euphemism” for 'an aspect of information warfare.' A scholar in the field notes a distinction between 'perception management' and public diplomacy, which 'does not, as a rule, involve falsehood and deception, whereas these are important ingredients of perception management; the purpose is to get the other side to believe what one wishes it to believe, whatever the truth may be.'" Image from

Cultural Relations, Public Diplomacy and the Clash of Civilisations - graham.leicester, IFF Blog: "I was invited to contribute a paper recently to help stimulate discussion within the British Council on the subject of ‘cultural relations: an idea whose time has come’. There is already a lively contemporary debate about the need to upgrade our international practice to tackle the global issues of the 21st century. My impression is that cultural relations is in danger of being absorbed, or even eclipsed, in these discussions by the more recent concept of ‘public diplomacy‘ - even in the British Council’s own publications. The British Council has been using an International Relations Positioning Spectrum - running from giving at one end, through helping, sharing, boasting and shouting to fighting at the other - to highlight the subtle and important role of cultural relations. ... I hope the paper I have contributed will encourage British Council not to hide its most vital work under a bushel and defend this subtle role against the denizens of ‘delivery’."


Noted US dance company gives free performance - Jakarta Post: "San Francisco’s groundbreaking contemporary dance company is about to take Jakarta’s Salihara small theater stage by storm tonight and tomorrow night — for free, and bring two countries a step closer to each other. Yes, you’ve heard the first bit right. Ten of the best dancers from the Oberlin Dance Collective or ODC, widely acknowledged for its fusion of ballet and modern techniques, will be dazzling a small audience ­— judging by the size of Jakarta’s black-box theater — free of charge. The dance troupe will perform three pieces choreographed by ODC’s artistic director and founder Brenda Way, to the sounds of 17th century J.H. Schmelzer classical music and Appalachian blue grass. ... 'This is a new program by the state department, a return to cultural diplomacy,' said Way, adding she was very excited about representing the Obama administration, after feeling uncomfortable about being American when traveling abroad for the last few years.

Hang on. What does dancing, and the arts, have to do with diplomacy? 'Art is about one-on-one relationships, politics is about one-on-one relationships, and as Edward R. Murrow put it, it’s the last three feet that count when you’re that close one-on-one. And that is what makes for meaningful relationships,' Way concluded." Image: “Luxury Items” at ODC, Saturday, November 7, 2009: Hilarious, with a wicked intellectual spark," Monique “Fauxnique” Jenkinson is a local treasure of a performing artist whose work hurls itself into the gaps between dance, theater, drag and performance. She is currently the Artist-in-Residence at the ODC (Oberlin Dance Collective) Theater."

Budapest exhibition shows Cold War envoys of jazz - Budapest Times: "The US's cultural diplomacy through jazz continued over more than two decades and the Budapest exhibition 'Jam Session: America's Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World' in the Palace of Arts presents 55 images capturing several of the memorable moments. 'Jazz was a symbol of hope to those living without freedom and the simple act of listening to it was itself a form of rebellion,' US Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis said at the opening. 'The men in the exhibition are not just great musicians. They are also prime examples of the importance of diversity and tolerance,' she said."

UGAs Georgia Museum of Art Awarded Grant for Collaborative Exhibition and catalogue - Art Daily: "The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia in partnership with the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma was recently awarded a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for the exhibition and catalogue of Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy.

The Georgia Museum of Art will publish a catalogue of the exhibition featuring essays by curators from the organizing museums and an entry on each work. ... Art Interrupted will reassemble, to the extent possible, a group of contemporary, modernist paintings purchased by the U.S. State Department in1946 for a goodwill tour of Latin America and Europe. The original exhibition of 119 paintings, Advancing American Art, was part of a new direction in international diplomacy, and, though it was met with praise from art critics here and abroad, it was directly assailed by American conservative groups who used the national media and members of Congress to vilify its modernist slant. As a result, the exhibition tour was cancelled and the works auctioned as government surplus; the three project partners acquired at a huge discount a combined total of 82 works originally included in Advancing American Art. Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy will feature approximately 100 works, primarily oil paintings and watercolors, representing artists from various backgrounds and at different stages in their careers." On this exibit, see John Brown, "Arts Diplomacy: The Neglected Aspect of Cultural Diplomacy," in William P. Kiehl, ed., America's Dialogue with the World (Washington: Public Diplomacy Council, 2006). Image from

Australian writer pulls out of China tour over dissident jailing - ABC Online: "[A] spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says Mr [Frank] Moorhouse's withdrawal from the tour is a personal decision and that cultural diplomacy is an important facet of Australia's bilateral relationship with China."

Politics In Brief 30/1: Vietnam strengthens ties with countries worldwide - VietNamNet Bridge: ‎"Vietnam will do its utmost to fulfill the role of ASEAN Chair, enhance economic- cultural diplomacy and overseas affairs, and continue deepening relationships with other countries this year. The statement was made by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga at a regular press briefing in Hanoi on January 28, during which she reviewed the country’s key diplomatic achievements in 2009 and spoke about its focus for 2010.

In response to queries about the Vietnam-China Friendship Year in 2010, she recalled how the two countries first established diplomatic ties on January 18, 1950, describing this as an important and significant event in both countries’ histories." See also. Image from

How two mayors broke the mold to rejuvenate their cities - Elizabeth Gehrman, Harvard University Gazette: "The Harvard Kennedy School hosted two iconoclastic mayors on Monday (Jan. 25), both of whom entered government in their countries as a second career and changed their cities by shaking up politics as usual.

The discussion involved the visionary urban landscapes of Edi Rama, a former artist and mayor of Tirana, Albania, and Antanas Mockus, once an academic and a former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia. Addressing an overflow audience, the former mayors outlined the offbeat methods by which they helped to transform their cities, in a discussion titled 'Dialogue in Cultural Diplomacy and Urban Transformation.'" Image from article Antanas Mockus (standing), a former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, and Edi Rama, a former artist and mayor of Tirana, Albania. See also (1) (2)

Leituras: "Cultural Diplomacy (Winter'2010) - USC Center on Public Diplomacy" – Rui Paulo Almas, Blogue Notas: "Numa altura de mudanças na Presidência do Instituto Camões, agora liderado por Ana Paula Laborinho, o Center on Public Diplomacy da University of Southern California (E.U.A.) dedica a edição de Inverno da sua revista ao tema da 'diplomacia cultural'. A ver aqui."


Controversy over Russia Today's juxtaposition of Obama and Ahmadinejad spreads to the United States (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting; image from

Para-military women to counter anti-India propaganda - Press Trust of India: The government has decided to deploy newly inducted para-military women personnel along the international borders, including with Pakistan and China, to give an impetus to civic action programmes and counter anti-India propaganda.Plans are ready to get these young women to talk to the local population and inspire them to participate in government schemes and contribute to civic works in their respective areas.

'Suicide bombers misled due to limited knowledge of Islam' - Akhtar Amin, Daily Times: Peshawar: Speakers at a seminar on “Suicide Terrorism” have said that most of the suicide bombers do not know much about Islam and are misguided and misused by terrorists. At a one-day seminar organised by Sheikh Zaid Islamic Centre, University of Peshawar on Saturday, they talked about how individuals, especially the youth get into the hands of terrorists who use them for suicide terrorism. Addressing the seminar, Director Campus Police Muhammad Iqbal said that most of the suicide bombers who were in custody did not know much about Islam and its teachings. “In fact most of them don’t have any knowledge of the Holy Quran and even cannot recite it,” he revealed. He added that the suicide bombers he interrogated said that their trainers told them that suicide bombers and the people killed in suicide attacks would go to Paradise while the police and army personnel would go to Hell. He said that there was a “myth” that the western nations were carrying out anti-Islam propaganda. Defending his argument, he said that the terrorists carrying out terrorism activities in the name of religion were in fact responsible for anti-Islam propaganda and not the western countries. Below image from

How young Muslims are fighting extremist propaganda - Haroon Siddique, Guardian: The Digital Disruption project is funded by the government's controversial Prevent strategy to stop the spread of violent extremism. By educating the participants about propaganda, the Digital Disruption project – which could be introduced in schools across the country if those running it have their way – hopes to empower them, and their peers, to resist the videos and images that extremists use to gain recruits.

Israel losing war on propaganda - Sean B. Sheridan, letter to the Editor, Albany Times Union: Israel's profile is not that of a nation seeking peace. Put very simply, Israel is losing the war on propaganda. Advocates for Israel often seem to be convincing themselves, rather than others.

Israel Jokes About The Haitian Earthquake & Pushes Nazi Style Propaganda [video] -Truth is Contagious

Speaker recalls life during Nazi Germany - Molly Montag, Sioux City Journal: The Nazi propaganda machine and death camps may have taken place half a world away, but Dutch survivor Louis Leviticus believes it could still happen anywhere. "There'll always be followers and there'll always be people who don't want to think for themselves," he said.

As a child, Leviticus witnessed how the Nazi propaganda, which depicted Jewish people as monsters, changed the way people of Amstradam behaved toward their Jewish neighbors. "What you can do with propaganda to change the mind of a people is unbelievable," he said. Image: 1935 Germany: Jews Are Not Wanted Here in Behringersdorf Photo Credit: The Potter Collection

Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World - Soha ElSaman, Al-Masry Al-Youm: Jeffrey Herf, professor of modern European history at the University of Maryland, College Park, recently authored Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, published by Yale University Press. In 2006 he published The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust. Herf: “Nazi officials dealing with propaganda aimed at Arabs and Muslims concluded that a selective reading of the Quran and the commentaries about it was their most effective means of reaching this audience. In so doing they drew out the already existing anti-Jewish themes. They presented Islam -- not radical, fundamentalist, political or jihadist Islam, but Islam in general --as a religion infused with and inseparable from hatred for the Jews. ... [M]odern anti-Semitism in Europe and the Jew-hatred that diffused to the Middle East, to contemporary Iran and to Islamists more generally, was and remains anti-American. It is both anti-Israeli and anti-American because both the United States and Israel are liberal democracies that reject the idea that there is one absolute truth grounded in religion that should govern all of life.”

A Look at Chinese Propaganda - calabloc: Propaganda, in its purest form, is the manipulation of facts to influence a specified audience.

From the US to the Chinese propaganda has been used to support and bolster various political and imperialistic gains. The Chinese have used internal struggles in the US to support its own government while putting down others. This is especially evident in a poster distributed by the People’s Republic of China which depicts two African-American men revolting against the government. Image from article

Plain Speech Propaganda - Mrs. Major, Tangos With Text: Some people, tired of the propaganda and the agendas, complain that inclusive language and politically correct speech can go too far. For example, the use of “growth areas” instead of “weaknesses.” Is using a word like “mankind” automatically “plain speech” while the new word “humankind” part of an agenda or propaganda? At what point does politically correct speech start to obscure, rather than illuminate, a message? Can you overdo “plain speech” so that your message also becomes manipulative, as in the examples on Lynn Gaertner-Johntson’s Blog.


From: Classic Ads: The Best in Cold War Propaganda -


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